by Sara Levine in Food Network Star, June 5, 2012
by Sara Levine in Food Network Star, May 10, 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?
To give you a sneak peek at the personalities of Team Alton, Team Bobby and Team Giada, we’re introducing a finalist per day leading up to the bigger-than-ever Food Network Star premiere on Sunday, May 13, at 9pm/8c. Don’t miss the casting special on Saturday, May 12, at 9pm/8c for a behind-the-scenes glimpse at each finalist’s road to Star-dom, including footage of their final one-on-one auditions with their respective team leaders.
Last but not least, our final Star of the Day is Eric Lee from Team Bobby. Eric, 44, graduated from the Culinary Institute of America and now lives in Petaluma, California. He worked for 11 years as the executive chef of a winery before leaving to shoot Food Network Star.
Fun facts about Eric from Food Network Magazine:
- Claim to fame: He has cooked for Al Roker on the Today show, demonstrating wine-friendly dishes he developed for Simi Winery in Sonoma, Calif., like bucatini with crab.
- Dream-show concept: A travel and cooking show called "Fork in the Road." It's like Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives with ethnic restaurants.
- Secret ingredient: Mushrooms. His favorite variety is the trumpet royale, which he wraps in prosciutto and grills.
Get to know Eric in his Star bio video: Read more