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. Cath says:

    What bothers me is Stacey made a Gluten Free Cookie and the judges rejected it as being dry or yuk. Well what the heck, they have obsessively have not been Gluten Free by health reasons, try living a day with a with Celiac. They might appreciate that cookie then.

  2. Patrick Simpson says:

    What is the obsession with Rodney? Really this guy is a joke! He is not a star folks, and not even close to any kind of culinary minion....Rid us of this clown thank you.

  3. Talyah says:

    I am absolutely flabbergasted that the panel could vote off NIkki and keep Rodney! The man cannot formulate a coherent sentence! I have no idea what he is saying half the time and it seems neither does he. "I AM Pie Style!" What the...??? Granted, NIkki flubbed the pilaf question, but Rodney served raw dough! He has consistently bumbled the speaking challenges! I had to watch the song he made up in the shower for one of his challenges through my fingers it was soooo painful to watch. They dismissed Nikki for a lack of cooking authority, Rodney doesn't even have command of the English language. If they really went back over the season and still eliminated NIkki something is majorly wrong. We need Bobby back, Robert clearly didn't have enough information to go on. Nikki needs the second chance they wasted on Lovely.

  4. debbie says:

    I have been watching the next food network star since the season with Guy.(A Big fan) However,after watching this season, I have been wondering if you are just trying to find a replacement for Paula. I noticed that you really don't have a 'good' Southern themed show and you have a Southern cook in the competition... I just wonder.

  5. Marsha Davis says:

    Before this season even started, I emailed my complaint that the results would be rigged in Rodney Henry's favor since he had previous exposure on Bobby Flay's Throwdown & Paula Deen's show. Please understand that I like the idea of "Pie Man", even though he sounds like he has marbles in his mouth and feel that he may deserve his own show but not at the expense of the other contestants. That being said, if Rodney "wins", I sincerely hope that Damaris also gets her own show as well. (Southern Cooking With Love is terrific) Also, after reading what other people posted, I am so sorry that Nikki was eliminated - she had a good concept (there is no program about Vegeterian Cooking with protein as a supplement). Unfortunately, her one error was not being sure of the ingredients in Rice Pilaf.

  6. Confused says:

    huh?! June 2 is a Monday, not a Sunday........