Theres always so most hype as well as nerves when the competition gets off the ground. You sit in the greenroom with all the other contestants, laughing (and, in my case, devouring several bags of BBQ potato chips ... ) as well as chatting about where youre from as well as what we cook. A blast of chilled air runs through the room as shortly as the producer enters. It goes from the fun small meet 'n' greet to an unsolved "whodunit" mystery in the hot second. The most-important aspect of the initial episode is getting the demeanour at any contender before elimination. What disproportion does elimination make, we wonder? Well, as shortly as someone gets sent home, the door upon complete, free expression as well as avowal closes. Contestants fright every small comment they have to the judges. Every sprig of parsley, every lemon crowd could be the wrong move as well as land them upon the next flight home. And, lets face it: Being the initial person sent home is always an combined kicker. Contestants upon Chopped will say to the judges: "I dont thoughts not winning. we usually dont wish to go home in the initial round." Thats usually partially true. EVERYONE wants to win. The stakes are particularly tall here since the leader has accolades, showing off rights as well as the shot at the good culinary destiny upon television!Last night's episode of Food Network Star started/began with Bobby Flay, Giada De Laurentiis as well as the initial challenge. Oh, as well as since this pressure cookers lid cant get any tighter, we add Valerie Bertinelli as well as Tyler Florence to the judges' table. When we am competing as well as see the panel of judges of which caliber, we demeanour at the pantry as well as wish to run as well as hide, or usually serve the slice of buttered toast. Every ingredient seems wrong. Every signature plate Ive done in my life has some imaginary smirch we have up upon the spot! My grandmothers duck piccata will be as well lemony for Bobby. My crab cakes will be as well spicy for Giada. The indicate is to have food which describes who YOU are. These brand new finalists are in the film theater (in an unfamiliar kitchen, no less) in progress for four superstars who have lasted in TV for years decades, really! What would we make?Lets discuss any contender in cake formation, plus some ways they could urge (let's call those tweaks for next week my "a la mode suggestions"). If we haven't seen the premiere episode yet, we're about to break down any finalist's performance, so do not read any further until we watch.Shall we?Monterey Salka: Milkchocolate "rock'n' roll"pie. Too most of the good thing? Ice cream: rocky road"The rock 'n' hurl chef" wants to be the womanlike Anthony Bourdain as well as describes her culinary POV as "food isn't scary." She can clearly cook, as well as the judges adore her food. Her presentation falls apart with breaks in her story as well as cursing. Lots of potential here, though Monterey comes across as the small scattered. Its in her hands.Martita Jara: Pumpkin spice. She's spicy! Ice cream: apricotThe Comeback Kitchen leader as well as wildcard is really charming. She has won the confidence of judges Tyler as well as Valerie, as well as she creates the black bean apricot crisp which wows. Judges found she "fell off the bull" the bit in her presentation. we agree. She is still the single to watch. Love the jazz hands as well as sparkles!Aaron Crumbaugh: A shepherd's beef pie, for sure, though what beyond beef? Ice cream: no flavor!A chipper former model as well as family male is our destiny "meat man" for Food Network? While Aaron's coffee-rubbed steak with chimichurri was the good idea, the judges found it lacked salt. Do we see Bobbys face when someone forgets to salt food? This self-described "farm boy ... chef ... stay-at-home dad" (whaaat?) needs to tilt it in as well as put it all out there if he wants to cook bison steak for America.Erin Campbell: Savory cheese pie. Can she do savory? Ice cream: berry crumbleShe is so charming as well as to the point. "Haters gonna hate, baker gonna bake." Ha! She creates the berry cobbler which Giada loves for its suitable almost-but-not-quite-there "jellified" factor. we adore her Hispanic as well as Irish roots as well as which she doesnt swallow ones pride for who she is.Definitely someone to watch. Question is: Can her range stretch to delicious cooking?Rob Burmeister: Buttered rum cake is comfortable as well as upon point. Ice cream: fudge lunch-ladyrippleRob is our proprietor Staten Island "lunch lady" who wants to educate kids. "Im Guy Fieri times 10!" he exclaims. The judges adore his crab cake with corn. we could taste which deliciously pristine corn flavor as we watched the judges eat. Rob is the healthy comedian as well as comes across as so real. He is really the single to watch.Joy Thompson: Lady apple pie. Too simple? Ice cream: blue cheeseJoy is the combination Miss North Carolina 1999, the rapper as well as the Brady Bunch mom. She comes out of the gate with her blue-cheese-scallop-bacon crostini as well as the catchy, clever tab line: "South in your mouth." But Tyler Florence thinks the scallops were overcooked. Presentation: strong. Food: needs work!Jernard Wells: Ruffled ambrosia triple-chocolate mud "love"pie. Is he laying it upon as well thick? Ice cream: truffled butter pecan, of courseThe self-described "chef of love" from Atlanta is clearly conducting his own seduction dinner with America. Considering he as well as his wife have 9 children, Id call his "recipe" for food as well as adore the success! His shrimp-and-grits plate is the hit with the judges, though they subject whether he can do "original" food. we think he has the good POV connecting food as well as adore as well as the tab line to boot. He will be difficult to beat.Ana Quincoces: Cuban quince-mamey pie. But how to compound Latinand American? Ice cream: chile-vanilla swirlShe is the three times threat: food experience, rich stories as well as the beauty queen. This will be the difficult contender to unseat. Why do we see Ana as so promising? She can cook. Her Cuban take upon the burger as well as fries wows with good flavor. This woman not usually intends to weave Latin flair in to the food of America, though she backs it up with the good initial dish. But will she choke again during her next on-camera moment?Tregaye Fraser: She done the common cake as well as hid behind it! Ice cream: spumoniTregay's tab line is "keep it cute" as well as she does. Perky. Energetic. Youthful language thats "on fleek" with the younger audience. Tregaye sees her destiny Food Network uncover flipping school cafeterias in to fine-dining establishments. Her shrimp as well as "electric slide" grits are the hit, though her presentation is lukewarm. Where did the strange Tregaye go? If she sticks with her strange "recipe," she will light up this field of contenders.Damiano Carrara: Italian cannoli pie, though do not censor behind which good accent! Ice cream: amarettoThis is our Italian wild horse of the bunch, as well as he knows it.A (likely?) disciple of Cutthroat Kitchen champ Fabio Viviani, Damiano has the desire to share his pastry dreams with America, as well as it is compelling. So is his accent as well as smile. Then Tyler bites in to his steak tartare as well as asks, "Do they have salt in Tuscany?" Ouch. My subject is, if Damiano is all about the pastries, why did he choose the deeply delicious steak tartar as his initial dish? POV comes out in the mixture these contenders choose. Id say the "steaks" are tall for Damiano to deliver next time around.Yaku Moton-Spruill: Coconut creampie. Tasty. Ice cream: banana split decisionYaku is 6 feet 9 inches of pristine adore for food as well as cooking. Yakus "Bar-B-Ku" steak plate aims to share his identity with the judges, though underseasoned beef leaves Tyler questioning the connection in between Yakus hometown of San Francisco as well as Southern BBQ. Yaku is all appeal as well as smarts, though will he share who he is with America?Melissa Pfeister: Goji berry acai antioxidant pie. Too healthy? Need more fun? Ice cream: peanut butterShe is an athlete as well as the healthy eater; her lifestyle is her indicate of view. Her tab line of receiving "foods which are not good for we as well as re-creating them in the healthy way" as well as harping upon allergies doesnt sit well with Giada. we agree. Food: strong. Presentation: competence need the brand new set of adjectives.Havird Usry: Georgia peach pie. Ice cream: Southern comfortThis man grew up in Mississippi as well as lives in Atlanta. He embodies the "Southern gentleman" as well as cooks the food so many Americans adore to eat. Havird whips up the "curry duck salad"(were those strawberries upon the duck salad?) as well as is really low appetite upon his presentation. Ana says hes "adorable," though he seems very bunched up which other chefs are angling for the Southern in progress POV. we say, focus upon who we came here to represent:yourself! But unfortunately he doesn't get an additional possibility to try this week.Havird goes home. He was splendidly charming, though he may have let nerves get the best of him.Lets go to my "pie" draft for suggestions for next week: