Meet the Restaurant Express, Season 1 Contestants

Get to know the nine contestants on Food Network's Restaurant Express who are embarking on a seven-week road trip with host Robert Irvine in the hopes of earning their own restaurant.
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Photo By: Jeremiah Alley ©2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Jeremiah Alley ©2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Jeremiah Alley ©2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Jeremiah Alley ©2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Jeremiah Alley ©2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Jeremiah Alley ©2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Jeremiah Alley ©2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Jeremiah Alley ©2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Jeremiah Alley ©2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Paul-Michael Carr ©Paul-Michael Carr

Adam Goldgell (St. James, N.Y.)

A longtime executive chef, Adam, 46, is ready to own his own eatery where he can design his own menu and cook the food he wants. A professional chef for more than 12 years, Adam takes a lot of pride in his work; when he cooks something, he's not satisfied unless someone tells him it's the best thing they have ever tasted.

Ameerah Watson (Atlanta)

A graduate of Le Cordon Bleu, Ameerah, 27, is a private chef and single mother who works multiple jobs to provide for her daughter. Owning her own restaurant would mean that Ameerah could pay tribute to her late brother and ultimately offer her daughter a bright future. Ameerah enjoys lighter Southern fare, but she also has a penchant for date night-designed meals.

Bianca Rose (Los Angeles)

After enduring several tragedies, Bianca, 35, decided to follow her longtime passion for cooking, and she is now a culinary school graduate and chef. Bianca is confident that with her desire and combined experience in business and the kitchen, she'll ultimately earn her own restaurant, a would-be tapas lounge.

Eric Gitenstein (Phoenix)

A chef who's ready to take the next step in his career, Eric, 30, is a supper club owner who believes his business practice and time in the kitchen will give him the tools to be successful in the competition. Eric hopes to own his own restaurant so he can make the final culinary decisions.

Jan Charles (Greeneville, Tenn.)

Jan, 44, is a home cook and longtime Food Network fan. In addition to providing for her own four children, she is now mother to her three nieces and nephews, and she hopes a restaurant would offer her new opportunities for financial growth.

Johnathan Hurley (Los Angeles)

A brain injury took away the ability to taste and smell from Army veteran Johnathan, 31, who enrolled in culinary school before some of his sensory perceptions started coming back to him. He specializes in elegant meals — ones that he promises are far from bland — and hopes to open a fine-dining restaurant.

Kimmy Moy (Las Vegas)

After a devastating car accident left her unable to work, Kimmy, 46, closed her restaurant in Cincinnati before moving to Las Vegas. She's the daughter of a master chef and now works as a waitress, a job that leaves her unfulfilled. Kimmy knows that opening another restaurant is what she needs to once again feel complete.

Patrick Ruocco (Danville, Va.)

A private chef, Patrick, 34, moved from Los Angeles to his hometown of Danville to run his own restaurant, but right before opening, his business associate stole his life savings. He's eager to leave small-town America for the big city and provide for his family with his own eatery.

Seonkyoung Longest (Columbus, Miss.)

Born and raised in South Korea, Seonkyoung, 29, grew up working in her family's restaurant before moving to Mississippi. She used Food Network as a means of adjusting to life in the United States, and it even helped her learn English. Seonkyoung is a home cook who's passionate about Asian-inspired dishes featuring signature spiciness.

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