10. In the first episode, Chad crushed it right out of the gate. For those of us who have now watched nine seasons of this program, it's kind of a tradition to get a rush of excitement about one of the contestants in the first episode. Chad had it in a Cryo-vac'-ed bag.
9. Another favorite moment of mine in Episode 1 is when Alton talks to Stacey about how to address the camera and then she kills her presentation. Don't we just love seeing the magic of mentorship? Having been mentored by AB, I can assure you that the feeling we get from watching it on TV is only half as powerful as the feeling in real life — and look how far she ran.
8. Burger Bash. Man, talk about a meat grinder. So many bodies trying to do so many things. You had Chris eating raw meat, Danushka threatening toplessness, Lovely smashing her hamburgers into the grill, a freaking banh mi burger and Rodney, bless his soul, was like a speed metal a cappella solo. It was a classic FNS train wreck challenge and we ate it up like it was a Russell Burger with all seven sins on top.
7. "Semi-vegetarian." Welcome to the future, America. It's a cold, leafy reality, but it'll be easier to swallow now than later. (Also, did anyone else notice that Nikki's cred dropped the second she started pitching "meat on the side" as opposed to "semi-vegetarian"?) Authority is only as strong as the words we use to define it.
6. Chris' story of the transformative power of food. Have you ever been so touched by a contestant's relationship to food in all of Star's history? No. You haven't. Believe it or not, I used to not just be a rebel, but a real bad kid. I don't know a chef worth his salt with a clean record, myself included.
5. Damaris as judge. This is when we saw it first. She's an authority. She could have been Susie freaking Fogelson at that point.
4. The fact that we all wanted Viet to take it, deep down inside.
3. Pizza-dough doughnuts. I've never seen something so hotly contested on almost all of the Internet. Robert Irvine was chiming in, Giada's recipes were called into question and I got nasty-grams on Twitter for poking fun at the whole thing. Really!?
2. Rodney's morning-shower-engendered pie song mason jar duct tape coat hanger jambo'. Done like a true Marylander, Rodney. I was proud of you, bro.
And... wait for it...
1. Danushka. 'Nuff said.
What was your favorite moment of the season. Tell me in the comments or on Twitter: @EatFellowHumans.
Tune in this Sunday at 9pm/8c to find out who you, Star fans, have chosen as the newest Food Network Star.
- The Ins and Outs of Star Salvation, According to Its Co-Host, Plus Pilot Time with Rachael Ray — Jeff’s Star Report
- “The Food Processor Fumble,” Reunion Ramen for Aunt Bea and the Best Web Series of All Time — Jeff’s Star Report
- “Dom Dust,” Coolers Full of Capers and Holidays with the Stars — Jeff’s Star Report
- Slap Fights, Homesickness and a Decision to Leave — Jeff’s Star Report