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Ana Quincoces Eliminated From Food Network Star!

Ana Quincoces' journey on Food Network's Food Network Star has come to an end. The former Real Housewives of Miami star was eliminated from the competitive cooking show on week nine. During her start on the show Ana struggled with her presentations, however throughout the season, Ana turned it around and delivered back to back strong performances.

On Sunday's episode Ana delivered strong performances — first with her daughter Beba in the Mentor Challenge and again in the Star Challenge as she hosted a St. Patrick's Day party. But according to Bobby Flay, that progress wasn't enough in comparison to Damiano's, Jernard's and Tregaye's showings.

"The problem is is that these guys have been doing that for a long time, and so you've sort of just entered the party," Bobby Flay told her. Also, for the first time this week, Ana delivered not one but three lackluster offerings.

In honor of National Pretzel Day, she showcased churros, but they were heavy, according to the mentors. And at her St. Paddy's Day bash, her Cuban-inspired empanadas and shepherd's pie were flops, as Giada told her simply: "This is, like, not Ana. It's very bland." Her untimely missteps in the kitchen were enough to force her elimination, while Damiano, Jernard and Tregaye advanced to next week's penultimate episode.

So what did Ana regret the most and what she surprised by her elimination?

"I mean, I expected it. I definitely expected it. I had regret because I was upset that I didn’t peak sooner in the season, and I was, in a way, optimistic about the opportunity of coming back. ... I was also disappointed obviously ... but I mean, I did expect it, and I was regretful," Ana told Food Network following her elimination. "I was regretful that I didn’t kind of bring it all together sooner because my last presentation was so good, and I was like, why didn’t I just do that? And I knew that the judges felt that they had no choice but to let me go, because my fellow finalists had been doing that longer.

Ana says that this was the hardest challenge yet but overall, she was happy with her presentation.

"The mentors are hard to please, because on the one hand, I tend to overthink things and do too much, and I think that I had the hardest challenge by far. St. Paddy’s Day — Cuban to St Patrick’s Day, I mean, that’s really far away from each other, and I’ve never cooked anything bland before. In fact, Bobby always says that I season very aggressively, and I do. So, I don’t believe that it was bland. ... I think that my presentation was spot-on. I was really comfortable, I was myself. ... I feel good that when I left, I left on a high note. I would have been miserable had I never been able to bring it together in the presentation department. My food had been good consistently throughout the season. I really got no criticism on my food, so the fact that I was finally able to bring the presentation, I just felt like if I leave now, I’m OK, and that’s how it happened. ... I also felt that it was fair. You know, it was fair. I mean, yes, these are the people who had done the presentations better than I had, they had found their voice sooner than I did, so, oh, I did it once and somebody else gets to leave? That’s not really fair. So, I was OK with it," she said.

Ana shares a message to the fans how this competition is really like.

"It's everything that you are, the essence of who you are. You have to bring all that, and you don’t care whether you look pretty and you don’t care about any of that stuff. You just care that they love your food and that you can show them who you are from a culinary point of view, who you are as a person, your stories. I mean, it requires juggling so many things at once: You have to tell a story, you have to be able to describe food, you have to use edible words. You can’t use words that don’t mean anything to anybody, and you have to produce amazing food with great textures, great balance of flavors in a limited amount of time, and doing all of that at one time, it’s just, it really just requires everything that you are. And, you know, it’s 15-hour days sometimes. It’s just so much, but it’s the most-exhilarating thing I’ve ever done."

She added: "I mean, I just don’t regret one second of it. It’s just been so much fun, and for me, like, I would see people, like, right before a cook they were so nervous and they were pacing, and I — every time they threw a curve ball at me, I was just like, "This is so fun." It was just fun for me. I love it. Like, playing with food and just figuring out who you are ... I guess it’s a different time in my life too. I’m older than the other people, and I just, I’ve done so many things in my life, and this is just such a fun challenge for me."

Source/Photo Credit: Food Network