Coming This Summer: Food Network Star Season 9

by in Food Network Star, April 18, 2013

Bobby, Giada and AltonWhile most will be enjoying a summer full of weekend road trips, lazy afternoons by the pool and casual evening cookouts, 12 hopeful finalists on Food Network Star will be facing off in the ultimate multi-month job interview for a chance to earn the most-coveted career in the culinary industry: hosting their own Food Network show.

The ninth season of this life-changing competition is set to start on Sunday, June 2 at 9pm/8c, when contenders will travel to Los Angeles to begin an 11-week journey, complete with all-new Mentor and Star Challenges, surprise chef guests and on-location demands. For the finalists, simply showing off advanced cooking chops or shining camera-ready smiles won't be enough. If they want to survive weekly eliminations, they'll have to work their way to the coveted Star sweet spot, demonstrating both a mastery of the kitchen and an effortless television charm.

Alton Brown, Bobby Flay and Giada De Laurentiis will be back to mentor the contestants through each phase of the competition, but this season they're doing so from across the judges' table as members of the selection committee. Food Network executives Bob Tuschman and Susie Fogelson will be on hand, as well, praising and critiquing hopefuls in an effort to discover the next fresh face of the network. Focus groups will also be invited to challenges, not just to watch what goes down, but to share their reviews with Alton, Bobby and Giada — and impact judging. For the first time this season, one finalist will be brought back after elimination for another chance at victory.

While the selection committee must decide who stays and who goes each week, it will be up to you — Star fans — to choose who will ultimately be your next Food Network Star. Just like last year, there will be a live finale fan vote to determine the winner at the end of the season, when you'll have the chance to support your favorite finalist by voting for him or her to take the win.

Meet the Season 9 competitors below, then check out the Food Network Star headquarters for more insider coverage of the show all season long.

Andres Guillama (Waynesville, N.C.)
Chad Rosenthal (Ambler, Penn.)
Chris Hodgson (Cleveland)
Connie “Lovely” Jackson (Los Angeles)
Damaris Phillips (Louisville, Ky.)
Daniela Perez-Reyes (Haleiwa, Hawaii)
Danushka Lysek (New York)
Nikki Dinki (New York)
Rodney Henry (Baltimore)
Russell Jackson (San Francisco)
Stacey Poon-Kinney (Spring Valley, Calif.)
Viet Pham (Salt Lake City)

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Comments (201)

  1. Jennifer says:

    next food network is a good show and all, but WHERE IS JUSTIN WARNER'S SHOW?!?!??? I saw his 'special' and it was good-- why is there not a regular show on the roster starring LAST season's winner?? (or at least something saying why there ISN'T a show?

  2. you-know-I'm-right says:

    Whoever wins this next season, I just hope it isn't someone riddled with Monster-tattoos, a pierced eyebrow, pink hair, who whines about how a family relative has just died and they are doing all this for them and who makes peanut-butter & Octopus cajun burger

    Read more at:

  3. anthoy jackson says:

    i can,t wait for season 9 to start ! because my aunt chef lovely is going to be on the on show .

    i love my aunt.
    my name is anthony jackson . iam eight years old .

  4. Steven says:

    I'm pretty excited for the new season. Can't wait to see chef Hodgson again. The only thing I don't like is that the network is leaving the winner up to the fans again. They chose someone last year who didn't really fit into what the network wanted.

    • Colonel Crouton says:

      What a contestant ISN'T--matters.
      Yes, obviously they need to be a fantastic cook. And good on camera.
      But, that said, it's also what they aren't.
      They should NOT be:
      a domineering, overbearing jerk
      a shy, soft-spoken wimp
      a hyper, fast-talking nervous wreck
      a monotone, expressionless dull person
      a loud, intense, freaky weirdo
      showing false humility/fear and always going on about how they are the one going home next
      bashing other contenders
      only able to do one thing...i.e...every dish is like all their other dishes.
      So you see, Turn-off's---matter.

  5. The Bitcher says:

    I wish there were less contestants that own a restaurant or have been previous contenders.
    Whatever happened to the good ol' days when we found just ordinary non-famous home-cooks people who simply had incredible talent? If I see another contender who's already been on Iron Chef or Chopped, I think I'll barf.

    • RS0079 says:

      I want to see contestants who care about people still struggling with the basics. Enough with the entertaining/partying focus,

      • The Bitcher says:

        Exactly! We need cooks who the audience can relate to and when it gets to be too much like Iron Chef or Chopped, and it already has, then the audience disconnects. Its like watching Bruce Lee knowing that you'll never ever be able to do what he did. We want teachers to show us that we can do it, too.

      • guest says:

        Good point. How about mentioning oven temperatures. When is it 325 and when is it 450 degrees? What 4 or 5 basic kitchen tools help out alot? Besides salt & pepper, what spices should I keep on hand? Garlic, paprika, crushed red pepper, worchtesire sauce, etc. We need more of the OK now you're ready to cook kind of teaching. But dont dwell on it. It can be said simply and spend most of the time on the actual dish.

  6. Janet M. says:

    There will be 12 people competing. 3 of them are from California and 2 from New York.
    You would think that out of 50 states things be could be more balanced. No one from
    Indiana, Colorado, Oregon, Maine, Arizona, Tennessee for example. As if the world revolves around LA. and New York.

  7. Guest says:

    Click the first look at season 9 video. Of course, they haven't started yet but do you feel any likes/dislikes or immediate impressions just from watching this? Who and why?

    • RS0079 says:

      I am completely dreading Danushka. She seems very cold & stuck up. Also not sure about Chad. I wasn't impressed with that beer can 'trick.'

  8. Russell Jackson is the man. Go Russell!

  9. Guest says:

    I'm surprised that Chris from Hodge Pudge,will be on the next season of Food Network Star.I don't know who I'm rooting for.But I think I'm rooting for Chris to win the next food network star.

  10. Jacob says:

    It's hard to tell from the video, but I'm hoping the fact that Alton, Giada and Bobby are back being behind the judges' committee means they've done away with that horrible teams format from last year.

    I'm still disappointed about whatever happened with Justin that we didn't get to see his show, but NFNS has been one of my favorite summer treats every year, so hopefully it'll be back on track.

    • the Biker says:

      Let's hope they don't have the Pitch Room again this year. The decision to eliminate should be made right after the eating and presentation. Too drawn out.