The six male finalists of “Food Network Star” season nine, which begins on Sunday, June 2, hail from the west coast to the east coast, and all of them have something different to offer as they pursue their own television cooking show.
Some promote healthy eating, while others are about late night dining. Some like to rock – literally – while others have already made their mark on the culinary television world. From self-taught cooks to culinary school grads, these six male “FNS” finalists run the gamut, and it’s anyone’s game in the 11-week culinary competition.
Unlike last season, no one is on teams and no one is being mentored by Alton Brown, Giada de Laurentiis, and Bobby Flay, who will instead be judges. In fact, this cycle will also feature focus groups of viewers who will give their two cents about who should stay and who should go, a smart move by the Food Network.
Check out the list of six male hopefuls (and the six females) and sound off in the comments about who you think will be the next “Food Network Star.”
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Andres Guillama of Waynesville, NC
Guillama works as a childhood obesity prevention coach and has a weight-loss story to tell. He’s also Cuban and grew up in Miami with seven siblings. The 26-year-old worked in his dad’s restaurant as a kid, and plans to teach “Food Network Star” viewers how to make authentic Cuban food with a twist.
Andres was eliminated in “FNS” season nine, week two.
Chad Rosenthal of Ambler, PA
As a kid, Rosenthal performed “cooking shows” for his family, and the energetic chef hasn’t lost that spirit. He’s most passionate about barbecue, and today the self-taught cook owns and operates a comfort food/barbecue restaurant and whiskey bar in Pennsylvania. If the 37-year-old wins “Food Network Star,” he plans to teach viewers everything from how to shotgun a beer to how to make fried-green tomatoes.
Chris Hodgson of Cleveland, OH
No stranger to reality competitions – he competed and landed in second place on “The Great Food Truck Race” – Hodgson is also a busy guy. He owns a catering company, Hodge’s restaurant, and two food trucks, including the first one ever to grace the streets of Cleveland. The self-described energizer bunny graduated from Le Cordon Bleu, and, if the 27-year-old gets a TV show, he wants to become a “food role model.”
Rodney Henry of Baltimore, MD
As a former rocker, Rodney Henry will bring a refreshing personality to “Food Network Star” season nine. His creativity is seen in his food; at his three Dangerously Delicious Pies shops, he’s turned the classic pie recipes of his great aunt and grandmother into something innovative and even more delicious. The 47-year-old has already appeared on “Throwdown with Bobby Flay,” “Chopped,” and other cooking shows.
Russell Jackson of San Francisco, CA
Known as the founder of a secret underground supper club in California, Jackson graduated from the California Culinary Academy and has owned and operated restaurants for over a decade. The 49-year-old prides himself on putting a whimsical twist on local ingredients, and claims he’s been cooking since he was three years old. He’s also competed against Chef Garces on “Iron Chef America.”
Viet Pham of Salt Lake City, UT
Born in a Malaysian refugee camp, Pham graduated from a California culinary school and later worked in a variety of San Francisco restaurants. Today, the 34-year-old owns his own restaurant in Salt Lake City, where he makes globally-inspired cuisine, and has been a James Beard Award semi-finalist. He’s also beaten Chef Bobby Flay during “Iron Chef America,” and “Food and Wine” magazine named him one of the best new chefs in 2011.
Viet was eliminated in week five of season nine.