Food Network Star Season 8: Meet the Finalists

Giada Alton and Bobby guide the newest finalists of Food Network Star to potential stardom. Each week, the contestants will go through a series of cooking and television challenges in hopes of securing their very own Food Network show. Tune in 4th October at 8:00pm to find out.

Meet the team leaders, judges and finalists.

Meet the judges:

Susie Fogelson

As Food Network and Cooking Channel Senior Vice President Marketing & Brand Strategy, Susie has been a driving force in all aspects of messaging for both brands. During her free time, Susie enjoys cooking, exercising, shopping and reading, though what she enjoys most about working at Food Network is the passion everyone has for their job.

Bob Tuschman

Bob Tuschman serves as General Manager/Senior Vice President for Food Network. He oversees the development, programming, production and scheduling of all series, specials and stunts for the networks. Among the top-tier talent Bob has brought to the network are Rachael Ray, Giada De Laurentiis, Sunny Anderson, Ina Garten and Guy Fieri; he helped develop their highly successful programs. Under Bob's leadership, Food Network programming has earned a total of 84 Emmy nominations, winning 20 of them, and Food Network has consistently landed in the Top Ten of all cable networks.

Team Giada:

Giada De Laurentiis

Giada is an expert in Italian home cooking. Her shows Everyday Italian and Giada at Home teach viewers how to create simple and delicious meals at home.

Josh Lyons

After spending years in a rock band, Josh, 42, decided to go to culinary school to fuel his other passion: food. He worked at every level of the restaurant industry - from busser to bartender to line cook - and is now a sushi chef and restaurant consultant in Florida.

Linkie Marais

Linkie, 28, immigrated with her family from South Africa when she was 16 and now lives in Massachusetts. As a teen, she worked for a cake decorator, and after culinary school, she began working as a pastry chef. Linkie uses her heritage as a launching pad for her recipes.

Martita Jara

Martita, 35, began working in her family's restaurants at a young age and cultivated a passion for Mexican food from her mother's home cooking. Self-taught in addition to a few semesters at culinary school, Martita lives in San Diego and cooks with loads of Latin flavor and lots of love.

Philip "Ippy" Aiona

Ippy, 23, is the executive chef for his mother's Italian restaurant in Hawaii. After growing up in the restaurant business, attending culinary school was a natural fit for the laid-back yet still competitive Hawaiian native. Ippy injects Pacific ingredients into traditional European cuisine.

Yvan Lemoine

Yvan, 30, moved to the U.S. from Venezuela when he was 13 years old. He started a culinary arts internship through a program at his high school and was hooked. He now cooks for the French Consulate and creates out-of-the-box cocktails at a New York hotspot.

Team Alton:

Alton Brown

Alton Brown is known for his vast knowledge of the culinary world, from foods to techniques. He brings his culinary know-how to television via his informative cooking show Good Eats and as the host of Iron Chef America.

Cristie Schoen

Cristie, 35, grew up mostly in the South and often cooked Cajun cuisine with her dad. During college, she studied abroad in Germany and discovered a love for European cooking. Now living in New Orleans, Cristie aspires to open a cafe serving locally grown, nutritious cuisine.

Emily Ellyn

Emily, 29, grew up on a farm in Ohio, graduated from the Culinary Institute of America and then moved to Paris. She is currently pursuing her Ph.D. in hospitality management in Orlando, Fla. Emily loves using fresh, local and culturally intriguing ingredients.

Judson Allen

Judson, 30, a self-taught and restaurant-trained chef, recently changed his life and eating habits and lost more than 100 pounds. His Chicago catering company is focused on healthy food and nutrition counseling. Inspired by his grandfather, Judson also loves to cook with Creole flavours.

Justin Warner

Justin, 27, a self-taught cook, is chef-owner of a hip Brooklyn, N.Y., restaurant that he built from the ground up. Justin began working in restaurants at just 13 years old and his approach to food reflects his personality: edgy, intense, passionate and witty.

Martie Duncan

Martie, "slightly over 40," has always loved to cook and entertain, but her varied career includes stints as a police officer, wedding expert and Web content developer. She eventually found her true calling and loves to help people with their entertaining needs in Birmingham, Ala.

Team Bobby:

Bobby Flay

Bobby flay is the Food Network grill master and a culinary genius; his slew of Food Network shows prove it. The Iron Chef is an expert in bold flavours, which he demonstrates on his shows Grill It! with Bobby Flay, Boy Meets Grill, and Throwdown! with Bobby Flay.

Eric Lee

Eric, 44, graduated from the Culinary Institute of America and UCLA, where he studied sociology. He currently lives in Petaluma, Calif., and has served as the executive chef for a winery for the past 11 years. Eric loves to deconstruct and re-create classic dishes.

Kara Sigle

Kara, 31, began her catering business in Chicago while attending college, but her love of food took root years earlier as she watched her mother cook. An avid fitness guru, Kara puts her healthy spin on favorite tried-and-true dishes.

Malcolm Mitchell

Malcolm, 41, pursued a culinary arts degree after spending four years in the Navy. There he realized that he could build a career doing what he loved. Malcolm lives in Washington, D.C. and adds a healthy twist to his soulful recipes for private clients.

Michele Ragussis

Michele, 42, lives in Brooklyn, N.Y., but fell in love with seafood and New England cuisine when she moved to Rhode Island for college. For the past eight years, she's worked as an executive chef in restaurants along the East Coast.

Nikki Martin

Nikki, 31, was exposed to the restaurant world as a child attending food shows with her mom. She is currently a food and beverage consultant and private chef in West Hollywood, Calif., where she prepares bold, globally inspired dishes with seasonal ingredients.

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