Food Network Star (season 9)

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Food Network Star (season 9)
Country of origin United States
Original network Food Network
Original release June 2 (2013-06-02) – August 11, 2013 (2013-08-11)
Additional information
No. of contestants 12
Winner Damaris Phillips
Season chronology
← Previous
Season 8
Next →
Season 10

The ninth season of the American reality television series Food Network Star premiered Sunday, June 2, 2013.[1]

Season 9 continued the season 8 concept of having Bobby Flay, Giada De Laurentiis, and Alton Brown mentor the contestants, but dropped the specific assignments of teams to mentors, and the final elimination challenge between the bottom contestants. Also, season 9 featured just 12 contestants, down from 15 in season 8.




  • Rodney Henry, 47, Pie Shop Owner - Baltimore, Maryland
  • Russell Jackson, 49, Underground Chef - San Francisco, California


(In order of elimination)

  • Daniela Perez-Reyes, 28, Caterer/Bartender - Haleiwa, Hawaii
  • Andres Guillama, 26, Childhood Obesity Prevention Coach - Waynesville, North Carolina
  • Danushka Lysek, 37, Private Chef/Model - New York City
  • Connie "Lovely" Jackson, 27, Caterer - Los Angeles, California (Returned to competition after winning Star Salvation)
  • Viet Pham, 33, Chef/Restaurant Owner - Salt Lake City, Utah
  • Chris Hodgson, 26, Chef/Restaurateur - Cleveland, Ohio
  • Chad Rosenthal, 37, Restaurant Owner - Ambler, Pennsylvania
  • Connie "Lovely" Jackson, 27, Caterer - Los Angeles, California
  • Nikki Dinki, 29, Food Blogger/Online Host - New York City
  • Stacey Poon-Kinney, 34, Restaurant Owner - San Diego, California

At least six competitors have appeared on other Food Network programs. Viet defeated Bobby Flay on Iron Chef America. Pham also competed on Extreme Chef. Lysek and Henry appeared on Chopped; both were eliminated before the final round. Henry has also appeared on Throwdown with Bobby Flay. Lysek also appeared on 24 Hour Restaurant Battle and won. Poon-Kinney appeared on Restaurant Impossible, where Robert Irvine gave her family's restaurant a makeover. Hodgson competed on The Great Food Truck Race: his truck, Hodge Podge, were season 2 runners-up.

Contestant progress[edit]

Contestant 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11
Danushka LOW LOW OUT
Andres IN OUT
Daniela OUT

^Note 1 : Lovely won Star Salvation and returned to the competition, but was eliminated the same week she came back.
^Note 2 : Russell was eliminated from the final three midway through the finale.

     (WINNER) The contestant won the competition and became the next "Food Network Star".
     (RUNNER-UP) The contestant made it to the finale, but did not win.
     (WIN) The contestant won the Star Challenge for that week.
     (SAFE) The contestant won immunity from elimination by winning the Camera Challenge.
     (HIGH) The contestant was one of the Selection Committee's favorites for that week.
     (IN) The contestant was not one of the Selection Committee's favorites nor their least favorites. They were not up for elimination.
     (LOW) The contestant was one of the Selection Committee's three or four least favorites for that week, but was not eliminated.
     (LOW) The contestant was one of the Selection Committee's two least favorites for that week, but was not eliminated.
     (OUT) The contestant was the Selection Committee's least favorite for that week, and was eliminated.

Episode summaries[edit]

Week One: Are You Ready For Prime-Time?[edit]

  • Camera Challenge: The finalists must make a 30-second pitch to network executives Bob Tuschman and Susie Fogelson; they were also shown to a focus group, who had reaction meters to rate their impressions. Following this, they have 45 minutes to create a dish that highlights potatoes.
    • Top 3: Chad, Nikki, and Stacey
    • Bottom 3: Russell,Danushka, and Daniela
    • Eliminated: Daniela
  • First aired: June 2, 2013

Week Two: Burger Bash[edit]

  • Camera Challenge: The contestants must make a burger for 100 burger enthusiasts and make a two-minute presentation to the audience. Each audience member has a token and will give their token to the contestant whose burger they want to taste.
    • Top 3: Russell, Chad, and Stacey
    • Bottom 3: Nikki, Danushka, and Andres
    • Eliminated: Andres
  • First aired: June 9, 2013

Week Three: A Star is Chopped[edit]

  • Mentor Challenge: The contestants must prepare a dish using a mystery ingredient. The contestants were separated into two groups led by Alton and Bobby. The winners from each group receive an advantage in the next challenge.
    • Team Alton Winner: Rodney
    • Team Bobby Winner: Damaris
  • Chopped Challenge: The contestants face the Chopped Challenge where Iron Chef Alex Guarnaschelli, Alton and Bobby judged two heats of a Chopped-style competition. For winning the Mentor Challenge, Damaris and Rodney earn a place on the judging panel for their team and are safe from elimination.
  • Round 1: Viet, Danushka, Chad and Russell face off against each other using sport foods which were cotton candy, hot dogs, peanuts and beer with Damaris judging this heat.
  • Round 2: Chris, Lovely, Nikki and Stacey then faced off using kids foods which were chicken nuggets, fruit leathers, cheddar fish crackers and apple juice
    • Top 2: Nikki, and Chad
    • Bottom 3: Stacey, Russell, and Danushka
  • Eliminated: Danushka
  • First aired: June 16, 2013

Week Four: Big Screen Bites[edit]

  • Camera Challenge: The contestants are divided into three groups of three, each representing a classic movie theme: western, romance, or musical. They must shoot a 60-second trailer to be shown at a dine-in movie theater and then cook for the guests who ordered their food.
    • Top 3: Nikki, Russell, and Stacey
    • Bottom 3: Viet, Rodney, and Lovely
    • Eliminated: Lovely
  • First aired: June 23, 2013

Week Five: 4th of July Live[edit]

  • Mentor Challenge: The contestants worked with Terrence Jenkins presenting live demos of a sausage and pepper sandwich in three minutes. Each contestant was challenged with a different issue during their demo including missing peppers, cutting the lights and Terrence walking off the set with a cough.
    • Winner: Rodney
  • Camera Challenge: The contestants take part in an interactive show called "4th of July Live." As part of the show network executive Bob Tuschman returns to judge the challenge. Each of the contestants will be given one of eight stations which could range from cooking to a station with a culinary expert.
Chef Station
Chad Farm Stand with Farmer Lee
Chris Coleslaw
Damaris Cocktails with mixologist Marcos Tello
Nikki Fried Chicken
Rodney Dessert
Russell Potato salad
Stacey Butcher Station with Lindy and Grundy
Viet Chips and Dips
  • Top 2: Stacey and Nikki
    • Winner: Stacey
  • Bottom 2: Russell and Viet
    • Eliminated: Viet
  • Original Air Date: June 30, 2013

Week Six: Product Pitch[edit]

  • Star Challenge: The finalists have one hour to create two potential food products that can be sold on the market. They must then choose which one they will take to market and will have the opportunity to pitch their product to three executives from Kraft Foods, Kellogg's and Target.
    • Top 3: Damaris, Stacey and Russell
    • Bottom 4: Nikki, Chad, Rodney and Chris
    • Eliminated: Chris
  • Original Air Date: July 7, 2013

Week Seven: Star Charity Auction[edit]

  • Camera Challenge: The contestants had to describe Bobby Flay's dish after tasting it and were buzzed by Bobby Flay when they used certain words that were forbidden to use.
    • Top 2: Stacey and Nikki
    • Bottom 2: Rodney and Russell
    • Winner: Stacey
  • Star Challenge: The finalists create their signature dish to tell what type of Food Network Star they are, they then had to describe the dish to a group of adventurous eaters (gastronauts). The dishes were then bid on by the eaters. Whoever earns the highest bid is safe from elimination. For winning the Camera Challenge, Stacey won an extra $10 added on to whatever amount her dish receives in the auction. All proceeds went to Share Our Strength, an organization to combat childhood hunger.
  • Dishes and Bids:
    • Damaris: (Green Bean Casserole) $130
    • Nikki: (Mushroom & Shrimp Pasta) $130
    • Chad: (Texas Barbecue Poutine) $150
    • Russell: (Egg & Bacon Revolution) $150
    • Stacey: (Maple Bacon Cheesecake) $180 + $10 bonus
    • Rodney: (Berry & Rhubarb Pie) $140
  • Top 3: Nikki, Damaris, and Stacey
  • Winner: Nikki
  • Bottom 2: Russell and Chad
  • Eliminated: Chad
  • Original Air Date: July 14, 2013

Week Eight: Food Stories From The Road[edit]

Prior to the announcement of the Mentors Challenge, Robert Irvine announced the winner of the Star Salvation was Lovely, who returned to the competition.

  • Mentors Challenge: The contestants had to create an Italian dish for the mentors and then had to come up with a tasty description for the dish. As a twist, two contestants at a time are brought in and then the two chefs would switch dishes and describe each others. Damaris and Lovely described each other's dishes, Stacey and Rodney judge one another, and Russell and Nikki critique theirs. The winner would receive an advantage in the upcoming Star Challenge.
    • Winner: Nikki
  • Star Challenge: The contestants are divided into teams of three and will each have to create their own food store and then create a "food story show". Nikki's advantage was to pick her team members and she picked Stacey and Damaris, leaving Lovely, Russell and Rodney to team up. It was revealed that Nikki's team will be working at a donut shop, The Donut Man, while Rodney's team works with a pizza shop, Vito's Pizza. Both teams would need to interview their subjects so they can create a story to present to camera. They will be judged by both the mentors and critics, Janice Minn, Gary Baum and Leslie Bruce from The Hollywood Reporter. While Damaris and Nikki both were commended for their work on the camera, Stacey was criticized for not just being scripted but also using the owner of the Donut Man as a prop. Russell was told it wasn't about his "Sin" angle, it was about the restaurant. Rodney was told his "shtick" which wasn't a shtick made him seem slightly fake. While Lovely was told she looked too polished and mechanical and for not connecting with the customers in the restaurant.
    • Top 2: Damaris, Nikki
    • Bottom 3: Rodney, Russell and Lovely
    • Eliminated: Lovely
  • Original Air Date: July 21, 2013

Week Nine: Menu: Impossible[edit]

  • Mentor's Challenge: The chefs are asked to use ingredients from the Food Network Star pantry and create a well-balanced dish in 30 minutes. They then presented it in front of Alton and explained why they used the ingredients in the meal and had to give a tip in preparing a quick meal. Rodney and Damaris created breakfast dishes, Nikki cooked a lunch meal, while Russell and Stacey prepared food for dinner. Rodney forgot to give his tip; Damaris presented well but forgot to explain the problem the tip is supposed to solve; Nikki cooked well despite a stumble during the cooking process, however she did have an issue in her presentation; Stacey presented both a great meal and a presentation which Alton said showed she was more at ease; Russell finished up the challenge but had issue in connecting with the camera. In the end, Stacey won the challenge.
  • Star Challenge: The contestants headed to Phil Trani's in Long Beach, California. Restaurant: Impossible host Robert Irvine joined the judging panel with Alton and Giada. He challenged the chefs to reinvent outdated dishes on the restaurant's menu. Owner Phil Trani and managers Amber and Ashley were also introduced to the finalists. For winning the Mentor's Challenge, Stacey was presented five dishes and given the opportunity to either cook the dish or assign it to another chef. Rodney was assigned chicken cacciatore, Damaris was given a tournedos of beef & mashed potatoes, Stacey took the crab stuffed halibut & baked potato, Nikki is preparing the salmon with onion pepper relish and rice pilaf, and Russell is given the stuffed chicken & rice pilaf. The chefs would have to present to the judges, customers of Phil's restaurant. Rodney presented a new Chicken Cacciatore Pie, Damaris gave a Filet and Garlic Smashed Potatoes, Russell presented the customers and judges a Spinach Wrapped Chicken & Risotto, Nikki changed the dish by making a Broccoli Cake with Salmon & Rice Pilaf, and finally Stacey served a Halibut Crab Cake Roulade & Potatoes.
    • Winner: Russell
    • Bottom 4: Damaris, Stacey, Rodney and Nikki
  • Eliminated: Nikki
  • Original Air Date: July 28, 2013

Week Ten: Network Pitch[edit]

  • Pitch Challenge: Stacey pitched "Stacey's Modern Magic", where she'll take dishes that have fallen and make these dishes more magical. However, Tuschman and Fogelson felt her pitch seemed sad even though Stacey was trying to connect. Russell pitched his "Guilty Pleasures" show, which would take something ordinary and plain and turning it into a "sinful pleasure", such as taking ice cream and adding bacon to it. The executives felt they liked the sins. Damaris suggested her "Eat, Date, Love" which would teach men and America in general how to win someone through Southern food and tradition. The judges felt she nailed the pitch and had a focused idea compared to in the past. Finally, Rodney pitched "Pie Style" which would have him going to restaurants, taking their signature dishes and the restaurant will challenge him to bake that dish in pie style. Damaris and Rodney were immediately put through as a unanimous vote amongst both the executives and the mentors, however in the end there was a tie vote whether Stacey or Russell would make it through, with Alton having the final decision. In the end, Stacey was eliminated from the competition.
  • Star Challenge: The final three headed out to do their pilots. With Guy Fieri heading up the filming of the shows, Rodney started off at The Foundry on Melrose with Eric Greenspan to remake his famous grilled cheese sandwich into a pie. Rodney did well with Guy even saying that he killed it creating his Taleggio and Short Rib Pie. Russell went to Bennett's Ice Cream Shop, but has trouble with his intro because he scripted it instead of just performing. He then tries the cabernet sauvignon and then creates his own Bacon Bourbon Sorbet for Scott Bennett to try out. Damaris started out great, by nailing her intro. She and her "student" creates a pulled pork loin on a sweet potato biscuit but while making the food, she has an issue with looking at the camera, but eventually gets into the flow of looking while cooking. After the filming was complete, each of the pilots were shown as part of the episode: "Pie Style with Rodney Henry", "Guilty Pleasures with Russell Jackson", and "Eat, Date, Love with Damaris Phillips." It is now up to viewers of the show to vote for the contestant they want to win the competition on the Food Network Star official page on the Food Network website: Finale Vote.
  • Moved to Next Round: Damaris, Rodney, Russell
  • Eliminated: Stacey
  • Original Air Date: August 4, 2013

Week Eleven: America Picks a Star[edit]

  • Reunion: The Season Nine winner is announced during a reunion show at Chelsea Manor in New York featuring never-before-seen footage and reflections from the competitors and mentors. They also brought in questions through tweets, Skype calls and e-mails to ask the contestants. Midway through the show, Russell was eliminated from the final three leaving Damaris and Rodney as the final two contestants for the grand prize.
  • Runners-Up: Russell (Third Place), Rodney (Second Place)
  • Winner of Food Network Star: Damaris
  • New Show: Southern at Heart
  • Original Air Date: August 11, 2013

Star Salvation[edit]

In this year's competition, Food Network Star has added a five-week online "Star Salvation" competition, which will allow one eliminated contestant a second chance to return to the main competition. Hosted by Robert Irvine, each episode will feature the most recently eliminated contestant competing against the remaining previously eliminated contestants for a second chance at winning. Each episode features one or two rounds of competition, judged by Irvine.[2]

Contestant 1 2 3 4
Chad OUT
Chris OUT
Viet OUT
Danushka IN WIN OUT
Andres IN OUT
Daniela OUT
     (WIN) The chef won Star Salvation and returned to the main competition.
     (WIN) The chef won that episode's Star Salvation and continued in the competition.
     (IN) The chef continued in the competition.
     (OUT) The chef lost in that week's Star Salvation and was eliminated from the competition.

Episode 1[edit]

Round 1[edit]

  • Advanced: Andres, Danushka, Lovely
  • Eliminated: Daniela

Round 2[edit]

  • Advanced: Danushka and Lovely
  • Eliminated: Andres

Episode 2[edit]

  • Winner: Lovely
  • Eliminated: Danushka and Viet

Episode 3[edit]

  • Winner: Lovely
  • Eliminated: Chris

Episode 4[edit]

  • Winner: Lovely
  • Eliminated: Chad


External links[edit]