Get ready to meet your next ‘Food Network Star’


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Season 7 of ‘Food Network Star’ begins June 5 with a new name and three local competitors determined to take home the title: Katy Clark of Long Beach, Penny Davidi of Los Angeles and Jyll Everman of Glendora are in the running for the culinary world’s equivalent of ‘American Idol.’

L.A. is the star of the two-hour season premiere, as the finalists find themselves facing challenges staged at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre and the city’s Original Farmers Market. Alton Brown will help competitors answer that all-important question -- what’s your culinary point of view? -- and then the contestants will serve up a four-course meal to judges and special guests, including ‘Extra’ host Mario Lopez.


Bobby Flay returns as host and judge, and there’s new judge Giada de Laurentiis. (I am mildly disappointed -- I particularly enjoyed her in her previous role as mentor. But I am sure she will shine at the judge’s table as well.) Adding to the star quotient: Finalists will visit the set of ABC’s hit series ‘Cougar Town’ and create custom meals for cast and crew, including Courteney Cox and show creator Bill Lawrence, and there will be stop-ins with the likes of such network celeb chefs as Anne Burrell, Scott Conant, Melissa d’Arabian, Paula Deen, Ina Garten, Duff Goldman, Robert Irvine, the Neelys, Rachael Ray and Michael Symon.

Other finalists include: Mary Beth Albright of Washington, D.C.; Justin Balmes of Marietta, Ga.; Whitney Chen of New York; Justin Davis of Minneapolis; Howie Drummond of Highlands Ranch, Colo.; Susie Jimenez of Carbondale, Colo.; Juba Kali of New Orleans; Jeff Mauro of Elmwood Park, Ill.; Vic “Vegas” Moea of Las Vegas; Chris Nirschel of Hoboken, N.J.; Orchid Paulmeier of Bluffton, S.C.; and Alicia Sanchez of New York. The finale is set for Aug. 14.

If you just can’t wait until June 5, go to for casting videos.

Are you amped for ‘Food Network Star’? And what do you think about the shortening of the title? (It used to be ‘The Next Food Network Star.’)


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Times Food Editor Russ Parsons on the farmers market cure

-- Rene Lynch
Twitter / renelynch