NEW YORK, April 11, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Food Network's number one series, Food Network Star returns June 5th at 9PM ET/PT with the most intense tests of talent and exciting guest stars steering the 15 finalists towards the ultimate dream job: his or her own Food Network show. With the drive to follow in the footsteps of their culinary idols, the finalists must first prove they have the charisma and culinary prowess to host/judge Bobby Flay, the judges' newest addition Giada de Laurentiis and the Food Network executives on the star-making selection committee.
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The finalists include: Mary Beth Albright (Washington, D.C.), Justin Balmes (Marietta, Ga.), Whitney Chen (New York), Katy Clark (Long Beach, Calif.), Penny Davidi (Los Angeles), Justin Davis (Minneapolis), Howie Drummond (Highlands Ranch, Colo.), Jyll Everman (Glendora, Calif.), Susie Jimenez (Carbondale, Colo.), Juba Kali (New Orleans), Jeff Mauro (Elmwood Park, Ill.), Vic "Vegas" Moea (Las Vegas), Chris Nirschel (Hoboken, N.J.), Orchid Paulmeier (Bluffton, S.C.), and Alicia Sanchez (New York).
In the two-hour season premiere, the finalists get their first taste of Los Angeles with challenges staged at Grauman's Chinese Theater and the city's Original Farmer's Market. Alton Brown lends his behind-the-camera, know-how to mentor teams in developing promotional TV commercials, later critiqued as contestants serve-up a four-course meal served to the judges and special guests, Jess Cagle, Managing Editor, Entertainment Weekly, Extra TV host Mario Lopez and Hal Rubenstein, Fashion Director, InStyle.
With a variety of challenges designed to separate a true star from just another cook in the kitchen, this season's highlights include creating and advertising a unique food truck under the watchful eye of Tyler Florence, adding fireworks to a meal with MGD 64 for an All-American 4th of July Food Festival hosted by Guy Fieri, throwing an impromptu dinner party for Wolfgang Puck, having their menus "roasted" by some legendary comedic faces, using Kellogg's ® cereals, toaster pastries, and snacks to create an impressive appetizer and competing head-to-head Iron Chef America style in Kitchen Stadium. The finalists also visit the set of ABC's hit series Cougar Town and create custom meals for cast and crew with special guest stars, Courteney Cox and show creator Bill Lawrence. This star-studded season also features the industry's biggest stars and culinary authority such as: Alton Brown, Anne Burrell, Scott Conant, Melissa D'Arabian, Paula Deen, Ina Garten, Duff Goldman, Robert Irvine, the Neelys, Rachael Ray and Michael Symon.
The selection committee including Bobby Flay, Giada De Laurentiis, Food Network executives Bob Tuschman (General Manager/SVP, Programming and Production) and Susie Fogelson (Senior Vice President, Marketing, Creative Services & Brand Strategy), narrow the field before reaching the finale.
The season-long trials and triumphs culminate in the finale on Sunday, August 14th 9pm ET/PT, where the finalist proven to have the ultimate recipe for success is revealed and films a six-episode Food Network series to premiere in August 2011. Food Network Star is produced by CBS Eye Too Productions.
For fans craving more action, log onto www.foodnetwork.com/star for casting videos, the season-long 'Fan Favorite Vote' where the winner is awarded their own web series, behind-the-scenes interviews with guest stars and 'Star Scrapbooks' with a look inside the pages of each finalists' journal with exclusive snapshots from the 'Star' house. Fans can also take a bite out of every episode with weekly preview and recap videos, photo galleries, exit interviews, judges' takes from Bob, Susie and Giada, plus, Bobby Flay's 'Instant Reflay' in which he modifies a recipe from each challenge.
FOOD NETWORK (www.foodnetwork.com) is a unique lifestyle network, website and magazine that connects viewers to the power and joy of food. The network strives to be viewers' best friend in food and is committed to leading by teaching, inspiring and empowering through its talent and expertise. Food Network is distributed to more than 100 million U.S. households and averages more than 9.9 million unique web users monthly. Since launching in 2009, Food Network Magazine has tripled its rate base and delivers a circulation of 1.25 million. Headquartered in New York, Food Network has a growing international presence with programming in more than 150 countries, including 24 hour networks in Great Britain, India, Asia and Africa. Scripps Networks Interactive (NYSE: SNI), which also owns and operates Cooking Channel (www.cookingchanneltv.com), DIY Network (www.diynetwork.com), Great American Country (www.gactv.com), HGTV (www.hgtv.com), and Travel Channel (www.travelchannel.com), is the manager and general partner.
SOURCE Food Network