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Season Six of The Next Food Network Star, On Its Way

[Photo: Food Network]

Today the Food Network announced the start date of the sixth season of their hit show The Next Food Network Star. Mark your calendars: Sunday, June 6th for a whopping two-hour season premiere. Last year's NFNS finale was the highest-rated and most-watched telecast in Food Network's history (4.7 million), handily beating Top Chef's latest season finale (3.7 million). Like American Idol, it's a show that America watches?

This time around, Giada De Laurentiis is functioning as "judge and mentor," with Bobby Flay and Food Network executives Bob Tuschman and Susie Fogelson returning as judges. Guest stars including Wolfgang Puck, Paula Deen, Guy Fieri, Rachael Ray, Alton Brown, Duff Goldman, Ted Allen, Todd English, and Eva Longoria Parker.

Will the show spawn a new mega-celebrity like Guy Fieri (of season two)? Maybe! Will there be crying ? Most likely! Will the judges repeatedly tell the contestants that they "want to see more of them," but then boot them off the show when they don't like what they see? Count on it. Here's a quick field guide to the contestants and the whole press release:

2010_aarti.jpgName: Aarti Sequeira (profile)
Age: 31
Hometown: Los Angeles
What You Need to Know: Aarti left a job at CNN to learn to go to culinary school. She likes mixing Indian flavors with American classics and even had her own online cooking show, Aarti's Paarti.

2010_alexis.jpgName: Alexis Hernandez (profile)
Age: 40
Hometown: Clarksville
What You Need to Know: Former white collar drone who gave it all up to go to culinary school and become a caterer. Also works as a part time food writer, and has his own 65 acre farm.

2010_aria.jpgName: Aria Kagan (profile)
Age: 30
Hometown: Hollywood, Fl
What You Need to Know: Private chef and single mother who loves fresh ingredients, comes from a restaurant family.

2010_brad.jpgName: Brad Sorenson (profile)
Age: 25
Hometown: Austin, TX
What You Need to Know: Brad started cooking at 17, was the executive chef of a restaruant in Columbus, Ohio at age 22, and now works out of Austin.

2010_brianna.jpgName: Brianna Jenkins (profile)
Age: 30
Hometown: Atlanta
What You Need to Know: Brianna studied at the Ecole Supérieure de Cuisine Française in Paris, and now runs a catering company. She loves "Global Cuisine."

2010_Darrell.jpgName: Darrell Smith (profile)
Age: 28
Hometown: Los Angeles
What You Need to Know: Teaches a culinary program at Beverly Hills High School, wants to get kids involved in healthy cooking and eating.

2010_doreen.jpgName: Doreen Fang (profile)
Age: 38
Hometown: Los Angeles
What You Need to Know: Cooks California cuisine with asian influences, runs a catering company and teaches cooking classes.

2010_Dzintra.jpgName: Dzintra Dzenis (profile)
Age: 44
Hometown: Austin
What You Need to Know: Teaches private cooking classes, has a husband and 12-year-old daughter. Describes her specialty as "New American Fusion. "

2010_herb.jpgName: Herb Mesa (profile)
Age: 41
Hometown: Atlanta
What You Need to Know: Herb worked his way up through the ranks of the restaurant world, starting as a dishwasher and eventually becoming the director of catering for a luxury hotel. Now works as a private chef and fitness trainer.

2010_04_paul.jpgName: Paul Young (profile)
Age: 32
Hometown: Chicago
What You Need to Know: Paul has worked as a sauté cook and executive sous chef in Chicago and Milwaukee, he also dabbled in improv comedy.

2010_serena.jpgName: Serena Palumbo (profile)
Age: 31
Hometown: NYC
What You Need to Know: Grew up in Southern Italy, has worked as an attorney in NYC, but now has a youtube cooking show, Cooking in Manhattan.

2010_tomchef.jpgName: Tom Pizzica (profile)
Age: 32
Hometown: San Francisco
What You Need to Know: Was the executive chef and owner of a Chesapeake Bay restaurant, but recently moved to San Francisco. His answer to the question of food speciality is "What do you feel like eating?"


Season Six of Food Network’s Most-Watched Series Hosted by Bobby Flay
Premieres Sunday, June 6th at 9pm ET/PT

Special Guest Appearances by Giada De Laurentiis, Guy Fieri, Rachael Ray, Wolfgang Puck, Eva Longoria Parker, Colbie Caillat and Many More!

NEW YORK – APRIL 21, 2010 – Food Network’s number one series, The Next Food Network Star, returns this June with the most exciting and intense season to date. Shot in Los Angeles on a brand-new studio set, season six follows 12 hopefuls competing for the ultimate dream job: his or her own Food Network show. With this coveted prize on the line, the finalists strut their star power and culinary chops for host Bobby Flay and the selection committee to see if they stack up against the competition. Under the mentorship of Giada De Laurentiis, the series kicks off with a two-hour premiere Sunday, June 6th at 9pm ET/PT as finalists get a taste of Hollywood with a trip to Paramount Studios and a six-course lunch for L.A.’s biggest celebrity chef, Wolfgang Puck.

The 12 finalists include: Dzintra Dzenis (Austin, Texas), Doreen Fang (Los Angeles, Calif.), Alexis Hernandez (Clarksville, Ind.), Brianna Jenkins (Atlanta, Ga.), Aria Kagan (Hollywood, Fla.), Herb Mesa (Atlanta, Ga.), Serena Palumbo (New York, N.Y.), Tom Pizzica (San Francisco, Calif.), Aarti Sequeira (Los Angeles, Calif.), Darrell “DAS” Smith (Los Angeles, Calif.), Brad Sorenson (Austin, Texas) and Paul Young (Chicago, Ill.).

This season, the finalists travel to Los Angeles where they are put through the ringer to prove their culinary talent and impress the industry's biggest stars. Challenges include a crash-course in red-carpet glamour while catering a star-studded MGD 64 after-party with Grammy-winner Colbie Caillat, serving up savory dishes inspired by classic carnival sweets at the Santa Monica Pier, creating and operating lunch trucks on Venice Beach, and using Kellogg's ® breakfast cereals to cook dinner with breakfast. The contestants must also impress special guest stars Eva Longoria Parker and Todd English by illustrating an “emotion” through a dish at their restaurant, Beso.

Fans receive the "star" treatment online as plays host to live chats in the ‘Star Lounge’ during each premiere with Food Network hosts and special guests who also provide exclusive Vlogs, fan-favorite voting, robust behind-the-scenes photo galleries and video packages including sneak peeks, recaps, exit interviews and highlight clips from Cooking Channel’s after party series. Viewers are also served Bobby Flay’s “Take Two” recipe fixes in which he modifies a failed recipe from each challenge.

All season long, the finalists receive extra insight and encouragement from a host of guest stars including Wolfgang Puck, Paula Deen, Guy Fieri, Rachael Ray, Alton Brown, Duff Goldman, Ted Allen, Melissa d’Arabian, Grammy-winner Colbie Caillat, acclaimed chef Todd English and mega-star Eva Longoria Parker. The selection committee comprised of Bobby Flay and Food Network executives, Bob Tuschman (Senior Vice President, Programming and Production) and Susie Fogelson (Senior Vice President, Marketing, Creative Services & Brand Strategy), narrow the field down until the finale. The winner, revealed during the series finale on Sunday, August 15th at 9pm ET/PT, receives a six-episode show that premieres in August 2010. The Next Food Network Star is produced by CBS EYE too Productions.

· Next Food Network Star [Official Site]

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