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. yomama says:

    I watched the pie man's video. I realize the show hasn't even begun but he left me with the feeling that he is another Jeff Mauro, Except, in pie-man 's case, instead of anything can be a sandwich, anything can be a pie. That may or may ring true as time goes on but I'll be watching. Also, the one named Danushka, looks to be good in the kitchen but really, having your audition video bleeped when we listen to it? Is this how people apply for a job? Get real.

  2. holly says:

    Do you think any of the people who competed last year and lost will post in the blog this year?

  3. guest says:

    Please tell me that this year we wont have rediculous blog threads about anyone's fashion shoes. Who was that about last season? Susie Fogelson? Giada? Many thought it was pointless then. Lets keep it all relevant this year.

  4. Patience says:

    Things I hope can be avoided this year are: (and I'm not the only one. Many others talked about several of these last year):

    Cattiness, feeling threatened or arrogance from the judges
    Judges giving advice and then criticizing the cooks when they follow it
    Extreme competitions that even Giada, Guy Fieri, or Paula would never want to do themselves.
    Wasting time having Blog posts about what kind of fashion shoes look best on someone (it happened last year),
    The Pitch Room. It's just over-hyped drama. Boring.
    Anyone whining about how a family member has recently died and they are doing all this for them. Sad, yes. But it has nothing to do with their cooking. We vote for them because we like their food, and them as a person. We dont vote for their relatives.
    Anyone making a big push and going on and on about how they are using food to bring people together or giving back to the community. Not bad things but ssooooo
    overused and such a politically-correct fad these days it becomes a game of "I care more than you do." Stop it!
    Whining each episode repeatedly with fear about how I'm-going-home-next.
    Acting TOO shocked/surprised when its announced you've won this week's competition. Alot of people can notice false humility.
    Sending someone home for one-bad-night when seven-eights of everything else they've done has been really good. (Remember Emily Ellyn and the astonishing amount of posts that Poured in on her behalf after she was eliminated last season).
    I hope the judges pay attention the the posts in the blogs but that people posting say something--definite-- about a cooks ability and personality, not just so and so is da Man! Nice. But it tells you nothing. Why? What about them was good, specifically?

    I hope we avoid endless droning-on and hounding chefs over and over about tell-us-who-you-are. WE CAN WATCH THEIR VIDEO! We dont need to hear it half a dozen times from Bob, Susie or any of the judges.
    I hope we CAN get a likable, talented cook--female or male, who isnt freaky or obnoxious.
    I hope everyone who says anything at all in the focus groups MUST justify their answer! Not just some vague: "I just didn't like her." What about her didn't they like? Even on the show: CHOPPED, the judges do say why anyone was chopped. The viewers/posters should do no less.

    I may decide to be out this year, too. Some might like that. It would be less embaressing to point how how they keep digging themselves in deeper. Why do they? There are lots and lots of others who voice the same concerns I do. And yet, maybe. Just maybe. This year. I dunno. I may change my name online. If I bother. Sigh.
    Again, there was no shortage of people sounding off on many turn-offs & issues last season, though. Because it matters. Matters to the audience. They are the ratings. And they notice. And they write about it. I wonder if food network even cares.

  5. andy says:

    good luck to all the contestants but i hope chef phillips win this she is an awsome teacher and a great chef and shes hottttt

  6. guest says:

    Check out the videos! See what you think.

  7. debby says:

    yes i will be rooting for chris i liked him on the food truck race go chris !!!!!!

  8. Alexa says:

    I wonder if Bobby Flay is going to try to get Viet Pham out as soon as possible because he beat him on Iron Chef...

    • Crystal says:

      Will Giada get rid of any other woman who is good looking? She can just say she doesn't like the food. The judges should be impartial.

  9. pilgrim says:

    Please! Danushka was on Chopped and I could not stand her then. A very
    Conceited young woman who is not the most attractive MODEL that I have seen. I just hope she is elimated quickly.

    • guest says:

      oh, so do I! She's a snob, and she reminds me of Penny from 2 years ago...I hope she leaves SOON

  10. Tucker says:

    FoodNetwork has already picked the winner.

    • guest says:

      It doesn't matter. Hundreds will watch it unfold and write in these blogs, as they should.
      If you think its all pointless, then you may opt-out, be quiet and not write at all.

      But many others will. God bless them all for having an opinion.