Team Bobby Falls to Three

by in Food Network Star, June 5, 2012

When it came down to Eric Lee and Ippy Aiona in the Producers' Challenge, Bob and Susie said it was one of the toughest decisions they'd ever faced in eight seasons of Star. Both talented chefs consistently impressed everyone with their food, but struggled to find a sweet spot on camera. In the end, Team Bobby's Eric was the one to say goodbye.

Eric left the pitch room with the same humble, gracious attitude he maintained throughout the competition. "I just want to thank you for the opportunity to work with Bobby," he told the judges. "It is just incredible how great of a mentor he is." Bobby, in turn, had high praise for his mentee: "Eric may be the best cook in the entire competition."

Hear more from Bobby, Susie and Eric in his exclusive exit interview. Do you think Eric deserved to go home?

Flip through Eric’s Star Scrapbook and more behind-the-scenes photos from Episode Four.


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Comments (170)

  1. KBS says:

    I'm extremely disappointed in this show. In the previous season, the judges were quick to ensure that only the best chefs would be considered as the next food network star. In other words, food first, showmanship and "inner star quality" second. This season seems to be a complete reversal. Looking good on camera and having a "memorable persona" are trumping cooking skills - to the detriment of the show's (and the network's) credibility. I'm not going to waste my time watching someone who's cooking skills do not impress me just because they won a personality contest on reality tv - especially on a food channel! Also, instead of showing us the details of the food challenge - what the contestants came up with and how they made their dishes, we're shown a lot more of the producers and their judgments of the contestants' personalities. I love FN shows like Chopped and Iron Chef because they are about food, technique, and flavor! Product is much more important than the Marketing. Kudos to Bobby Flay for pointing it out and for trying to maintain some semblance of integrity for the show. I'm not watching anymore.

    • Cheryl says:

      I'm not either, KBS! I'll miss what used to be my favorite show. It's so dramatically different this season, and I don't like it at all.

  2. Sandy says:

    FoodFan: Even if my faves didn't make it to the end (Justin, Emily, & Ippy)...I'd still watch it the show. I don't dislike any of them so much that I'd stop watching.

    Now having said that....if one of my faves don't win, I probably wouldn't watch the winners show. I have chosen my faves because personally they are entertaining & interesting to me...I'll never use any of the recipes so it won't matter how well they cook. It's a given that all of them can probably cook well...albeit in different degrees and different levels. But I'm not so stuck on my faves that I'd dish the show if I don't get my way.

    • Liz says:

      I have the same faves, Justin, Emily, and Ippy. They all seem to bring something fresh that isn't available now. The rest all seem like potentially a re-hash of something else.

    • Food Fan says:

      Hi! Oh, I didnt mean that anyone would no longer watch.
      I just meant, if any of us had a favorite, and that person totally bombed two episodes in a row, would we keep rooting for them, or would we start rooting for someone different? Just within the rest of these challenges.
      As it looks, today, Friday, there are about 5 that all look good to me. It'll be interesting to see if I get that "re-inforced" in next Sunday's show, or if i hafta revise things.

      • Sandy says:

        Hey Food Fan!

        As for me..even if my fave bombed, I'd stick with 'em til they left the building like Elvis. And I'd probably be feeling bad for the losing person all the way. I mean, I feel bad for some of the others that aren't my faves which appear to be on the "to be eliminated" list. Notice how quickly the losers walk out the building..least the gals that lose do....the guys didn't. I think the gals wanna quickly get away so they can cry without a camera stuck in their face broadcasting it to the world.

        • Food Fan says:

          It true. Any of them can have a bad day. Maybe 2. Its happened in previous seasons. Some will have their bad days early on. Some may do good, hit a bump, amd learn from it and impress us again later. Regardless of who any of us like, I gotaa hand it to all of 'em. The pressure, must be enormous. I try to imagine myself going before the chopped judges, (Ha! I'd fall flat on face!)--and those bright studio lights...and doing the presentation within the alloted time and not forgetting anything I'm supposed to say.) The good news is, the Mentors are there. The feedback is valuable and leads to growth and improvement. But even then, they all have to know what they're doing, make excellent stuff, smile, be productive, be organized, teach clearly, and blow the roof off with their awesome flavors. Talk about Adrenaline. yikes!

      • Jerilee says:

        I would stick to my fav until eliminated. Then I'd stick to my next fav and so on. I wouldn't give up just because they had a bad day, although that could be fatal in a competition. I have 4-5 picked. Well see how it goes.

  3. Deanie says:

    I just hope restaurants in the area where Eric Lee lives offer him a wide range of employment opportunities from which to choose. Being eliminated from "Food Network Star," despite his exceptional culinary talents, may turn out to be the best career-booster Eric has ever experienced!

    • Liz says:

      Agreed. To be acknowledged for his sheer cooking skills on a show like this has to boost any resume.

      I thought it was weird how Eric always went on about how he gave up his job to be on the show. Didn't all contestants give up something to take the same leap?

    • bobby_fillet says:

      Michael Chirello owns a restaurant in Napa. Maybe he'll hire Eric. Guy also owns several in the Bay Area. I'm sure Eric will find a god job.

    • Jerilee says:

      I feel that Eric had a deal with his employer. I believe he took "a leave of absence" from his position and he returned to that position. Being employed as executive chef carries weight, especially after 11 years. Eric will live on in wine country.

    • FanFare57 says:

      That's a positive way of looking at this disappointing result. Hopefully, you're right about Eric's future.

  4. dimari says:

    I was extremely disappointed to see Eric go. He was one of my favorites from the beginning. I wonder, do the judges actually watch what happens in the kitchen??? The way he rescued those fishsticks with less than 15 minutes left was genius! There is no way Ippy has the skills, talent and background knowledge to do the same. Every week I have wanted to cook Eric's dish. I can't believe they took the BEST candidate off. If they wanted to keep Ippy, then they should have picked a different bottom two. I know they are thinking marketing and want Ippy to be able to bring us Hawaii but it is doubtful he can pull it off and to lose Eric this early in the competition is a real shame. I am enjoying the team concept but I think one member from each team should be up for elimination because there were worse contestants this week and Eric was the victim of poor decision making.

  5. klea says:


  6. Cherry says:

    Keep Eric! Keep Eric. I think FN is being racist. When did you see a Chinese chef who has his/her own show on FN ????

    • Sammy says:

      It has little to do with race and more to do with the fact he has sucked in his presentations and in his on-camera presence. I liked Eric...I think he was one of the better cooks. You can't ignore the fact that he is no-good in front of the camera though. The whole point of this, is to give someone a tv show. Don' try to play the race card here, Cherry. Eric is just dull and not very good looking. Yes, that matters. Not being shallow here but, you need to look at least presentable. You can be chunky, a little older....any ethnicity you want....but you have to be able to look okay on camera...specially when we are talking about food. You don't want to put people off and associate ugly with food.

      Martita, Yvan & Ippy (With some help to overcome his lack of enthusiasm and personality) would all be great in their own tv show.

    • Deanna says:

      Ming Tsai: East Meets West. if it were racist, Aarti and Aaron would not have won their seasons. And would the Hearty Boys have won? Most bigotry goes across the whole spectrum. I do admit, however that FN used to be much more diverse than it is now. Molto Mario, Melting Pot, East Meets West, all good shows that are just gone.

  7. tucker says:

    This is the second time someone who clearly deserved the boot was "saved" simply because it was a team competition. First, in week two, Josh came in at the bottom with his bus presentation and "average" food but because his team won the competition overall, he slid by. Now Judson clearly deserved to be shown the door for his poor showing on both food and presentation but again, because his team won, he gets a free pass. Not sure I'm liking this "team" thing.

    • Food Fan says:

      You got it!
      I wanted to give this Team thing a chance. But there have been enough episodes now where its clear that it just ends up saving the poor performers.
      I *do* appreciate that so far there is less drama but it was better without the teams when everyone had to compete against everyone. They can still have Mentors that way.

  8. Lorie Ann says:

    While Eric can cook, he was too boring and too laid back. His show would not hold my interest.

    I am also not a fan of Ippy.

    I would love to see Malcolm and Emily host a show!

    • Food Fan says:

      Once the next episode airs later tonight, someone else will be going home. I wonder who it might be. Will most people agree with the decision or will alot of think it should have been someone else, first. It'll be interesting to hear the Judges reasons.

      • Food Fan says:

        ps--somehow, I wouldnt be interested much at all in any show that was co-hosted. The Neely's are good, --but thats it as far as co-hosting, at least for me. I dont even like it when Paula has her kids on with her. Or anyone else. As the saying goes: Too many cooks, spoil the kitchen.
        Let someone have their own show. If they have a guest on, like once every 2 months, Ok. But let the show be theirs.

        • Food Fan says:

          ps part 2--let me clarify. Its fine, when Giada or Ina serve people the food they made at the end of a show, i just mean in the kitchen as the food is being made.

  9. Janet says:

    OMG!! I just found out Eric went home ( I had been OOT) Don't know him from Adam's house cat. But he was the one I watched the show for. I loved to watch him create his dishes. He seemed genuine to me. He shouldn't have been the one to go home. Sorry Eric - I would have tuned in to watch your show.

  10. elise says:

    Was I the only who was slightly unnerved when, in the french toast segment, Giada was banging on the plate with her fork and yelling "Fun! Fun! Fun! Fun!" I think she was trying to be motivational but it came across as aggressive. I think it made Ippy uncomfortable too because he was looking down the whole time.