Food Network Star - Episode #7

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Week #7 and down to 6!!!

The vibe has changed slightly. And though I still love all these people and am so happy to have them around during this insane experience- we are all having the realization that we could make it to the end. Suddenly the finish line doesn't look so far away...

Of course, once you have that thought you also realize that some really good people are going to have to go home in order for you to reach that goal. All you can do is hope that it's not you. 

I was psyched to have Bobby Flay cook for us. Running around this kitchen twice an episode can take its toll and I usually feel like I'm about to faint when they call time, so I was happy for a break.

Not that performing in front of Bobby is relaxing- as he sits there itching to buzz you at every little word he deems to be "too common", but you take what you can get in this competition. 

I was actually called up first and didn't have a second to think about possible descriptive words so instead I just dug in and started talking. Luckily, I talk like this a lot when doing cooking videos and radio segments so I just went with it.

I was more than o.k. Not winning the mentor challenge because being in the top of the pack at this point is all that really matters, even if your not #1.

Hearing that we get to make ANYTHING we wanted was a really luxury. In every other challenge there has been a theme or an ingredient we had to incorporate. This was really the first time we could make whatever we wanted and everyone was more than excited to show off what they could do. 

 Find my recipe HERE

When thinking about veggies that would be special and high-class enough for this crowd my mind immediately went to mushrooms. I LOVE mushrooms and though I've made plenty of mushroom dishes, I really wanted to somehow make THIS the best mushroom dish I have ever made... No pressure...

So I took the base of a lot of my mushroom dishes (like my mushroom bread baskets) and then added a super flavorful cream sauce with Marsala wine and Gruyere cheese.  I finished it with a little truffle oil, pine nuts for crunch and celery leaves to break up the richness and I felt like I had a dish worthy of an auction.

I really thought about every word that I wanted to say and I felt like a new woman this week- or more accurately like the woman I am outside of this competition. I belonged here and was going to tell the audience why.  

As I left the stage Giada screamed out "Go Nikki!" and clapped loudly. Easily one of the best moments of the competition. I did exactly what I wanted to do both on the stage and with my food.

Being announced the winner with only 6 people left is an awesome feeling. But it's hard to celebrate when one of your buddies is on the chopping block.

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Watching Chad go home was beyond sad. He was always my confidante and supporter. And on top of that he makes delicious food and really deserved to be there!

Guess it just goes to prove that anything can happen. And if you don't nail it every week than YOU will be going home... 

Watch the full episode: Click HERE

Recipe for my Wild Mushroom Pasta: Click HERE

Get a sneak peak of next weeks episode: Click HERE

Watch Chad Compete in Star Salvation: Click HERE

VOTE for me: Click HERE