A New ‘Star’ Will Be Born: The Return of Food Network Star

by in Shows, April 13th, 2011
food network star finalists
Food Network Star Season 7 Finalists

Food Network’s number one series, Food Network Star returns June 5 with a set brand new hopeful contestants. Returning to host and judge season seven is chef Bobby Flay, along with judges Bob Tuschman, General Manager of Food Network and Susie Fogelson, SVP of Marketing for Food Network. This year, Giada De Laurentiis will also be making the move from mentor to judge.

Meet the 15 finalists : Mary Beth Albright (Washington, D.C.), Justin Balmes (Marietta, Ga.), Whitney Chen (New York), Katy Clark (Long Beach, Calif.), Penny Davidi (Los Angeles), Justin Davis (Minneapolis), Howie Drummond (Highlands Ranch, Colo.), Jyll Everman (Glendora, Calif.), Susie Jimenez (Carbondale, Colo.), Juba Kali (New Orleans), Jeff Mauro (Elmwood Park, Ill.), Vic “Vegas” Moea (Las Vegas), Chris Nirschel (Hoboken, N.J.), Orchid Paulmeier (Bluffton, S.C.) and Alicia Sanchez (New York).

The season will make its premier in Los Angeles, where their challenge is staged at Grauman’s Chinese Theater and the city’s Original Farmer’s Market. According to LATimes Daily Dish, “Finalists will also visit the set of ABC’s hit series ‘Cougar Town’ and create custom meals for cast and crew, including Courteney Cox […] and there will be stop-ins with the likes of such network celeb chefs like Anne Burrell, Paula Deen, and Rachael Ray.”

For casting videos, behind-the-scenes interviews and more, visit FoodNetwork.com/Star.  While you’re there, cast your pre-season predictions in the Fan Forecast Vote.

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Comments (72)

  1. jon says:

    If Penny wins I will never watch food network again and I'm sure a lot of your viewers feel the same! She is morally bankrupt, has an absolutely disgusting personality, not to mention she is just plain ugly! Think about network execs, she is bad for your business, bad for the show and basically bad for society. Not to mention a majority of Americans don't want to cook or even eat middle eastern food. I know you want to bring diversity to the network but maybe you should think about more french or asian cuisines which actually are popular in America.

    • trav45 says:

      That's just ignorant! Yes, she's a disgraceful human being, but what does that have to do with Middle Eastern food, which is AMAZING. Two of the top five best ever meals I've had were middle-eastern food. How can you speak for "a majority" of Americans?? Personally, I think FN would benefit from a Middle-Eastern show–just not this woman!

      • jon says:

        Why you can let me know when falafel and pita out sell hamburgers and pizza thats how I know a MAJORITY of Americans do not eat middle eastern food!

    • steve says:

      I am soooooo in agreement with both Toni and Jon. This is the first time I have ever replied on line. This how strongly I feel about Penny.

  2. dee says:

    Have enjoyed most of the new food network star so far . Please do not pick Penny she is to abrasive and really makes me want to turn foodnetwork off ! Jeff isonly ok , falls short in the keep my attention area . Vic is very good and believable, someone I would watch, most of the Ladies are ok except as I said Penny. Please keep it believable and real.

  3. retiredvermonter says:

    Penny cannot possibly continue.

    How can you folks expect her to ever work with your staff? She can't get along with anyone now!

  4. retiredvermonter says:

    I have to say, too, that we find Guy Fieri nothing but obnoxious. We have never liekd him, and we change channels when he shows up.

  5. Toni says:

    I'm not sure that you at Food Network pay attention to any of our comments, but please get rid of Penny. I do not like anything about her, she will stab anyone in the back and I, among many others would not watch her just like we don't like and watch Arti, ugh!

    • jon says:

      Penny and Arti are nothing alike! At least Arti has an attractive bubbly personality unlike Penny who is a downright conniving rat. I'll give it to you that I am not at all interested in Indian food but I would much rather watch a million shows featuring Arti than 1 show with Penny!

  6. Kiran says:

    Penny is unpleasant to watch as she claws her way……..can't imagine watching a whole show about her!

  7. Jackie says:

    Everyone on this season's Food Network Star is forgettable, except that middle eastern contestant s but for the wrong reason. You would think that she'd see how WINNERS act with grace and humor – she lacks both, and since I can't taste her food, I'd NEVER watch her show. Of course one has to be combative and aggressive – it is after all, a competition but to be down right abrasive – No.
    Recommend that they read the blogs if they want to improve.
    Reminds me also of that contestant who wore $500 shoes and $300 blouses – only perhaps 1% of your viewers could afford that – they can actually hire her . I would not have watched her either.

    • loremayne says:

      I'm inclined to agree – there's no one person is this crop of FN wannabe's whom I really think I'd go out of my way to watch. I would actually go out of my way to AVOID any show featuring Penny. FN isn't just about the food – it's about likeable and engaging personalities.

  8. I think Whitney and Orchid are viable candidates. They have good personalities and decent culinary skills. However, and I never thought I would say this, I am really beginning to like Vic. He totally blew the first two weeks, but I see both his personality and cooking skills developing. I could see him on a show called "Vic in Vegas" where he could comment on the Vegas restaurant scene (kind of like a "Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives" of Las Vegas). I agree with many that Penny has made such negative impressions that she should go. It's a shame, because Penny does have good food skills and Food Network does not have a show that features Middle Eastern Cuisine, which is absolutely out of this world.

  9. misterBDB says:

    There are too many contestants on Next Star that have no place moving on. If your judges were judges, they would pay attention to the way some of the contestants behave during the cooking process. I for one, would feel more comfortable in a suit of armor the way some idiots run around like nervous psychotics. Respect the damned kitchen and each other, or in my estimation dump the baggage. If your chef's ignore kitchen ettiquite mistakes repeatedly, then dump them. Ignorance breeds loss of credibility, and this current cast of Next are a real joke. Wake up people you're not focused on the right things.

  10. concerned says:

    if penny wins this, i for one will no longer watch this show!! that would be two years in a row that the wrong person won!!!!! if penny hangs around too much longer, i will not finish this season,,, We don't need to see all the drama that she brings, this is not a drama type show. Noone is gonna watch a cooking show with someone who is gonna be a shannon dougherty of the food network channel!!! If you get her off the show, you will see everyone else who should be there, calm down and actually cook like they really can, without looking over their shoulder to see if penny is doing something to make them look so bad that they get kicked off, GET RID OF HER,

    just saying

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