Sarah and Emma found themselves surviving elimination in Episode 7, and because anything can happen in Vegas, with luck changing by the minute, these ladies had the advantage of selecting the teammates they wanted to work with in this week's challenge: an unforgettable four-course dinner for the Selection Committee.
It didn't seem like there was much of a competition, though. Team Sarah (including Luca and Nicole), blew the Committee away, captured the win, and left Emma, Loreal and Lenny up for possible elimination.
If you haven't yet watched the episode, don't read any further. Star Talk is about to break down the ins and outs of the episode — and reveal who was sent home.
Las Vegas would wind up being the last stop for Emma Frisch. She was sent home after an odd (to say the least) team performance and a mishandled Mangalitsa pork loin dish.
Read Emma's exclusive interview below to hear more from her. Learn how she felt about her elimination, the most-surprising thing about Star and who she'd like to see win the competition.
Star Talk: How are you feeling right now?
Emma Frisch: Sad, but grateful and excited to move forward with my life and see what opportunities are spawned from this incredible experience.
Let's go off of the experience first. How would you describe your time on Star?
EF: I've never done something this hard in my life. This is really the hardest competition I've ever done, the hardest test of my own morale and integrity, and a real journey of personal discovery and growth.
What have you found out about yourself?
EF: I know that I don’t like to play dirty in competition. I love cooking with other people and creating food that is really brought to life with stories, especially inspired by my family, and that that's such a driving force in all of my cooking. I've also learned that I really create a sense of warmth and invite people into my food experiences, and I'm a good storyteller, so it feels good to be leaving with some really strong skills that I feel confident in. I've learned a lot about cooking — I mean, that's the great thing about food, is that it's just an expansive, never-ending universe. And everybody here has a different style of cooking and has different tricks under their belt, so it's been such a joy to be cooking with the best chefs in America and both bonding and making friends, but also making food together.
Tell me about your experience the first half of this episode.
EF: The first half of this episode was just divine. I mean, I got to go to Nobu and have a tasting menu with Chef Nick in a private room, and every dish was exquisite. It was just such a treat. Thank you, Food Network, for giving me that experience! And I was so excited about it and excited to tell about it on camera that I think I really roped in the mentors with my enthusiasm, so it felt good to be coming off that with a high note.
Neither you, Lenny or Loreal really had a good day today. How do you feel about the mentors' decision?
EF: I think that the mentors' decision today was such a close call — none of us performed well. I didn't think Lenny was going home. He's just done so well in all the other challenges, and Loreal and I have both been on the bottom a couple of times. But the mentors and Food Network know what they're looking for, and I'm going to thrive somewhere else.
Looking back, what has been your favorite challenge and least favorite challenge?
EF: My favorite challenge is probably tied between the product challenge and the commercial. I loved making the pickled beets, and I loved doing the French-inspired commercial even though I didn’t succeed in the mentors' eyes because of it, and I loved doing the Reese's commercial with Nicole and Reuben. That was just one of the most-fun days I've had here. I would say my least favorite was today — I really struggled with the challenge. I wasn't feeling well, and we were really put up to a really hard test in a small amount of time.
What's the most-surprising thing about Star that you'll walk away with?
EF: I think that the most-surprising thing is that when you feel like you're on top, you get slammed down onto the bottom. I've had so many days where I felt so great about my performance and my choice of food — I taste my food to make sure it's to my liking. So I think that for someone who's so passionate about food, one of the most-difficult things is having your food be criticized and unappreciated, and I think that this is why this is a competition.
How did you feel about the mentors? Did any one piece of advice really stick out to you?
EF: The one piece of advice that has totally stuck with me is that when I speak, I'm very meditative and soothing, and part of that is the tone of my voice, but I can use more dynamics, and the more that I was able to bring in all the different intonations into my voice. I need to really express my enthusiasm in the way that I do when I'm talking to a friend as opposed to giving a presentation. So I will absolutely walk away with that piece of advice.
What's next for you?
EF: Well, what's next is a lot of exciting stuff. My husband is opening a glamping hotel — you know, glamorous camping — in Ithaca, N.Y., where we live, and I'll be designing the food experience for that. And we're looking to pop up in lots of other places as well; we'll potentially be in the Hudson Valley and Lake Tahoe, so that's just such an exciting project, and it's a dream we've shared for a really long time. And I'm also working on another restaurant project. I can’t say the name at this point, but it's also based in Ithaca, and I'm hoping that will come to fruition in the next year, so there's a lot. I mean, I'm very excited about what I'm involved in and I'm so grateful for the opportunity to be here, but I've had the perspective the whole time that my life is amazing and I'm very fortunate. I've really built a reputation as a cook. I have a food blog that I'll continue to write and teach cooking classes, so I'm really going to dive back into the kitchen and be where I'm happiest.
Who are you gunning for now?
EF: I would love to see one of the ladies on top. I love everyone, but I think it would be great if Nicole or Loreal came out on top. But really anyone at this point could make it. I'm going to be a fan of whoever is the next Food Network Star.