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. Crouton40 says:

    Who knows? There may even be more than one snob. What if it were one of the guys? Or anyone.

    As far as looks go, it's nice if the winner is attractive but that is really in 3rd place for me. Because--if I don't like their food, I won't watch. It's that simple. If I don't like them, I may watch just to get a good recipe but not enough to give the show good ratings. So for me, it's food, personality, looks. A wholesome girl with a great smile can do wonders. I imagine you ladies feel the same about the men.

    Looking forward to the show starting. One episode wont decide things. I need to see them several different times. Some people grow. Some fizzle out. Some people can cook their socks off yet fall apart on camera. Others are good on camera but their cooking isn't all that hot. Some are relaxed on camera and make great food but something about them may turn us off. Who can do it all? I enjoy reading people's opinions and reasons. :)

  2. TJD says:

    Hoping that Danushka Lysek is eliminated on the first round. She needs to get over herself and all the male bankers (her words) she is hired to cook for, if their wives don't find out. She needs a public speaking class also. Very disappointed in Food Network for choosing her as a contestant

  3. flojo says:

    please tell the Network executives that using "YOU GUYS" when you have male and female competitors brings them down to a "street" level of mentality. Same goes for team captains - who in their right think that female patrons of a restaurant think this is appropriate - my tip reflects inappropriate jargon.

    • the Biker says:

      It's a common saying that people use everyday. I dont find it offensive at all. You sound like a whining, bra-burning feminist who majored in women's studies and never got along with her dad. To answer your question - lots of people male and female aren't fazed by it at all. When I was in high school and we took driver's Ed., we had male and female students in the same car and the instructor called all of us you guys. No one even batted an eye. As an adult, I've been out in a a brew pub - in mixed company - and have had both male and female waitresses say YOU GUYS to all of in the group and again neither gender was offended or said anything about it at all. Go eat some granola and get over yourself.

  4. Robyn says:

    I'm not sure you could have found contestants who were more weird than the group you have this year. It seems each season you try to out-do the weirdness...and this year is no exception. I've have been a viewer since the beginning....but now I'm done. I'm done and I won't be back. It was such an enjoyable show. What is the fascination with the quirky people you choose to be on this show?

    • Debra says:

      Right you are. FN wants someone larger than life. That should not mean quirkiness gone wild. Just because someone isnt another Emeril doesnt mean they wont make a good star.

  5. Teresa says:

    Just waiting to see babushka or whoever she is go home.

  6. Debbie says:

    Chris is great. Just give him a show. Dunushka is a riot. Keep her on for some laughs

  7. maria says:

    How can they have a pro-food net work star that beat Bobby on Iron Chef be a contestant?? This is not fair to the other contestant. He is already a star on the network;.

  8. Marje says:

    Bobby Flay is holding a grudge againsy Viet as Viet beat him at Iron Chef==Rodney is so hard to understand=Chris is a joke and Lovely is not so lovely would watch Demaris anytime

  9. Elaine says:

    this show was painfully boring tonight Way too much criticism and they kicked the wrong person off!!! I think I am getting tired of alton and giada I think they have forgotten where they came from when they started out.

  10. Sum says:

    you are all picking on Viet.i know he is not good in camera challenge but food net work is giving too much stress. Is this all because he won over Bobby?