Food Network Star Comeback Kitchen finale: Redemption achieved


After several weeks, one chef-testant achieved redemption in Food Network Star Comeback Kitchen finale. The dream of being a Food Network Star is back within reach.

If you had a chance for a do over, would you? The chef-testants on Food Network Star Comeback Kitchen sought redemption. Only one person would get another chance at stardom. In the Food Network Star Comeback Kitchen finale, who will get another chance to be a Food Network Star? Keep reading to find out.

Hack a salad bar or go home.

Everyone knows a salad bar. The myriad of food on a salad can be overwhelming. From fresh fruits and vegetables to breads and soups, the bounty can cover a huge range of food. Turning these ingredients into a composed reinvention could be more difficult than expected. Hack a salad bar was the first challenge in the Food Network Star Comeback Kitchen finale.

In addition to the creative dish, each chef-testant created an Instagram story. These snippets combined into a complete video presented more problems than the dish. Who knew talking, camera angles and forgetting to hit delete would cause chef-testants to fail. Haven’t they been on camera a lot?

Food Network Star Comeback Kitchen finale, photo from Food Network

As seen throughout this season, Matthew stormed ahead. The connoisseur of Southwestern cuisine created a Southwestern spaghetti. The dish had creative flavors and stuck to his point of view. Additionally, Matthew nailed the Instagram stories portion of the challenge. His strong cooking tip, adding a little water to rehydrate and cook spaghetti, was praised by the judges. Matthew won the opening challenge.

The other chef-testants did not fare as well. Jamika, often a leader, stumbled on her Instagram story. She forgot to delete the overwhelming number of takes. The droning on and on video almost sent her home. But, her seafood gratin was good and she has a proven track record. Jamika was safe.

On the bottom, but safe.

Joy and Danushka remained in the middle of the pack. Joy appeared relaxed and welcoming in her gnocchi recipe Instagram story. Unfortunately, she missed part of the recipe and it hurt her presentation. Overall, her gnocchi was light, creamy and delicious and moved her forward.

Danushka’s personality is still difficult to crack. Her tone and demeanor can be a little off putting, but you can’t stop watching her. Again, her video was confusing yet everyone kept watching. In this challenge, her quinoa cake was the star. The bright, tasty quinoa cake brought healthy, fresh food to a new level. She continued onto the final challenge.

Unfortunately, Rob, the food truck operator, did not make the cut. His breakfast pot pie tried to incorporate too many salad bar ingredients. More disturbing was his Instagram story. From shaky camera shots to up close views of his chin, the video was difficult to watch. Sorry Rob, I won’t be lining my pockets with aluminum foil to take those salad bar rolls with me. Rob was eliminated after challenge one.

Where did the dinner party guests go?

One challenge remained in the Food Network Star Comeback Kitchen finale. While four chef-testants were left, the biggest battle was between Matthew and Jamika. Of course, an upset could happen, but upsets mostly happen in sports, not reality television.

The four remaining chef-testants created short videos to entice guests to a dinner party. The dinner party consisted of an appetizer and entrée. The videos showcased both personality and the food. Some videos proved more enticing than others.

Food Network Star Comeback Kitchen finale, photo from Food Network

Again, Danushka’s personality proved her downfall. She had just two guests at her dinner party. Unlike her video, her personality shined in person. More importantly, her dinner party food was impressive. The spicy tuna on cucumber was a bright appetizer. The lamb meatball with spaghetti squash was a beautifully composed dish. Still, her Eeyore like characteristics can be too much for television viewers.

Joy’s video was low on energy, but her dinner party table was full. Guests enjoyed her traditional Southern dishes. The fried green tomatoes were a delightful, traditional appetizer. Unfortunately, her low country shrimp and grits were disappointing. Even with her Southern charm, Joy couldn’t overcome the cooking failures.

Joy and Danushka eliminated before the finale cliffhanger

Matthew and Jamika battled all season. These two were the front runners from the beginning. With totally different personalities and culinary points of view, the chef-testants were on track to returning to Food Network Star. But, only one would move on and claim redemption.

After a stumble in the first challenge, Jamika recovered on her dinner party promo video. Her easy, outgoing personality was a hit with guests. More importantly, her Jamaican inspired dishes appealed to everyone.

Food Network Star Comeback Kitchen, photo from Food Network

At the dinner party, Jamika impressed guests with endearing anecdtoes about her family and her dishes. The Jamaican jerk appetizer was a big punch of flavor. The spice was strong, but not overpowering. Her entree, a grilled red snapper, paled in comparison to the appetizer. Lacking salt, the entrée was bland and disappointing.

Matthew continued his hot streak. His video was personal, likable and mouthwatering. Even with distracting hand movements on the video, the food descriptions brought him a full dinner party.

Matthew’s scallops ceviche was a carefully balanced dish. Both buttery and bright, this dish awoken the palate for the heavier fillet entrée. While not cooked to order, the fillets were good. Although a few guests would have preferred the fillet to be cooked more. Overall, the dinner party was a success.

Winner of Food Network Star Comeback Kitchen is…keep watching.

To keep fans watching the Food Network and the new season of Food Network Star, the show ended without announcing the winner. You had to watch at least half of Food Network Star to learn the winner. Spoiler alert, I watched. Don’t worry, I won’t leave you hanging.

The last two chef-testants offered two totally different personalities and appealed to different audiences. Since this show focused on redemption, Matthew had the biggest metamorphosis. He listened to criticism, made improvements and became more likable. His food was always on point. He left that annoying hashtag persona behind and became watchable.

Jamika appeals to a broader, possible older audience. While she has mass appeal, the Food Network has other similar stars. Finding her own niche amongst the more established personalities could be difficult. Plus, reality television must have a good storyline. Her return to Food Network Star may not stir the pot.

Food Network Star Comeback Kitchen finale, photo from Food Network

Matthew won Food Network Star Comeback Kitchen. He returns to Food Network Star season 13 to compete again. We will have to watch to see if he will go far in the competition or be eliminated early.

Next: Easy barbecue hacks for better grilling

The comeback is over and the kitchen is closed. The eliminated chef-testants return to their normal lives or probably an appearance on another Food Network competition show. Maybe their 15 minutes of fame hasn’t run out.