Meet the Home Cooks Competing in All-Star Academy

Get to know the 10 cooks who've joined All-Star Academy for a chance to be mentored by one of four renowned chefs and win $50,000.

Photo By: Anders Krusberg ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Anders Krusberg ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Anders Krusberg ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Anders Krusberg ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Anders Krusberg ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Anders Krusberg ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Anders Krusberg ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Anders Krusberg ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Anders Krusberg ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Anders Krusberg ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Anders Krusberg ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Anders Krusberg ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

The Nation's Top 10

These home cooks were chosen from among thousands of applicants to compete on All-Star Academy, where they will have the opportunity to be mentored by Alex Guarnaschelli, Bobby Flay, Curtis Stone or Michael Symon. Get to know each competitor's background and culinary point of view.

Angela George

Creative director and CEO of her own design company, Angela is out to prove that even a career-driven woman can still cook amazing meals at home. Angela travels the world searching for culinary inspiration and uses fresh and exotic ingredients to create memorable dishes.

August Dannehl

August enjoys traveling the world and eating at Michelin-starred restaurants. And he loves trying to re-create dishes he's sampled for his friends. Despite joining the Navy to pay for school, August is still in debt. Winning this competition would help him enter the next phase of his life.

Bill Joerger

Firefighter Bill has always loved to cook, but after an unexpected heart surgery at age 29, he stepped up his game. In bed for three months, all he did was watch Food Network. He is now the firehouse's resident cook. Winning this competition would help Bill save for his two daughters' college funds.

Joseph Harris

When he's not singing in church, you can find Joseph in the kitchen. Two years ago, Joseph's mother had a stroke and he put his dreams of a culinary career on hold to take care of her full time. Winning this competition would mean he could finally attend to his dreams.

Mike Castaneda

Mike, a soldier and father of two, is known across his Army base for his high-end dishes and molecular techniques. He can't stand the idea of getting a 9-to-5 office job after he's relieved from duty, so winning would mean he could follow his dreams and open up a food truck or a restaurant.

Mimi Chang

Mimi was raised by traditional Korean parents who believed cooking was a hobby, not a job. So to fulfill their American dreams, she went to law school. Now married with two kids and 17 years of experience as a head hunter at a law firm, Mimi is ready to follow her dreams and cook professionally.

Sharon Damante

Sharon loves experimenting with exotic ingredients and new techniques. Always passionate about food, she and her husband opened a gastropub in 2006, but their ill-timed dream was crushed in the recession and the couple lost their life savings. Winning the competition would mean security and validation.

Sherri Williams

Being an Army wife was a difficult road for Sherri, but cooking helped her through the hard times. She quit her job to pursue competitive cooking full time and hasn't looked back. In the past few years, Sherri has won more than 60 competitions, so she's more than ready to take on this one.

Thomas Mann

Thomas, a sculptor and jewelry artist, enjoys creating elaborate dinner events to entertain artist friends and family. Back in the day, he and his brother owned and operated a natural food store and juice bar. Food has always been very important for Thomas.

Vanessa Craig

When Vanessa's stepfather passed away, she lost her rock. Now she uses cooking as a way to honor his memory and get through tough times. Winning this competition would be the financial break her family needs to move forward.

More All-Star Academy

Go inside the competition with behind-the-scenes photo galleries, exclusive interviews with the mentors, battle highlights and more.

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