During the finale of season 9 of “Food Network Star” on Sunday, where 32-year-old culinary school instructor Damaris Phillips of Kentucky was announced as the show's winner and will be getting her own show this fall, the mentors/judges and contestants also took a few looks back at the season.
They also opened it up for questions of the show’s mentors and judges Bobby Flay, Giada De Laurentii and Alton Brown.
“It’s open season. Go,” said Bob Tuschman, general manager for Food Network, who was one of the hosts of the finale.
Salt Lake restaurant owner and chef Viet Pham, who was the fifth contestant voted out of the competition, took advantage of that.
“Did you guys expect more of me because of the fact that I was on ‘Iron Chef’ and defeated Bobby?” Pham asked.
“Frankly, yeah,” Flay responded. “I was so impressed with your performance and your food on ‘Iron Chef.’ ”
But the big difference between “Food Network Star” and “Iron Chef” is that in “Iron Chef,” the speaking is minimal, Flay said.
“You just cook. Which, by the way, I love about that,” Flay added because he can just cook for 60 minutes without worrying about speaking to the camera.
“We expected like miracles from you and maybe unfairly. Because one has nothing to do with the other,” Flay said. “As you know, and you’ve said it to me, this is harder than ‘Iron Chef.’ ”
“It definitely was,” said Pham. He was also the runner-up on “Extreme Chef.”
In the competition, the final three of the 12 contestants were Phillips, pie guy Rodney Henry and Russell Jackson, and each made a short pilot under Guy Fieri’s mentorship. The three videos were put up for an online vote, and whoever received the most votes was the winner.
During the finale, in between peeks back at the season, including funny moments, brutal feedback from the mentors/judges and memorable parts of the season, Jackson was eliminated first.
Phillips’ idea for a show is to teach men to cook for their wives or girlfriends, and Henry’s was to take a restaurant’s signature dish and turn it into a pie.
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