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Jernard Wells

Three weeks ago celebrity chef Bobby Flay told Atlanta chef Tregaye Fraser that this season of "Food Network Star" was hers to lose. Sunday night she closed the deal, winning Season 12 of Food Network's cooking competition.

Former Chattanooga restaurateur Jernard Wells, who won four of the 10 challenges and only fell into the bottom three twice, was runner-up. California chef Damiano Carrera placed third.

Celebrity judge Bobby Flay told  Wells afterward, "I know how much you wanted to win, but I think you're going to be OK."

Each of the three finalists taped a pilot showcasing their star power, on which Food Network officials and judges Flay and Giada DeLaurentiis chose the winner.  Wells previously told the Times Free Press that should he win, he wanted to visit restaurants around the country, sample house specialties, then try to re-create those dishes at home with his family on his show.In his pilot, he visited Los Angeles Cajun restaurant Harold and Belle's and cooked Cajun dishes with chef and owner Ryan LeGaux.

Wells opened Bon Appetite Bistro in Ringgold, Ga., and Chattanooga Wing Co. while living in Chattanooga.  He was sous chef for Paula Deen when she appeared at the first She Expo sponsored by the  Chattanooga Times Free Press in 2009. He, wife Keena and their nine children now live in Atlanta, where he is a chef and consultant in the restaurant industry

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