Giada De Laurentiis and Bobby Flay return as mentors/judges in season premiere Sunday, June 7
Web-exclusive companion series "Star Salvation" also returns
Food Network competition series "Food Network Star" returns for an 11th season this summer, with a cast of 12 talented hopefuls competing to become the next new face in food television. Food superstars Giada De Laurentiis and Bobby Flay are back as mentors/judges, joined this season by a roster of top-notch special guests and judges.
In the biggest audition of their lives, the finalists battle in a series of unique challenges designed to determine who has the personality, on-air charisma and cooking skills to win the ultimate prize: their own show on Food Network. Exclusive Web series "Star Salvation" also returns, giving one eliminated contestant the opportunity to rejoin the competition. "Food Network Star" season 11 premieres Sunday, June 7 (9 p.m. ET/PT), and the winner will be crowned in the season finale Sunday, Aug. 16.
"Each season, our viewers love following the journey of 'Food Network Star' contestants as they develop from aspiring newcomer to confident pro," said Bob Tuschman, general manager and senior vice president of Food Network. "Having Giada and Bobby guide these finalists along is like watching a master class in food television."
The finalists are: Emilia Cirker (Reston, Virginia); Jay Ducote (Baton Rouge, Louisiana); Christina Fitzgerald (St. Louis); Rosa Graziano (Los Angeles); Matthew Grunwald (Scottsdale, Arizona); Eddie Jackson (Houston); Michelle Karam (Santa Barbara, California); Sita Lewis (New York); Alex McCoy (Washington, D.C.); Arnold Myint (Nashville); Rue Rusike (Brooklyn) and Dominick Tesoriero (Staten Island).
In the season premiere, the 12 hopefuls arrive in Los Angeles and are introduced to food icons Giada and Bobby. Each finalist must produce a 30-second introductory video and make a signature dish for a food festival to be held the next day. At the festival, attended by a crowd of Food Network fans, each video is screened and signature dish tasted by a judging panel including Giada, Bobby, Food Network executives Susie Fogelson and Tuschman, and People Deputy Editor J.D. Heyman. For one finalist, their dream ends, while the remaining 11 continue on their journey.
Upcoming episodes include a Fourth of July-themed celebration, intense food truck/social media challenge and do-or-die live television demo.
Special guests/judges this season include Food Network personalities Sunny Anderson, Richard Blais, Anne Burrell, Melissa d'Arabian, Bobby Deen, Duff Goldman, Alex Guarnaschelli, Katie Lee, Jeff Mauro, Damaris Phillips, Rachael Ray, Geoffrey Zakarian and comedian David Alan Grier.
This season also features a fully integrated, multiplatform partnership with Volkswagen, organically woven throughout the series and helping propel the competition.
"Star Salvation" returns to www.FoodNetwork.com Sunday, June 28, and goes live after "Food Network Star's" East Coast airing. Hosted by "Iron Chef" Alex Guarnaschelli and former "Food Network Star" winner Jeff Mauro, the six-episode culinary competition gives eliminated finalists a chance to re-join the competition. The "Star Salvation" winner re-enters the competition Sunday, Aug. 9.
Viewers wanting more can visit www.FoodNetwork.com/Star for exclusive interviews, photo galleries, blogs, behind-the-scenes footage, interactive quizzes and more. Fans also can connect with each other and the show's stars on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/FoodNetwork and on Twitter with the hashtag #FoodNetworkStar.