Mentors Bobby Flay and Giada De Laurentiis are known for their go-big-or-go-home approaches to the Food Network Star competition, so it was no surprise when they not only tasked the finalists with an impromptu spotlight challenge in the premiere episode, but also a next-level cooking test. The cooking challenge sent rivals out of Food Star Kitchen and on location to a food festival, where they had to prepare signature eats for a crowd of 100 people. It takes quite a feat to pull off both the in-studio production and the taping at Triunfo Vineyards, located in the picturesque setting of the Malibu mountains, for an episode like this; below are never-before-seen photos from both sets. Keep scrolling for an insider's look at the making of the premiere and to see what the cast was up to between takes, then check out the full behind-the-scenes gallery for more snapshots.
Although Bobby surely had no need to prove himself in the spotlight, he couldn't help but step inside during a break between takes.
Arnold and Sita caught each other's eyes as they waited for the initial introductions from the mentors.
Emilia learned quickly that cooking in a culinary competition is a lot different than cooking in an at-home kitchen. Not only is there a set time on the clock, but camera operators aren't shy about getting their lenses up close and personal with your prep work as it's coming together.
The bright light of the day proved tricky for the crew members as they worked to offset the shadows cast on Giada and Bobby by the sun.
This is the view the finalists faced as they learned their fate of the first episode's elimination. With the dramatic lighting and wide-open space, it's no surprise that the competitors were anxious during evaluation.
Exclusive Interview with the First Finalist Eliminated
Photos: Top Moments of the Premiere
The First Behind-the-Scenes Snapshots
Vote for Your Favorite Finalist
Make All of the Winning Recipes Featured on the Premiere
Tune in to a brand-new episode of Food Network Star every Sunday at 9|8c.