Star Scrapbooks: A Look Back

by in Behind the Scenes, Food Network Star, August 19, 2011

Star Journals

We started with 15 finalists in Los Angeles. Six moved on to New York City. And last Sunday night, a winner was crowned: Jeff Mauro is our new Sandwich King!

To put this exciting and exhausting journey in perspective, take a look back through the finalists’ scrapbooks from the competition. Upon arrival in L.A., each contender was given a Food Network journal and a digital camera. We compiled their best pages and photos to give you a behind-the-scenes look at the unique experience of each Star finalist.

Who filled page after page with heartfelt reflections? Who drew lifelike sketches of their dishes and who wrote meticulous prep lists? Who took hilarious snapshots in the Star house? Flip through the pages of the finalists’ scrapbooks to see.

Jeff's journal

Jeff Mauro (Winner!)

Susie's journal

Susie Jimenez (Runner-Up)

Vic “Vegas” Moea (Third Place)

Mary Beth Albright (Eliminated Week 10)

Whitney Chen (Eliminated Week 9)

Jyll's journal

Jyll Everman (Eliminated Week 8 )

Penny Davidi camera shot

Penny Davidi (Eliminated Week 7)

Chris Nirschel (Eliminated Week 7)

Orchid's journal

Orchid Paulmeier (Eliminated Week 6)

Justin Davis (Eliminated Week 5)

Justin Balmes (Eliminated Week 4)

Alicia and Justin journals

Alicia Sanchez (Eliminated Week 3)

Katy Clark (Eliminated Week 2)

Juba Kali (Eliminated Week 2)

Howie Drummond (Eliminated Week 1)

Howie and Vic with journals

If you missed the intense season finale or hilarious reunion show, catch up here with full episodes. You can even relive all of Season 7 online.

See you next season, Star fans!

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Comments (34)

  1. diane says:


    I would like a male,
    that is good on camera,
    and can possibly cook.

    Do you have anything on the menu, like that!!!

  2. JamesinAlaska says:

    Hehehe. I enjoyed this.
    Some good pictures here.
    Makes you wonder more about "a Day in the Life"
    of a Food Network Star.
    Best wishes to all the contestants.
    May they find success on their path.

  3. Bob Toren says:

    Thanks for sharing the star scrapbooks!
    Some great glimpses into each of the contestants personalities and their thoughts along the way.
    Some random observations after viewing some of the pictures and journals:
    Jeff is hilarious.
    I want to try Susie's fiesta pizza, it looks great.
    Still laughing about the Victionary.
    Even though I don't think Katy was ever a serious contender, the little glimpses in the various pictures and journal entries show her to be a very warm and kind person.
    I need to go back and look at the rest of the pictures and journal entries, what a great idea to make them available to us.

  4. Paula OBrien says:

    Congratulations Jeff, although Susie and Vic are formadable colleagues, the right person won! Bring it on!

  5. subdjoe says:

    Interesting look at the contestants.
    Vic has a lot more going on with him than you would suspect from looking at him, very introspective.

  6. diane says:

    Most women like to watch men cook. (and wish more did)

    Most men love sandwiches. (period)

    All networks love ratings. (and will try pushing anything)

  7. jeri says:

    I just loved the scrapbook. Vic really is a "momma's boy" so sweet with hidden tenderness. Like jobdjoe says, very introspective. I agree with Diane, men do love sandwiches. My hubby is an excellent cook, but he thinks my cooking is better! Mine is better because I make sandwiches! I wish great success to the other contenders. I'm sure one or two , maybe three or four, will find a home on FN or Cooking channel. Best of luck to them.

  8. joyce says:

    i watched the finals again and again quite disappointed in the results. Jeff was not my choice of the winner. I did not appreciate his off color jokes (although everyone seems to just forget that), his disrespect for the American flag nor the sweat falling into his food (even precious Giada had to grimace at that one) and I did not think he was the best chef. I will say his point of view was unique but that is it! Again a disappointing end to NFNS. Oh well, I do not believe network executives really care....they were looking for a Jeff, that is why they overlooked his failures. It is as if they did not occur!

    Susie and Giada fawned over him and I guess that really helped! I have to say that I am disappointed in the results. The final insult was using the former contestants as the focus group! Give me a break. Do you really think PENNY will give an honest appraisal??????????????????? Was that the best you could do? I guess it really does not matter what the viewers think??????????

    Good luck to you Jeff....I do wish you well but I probably will not be watching very long.

    • Jill Dale says:

      Joyce....I agree about the focus group and feel that was for ratings. Penny was so completely off base and did not give an honest appraisal but I kind of feel the judges' minds were already made up at that point.

      • joyce says:

        I think that you are right about the ratings comment and that the judges had made their minds up as well. That is why the focus group really was not important.

        I just watched Jeff's first show and it was fine....Again, I say congratulations to him!

    • Bob Toren says:

      I just wanted to add my 2 cents on Jeff's use of the American flag.
      I respect the opinion of those that feel Jeff disrespected the American flag but I respectfully disagree.
      The reason I disagree is that although he broke some rules on the proper use of the flag, I think we need to look beyond that and think about what his intentions were. Did he intentionally disrespect the flag? I really don't think so, quite the contrary. I think, in his humorous way, he was trying to present a patriotic image. In this day and age sometimes we get too caught up in politcal correctness and are afraid to do anything.
      I am a veteran, probably at least as patriotic as the average person, and even though I can see why some people would be offended, I wasn't offended by his actions.

  9. Jill Dale says:

    Loved Susie but so happy Jeff won! But more importantly, Food Network - I am HUGELY disappointed in the very anti-climactic announcement of the winner. Loosen the purse strings and invest in a little confetti or celebratory music....SOMETHING! GEEZ, Food Network is so good at producing shows and completely forgot to bring it to the finale. Anyway, CONGRATULATIONS JEFF! You totally deserve it and I will be watching "The Sandwich King!"

  10. Grandma Joyce says:

    Watched it, liked it, will be trying the recipes. The roast looked so tender and good. Nice job, Jeff!