Food Network Star 8 Cast Revealed

It’s just six weeks away, folks.  Season 8 of FNS kicks off May 13th and now we know who the fifteen wannabe TV chefs will be.  Meet the latest cast vying to be a Food Network Star.

Eric LeeEric Lee, 44, graduated from the Culinary Institute of America and UCLA, where he studied sociology. He currently lives in Petaluma, CA and has served as the executive chef for a winery for the past ten years. Eric loves to deconstruct and recreate classic dishes.

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

Malcolm MitchellMalcolm Mitchell, 41, pursued a culinary arts degree after spending four years in the Navy. He then realized that he could build a career doing what he loved. Malcolm lives in Waldorf, Md. and puts a healthy twist on his soulful recipes for private clients.

Michelle RagussisMichele Ragussis, 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 throughout the East Coast.

Nikki MartinNikki Martin, 31, was exposed to the restaurant world as a child attending food shows with her mom, where she sampled the food and learned about the industry. Nikki now owns a Los Angeles catering company focused on globally inspired dishes made with seasonal ingredients.

Josh LyonsAfter spending years in a rock band, Josh Lyons, 42, decided to go to culinary school to fuel his other passion: food. He worked at every level of the restaurant industry including waiter, busser, bartender, manager and line cook and now owns a sushi catering business in Jupiter, Fla.

Linkie MaraisLinkie Marais, 28, immigrated with her family from South Africa when she was 16 and now lives in North Attleborough, Mass. 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 JaraMartita Jara, 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 plus two semesters at culinary school, Martita lives in San Diego and cooks with loads of Latin flavor and lots of love.

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Phillip Ippy AionaPhillip “Ippy” Aiona, 23, is the executive chef for his family’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 LemoineYvan Lemoine, 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.

Cristie SchoenCristie Schoen, 35, grew up in a military family and often cooked for her brothers after school. During college, she studied abroad in Germany and discovered a love for European cooking. Now living in Marina Del Rey, Calif., Cristie loves to put a healthy spin on comfort food classics.

Emily EllenEmily Ellyn, 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 AllenJudson Allen, 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 flavors.

Justin WarnerJustin Warner, 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 DuncanMartie Duncan, “slightly over 30″, 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 currently runs her own party-planning business in Birmingham, Ala.

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Stuart is a celebrity chef, food activist and award-winning food writer. He penned the cookbooks Third Coast Cuisine: Recipes of the Gulf of Mexico, No Sides Needed: 34 Recipes To Simplify Life and Amigeauxs - Mexican/Creole Fusion Cuisine. He hosts two Internet cooking shows "Everyday Gourmet" and "Little Grill Big Flavor." His recipes have been featured in Current, Lagniappe, Southern Tailgater, The Kitchen Hotline and on the Cooking Channel.

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Stuart’s Honors & Awards
2015 1st Place Luck of the Irish Cook-off
2015 4th Place Downtown Cajun Cook-off
2015 2nd Place Fins' Wings & Chili Cook-off
2014 2015 4th Place LA Gumbo Cook-off
2012 Taste Award nominee for best chef (web)
2012 Finalist in the Safeway Next Chef Contest
2011 Taste Award Nominee for Little Grill Big Flavor
2011, 12 Member: Council of Media Tastemakers
2011 Judge: 29th Chef's of the Coast Cook-off
2011 Judge: Dauphin Island Wing Cook-off
2011 Cooking Channel Perfect 3 Recipe Finalist
2011 Judge: Dauphin Island Gumbo Cook-off
2011 Culinary Hall of Fame Member
2010 Tasty Awards Judge
2010 Judge: Bayou La Batre Gumbo Cook-off
2010 Gourmand World Cookbook Award Nominee
2010 Chef2Chef Top 10 Best Food Blogs
2010 Denay's Top 10 Best Food Blogs
2009 2nd Place Bay Area Food Bank Chef Challenge
2008 Tava: Discovery Contest Runner-up
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