You heard it here first: Food Network Star is kicking off an all-new ninth season on Sunday, June 2 at 9pm/8c, and returning judge-mentors Alton Brown, Bobby Flay and Giada De Laurentiis will be there at the helm. This year the mentors are tasking 12 hopefuls with weekly Mentor and Star Challenges in the ultimate multi-month interview for the chance to earn their dream television job: their own show on Food Network. While the contestants bring with them a mix of backgrounds — including culinary school, restaurant management, private chef and food blogging — they have but one dream, which is to become the next Food Network Star. From now until next month's premiere, Star Talk will introduce one finalist a day until you, Star fans, meet them on camera during the show.
Owner of a San Francisco underground supper club, Russell Jackson, 47, competed against Iron Chef Jose Garces in Iron Chef America Battle Rhubarb. He's been cooking since he was 3 years old, when he first experimented with applesauce in the kitchen. A graduate of the California Culinary Academy, Russell now specializes in using local, seasonal ingredients to inspire unconventional meals with individual style.
Click the play button on the video to watch Russell's casting video.
Visit the Food Network Star Headquarters for more exclusive interviews, plus behind-the-scenes images and videos of the finalists and mentors, and tune in to the Season 9 premiere on Sunday, June 2 at 9pm/8c.