Meet the Food Network Star, Season 13 Finalists

Get to know the 12 hopeful rivals vying for the coveted title of Food Network Star.

Photo By: Eddy Chen

Photo By: Eddy Chen

Photo By: Eddy Chen

Photo By: Eddy Chen

Photo By: Eddy Chen

Photo By: Eddy Chen

Photo By: Eddy Chen

Photo By: Eddy Chen

Photo By: Eddy Chen

Photo By: Eddy Chen

Photo By: Eddy Chen

Photo By: Eddy Chen

Photo By: Eddy Chen

12 Faces to Remember

These hopeful finalists are set to begin the ultimate job interview. Get to know their professional histories and their styles in the kitchen.

Addie Gundry (Lake Forest, Illinois)

Addie, 30, has always been book smart and driven. The valedictorian of her culinary school, Addie has built an impressive resume at such a young age, including stints working for iconic names such as Daniel Boulud, Thomas Keller and Martha Stewart. She is currently the culinary director for a lifestyle publishing company, in addition to publishing her own food blog and cookbooks focusing on easy, elegant and entertaining dishes. Proud of the accomplishments she has made, Addie is ready for her next challenge — being a Food Network Star!

Amy Pottinger (Honolulu)

As a mom to two young children and two dogs, Amy, 32, is used to life being hectic. But besides keeping her house in order, Amy also loves to cook gourmet meals, along with running a culinary blog. Being self-trained, Amy has worked in restaurants since she was a teenager and has previously worked at a catering company. She specializes in elevating everyday foods. 

Blake Baldwin (Flemington, New Jersey)

An outdoor enthusiast, Blake, 30, was overweight after leaving college to start a career in Los Angeles. After realizing he needed to make a lifestyle change, Blake began taking his favorite recipes from childhood and transforming them into healthier versions. Blake eventually lost 50 pounds and gained the attention of his blogger colleagues. Now a senior manager at a digital marketing agency, Blake has previously attended the Institute of Culinary Education and assisted the executive sous chef of Per Se.

Caodan Tran (Dallas)

Caodan, 29, didn’t learn to cook until it became a life necessity as an adult. Raised in an ultra-competitive family, Caodan realized that cooking was the best way to learn about a culture without traveling. Caodan currently owns a personal chef service, doing everything from pop-up dinners to private dinner parties. Known for her fresh, clean and simple approach to modern Vietnamese cuisine, Caodan considers herself hyper-ambitious and strong headed in a good way.  

Cory Bahr (Monroe, Louisiana)

Growing up in a small town in Louisiana, Cory, 40, inherited a passion for the great outdoors and cooking. At 16, Cory discovered his love for cooking while taking a job waiting tables, and he has been in the restaurant industry ever since. Named the “King of Louisiana Seafood” in 2011, Cory is a restauranteur, private chef and owner of a catering company, and he has been named Food & Wine’s “People’s Best New Chef.” No one can resist Cory’s Southern charm, or his cooking!

David Rose (Atlanta)

Growing up the youngest of eight siblings, David, 35, learned the love of food at an early age. A graduate of Le Cordon Bleu, David can make refined and beautiful dishes, creating a fusion of Southern, French, Asian and Caribbean cuisines. Currently the owner of a special events, catering and culinary consulting company, David is also a food columnist and is an avid motorcycle rider who goes by “The Biker Chef.”

Jason Smith (Grayson, Kentucky)

From his bright and vibrant outfits to his off-the-cuff sayings, Jason, 39, describes himself as the down-home chef. A school cafeteria cooking manager and caterer, Jason has been cooking his entire life, with his modern, elevated recipes not only tasting delicious, but also being budget friendly. A self-taught chef and baker who previously competed on and won Food Network’s Holiday Baking Championship, Jason shows viewers you don’t have to be a professional chef to cook delicious food.

Nancy Manlove (Texas City, Texas)

Known among her family and friends for her abundance of energy, Nancy, 65, can lighten up any room. After previously working for NASA, Nancy decided a career change was in order and went back to school to receive her culinary arts degree. Having won food competitions and currently the chef de cuisine at a farm-to-table restaurant, Nancy wants to get cooks of all ages into the kitchen and prove that you are never too late to follow your dreams.

Rusty Hamlin (Atlanta)

Rusty’s love of food started as a child, soaking up Cajun flavors in Louisiana. A Culinary Arts Institute of Louisiana graduate and a Georgia resident, Rusty’s cooking is rooted in Southern flavor. As the executive chef for three-time Grammy Award-winning Zac Brown Band and executive chef and owner of a restaurant in Smyrna, Georgia, Rusty, 42, truly does it all. Although he is known for his big-hearted personality and making those around him laugh, Rusty will show just how serious he is to be the next Food Network Star.

Suzanne Lossia (Detroit)

Suzanne, 42, is a first-generation Chaldean-American born and raised in Detroit. Growing up the only girl among four children, Suzanne participated in all the family cooking starting at the age of 10. This single mother of two loves to entertain and bring friends together for all occasions with her Middle Eastern dishes. Suzanne is an author, operates a charity and was previously a winner on Food Network’s Cutthroat Kitchen.  

Toya Boudy (New Orleans)

A personal chef and mother of three, Toya, 34, exemplifies her native city of New Orleans, not just through her Cajun and Creole cuisine, but with her zest for life and personality. Growing up surrounded by parents who cooked traditional New Orleans food, Toya started practicing in the kitchen by the age of eight and was previously a culinary instructor at a local cooking school. From her deep-fried catfish to her bananas foster with fried cake and ice cream, this firecracker of a chef empowers viewers to have fun with their food.

Trace Barnett (Brilliant, Alabama)

Known for his Southern twist on deliciously quick and easy recipes, Trace, 27, holds a degree in food and nutrition from the University of Alabama. Working as an event planner, Trace handles everything from intimate dinners for two to exuberant weddings for hundreds. Trace is also the founder of a culinary and lifestyle blog, and he teaches online cooking classes. Trace’s mission is to make cooking and entertaining accessible to the masses.

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