Season 9 Dictionary + The Dial of Doom

By: Sarah De Heer

Finalists Viet Pham, Chad Rosenthal, Connie "Chef Lovely" Jackson, Andres Guillama, Danushka Lysek, Damaris Phillips, Rodney Henry, Chris Hodgeson, Stacey Poon Kinney, Russell Jackson, Nikki Dinki and Daniela Perez Reyes facing Mentors Bobby Flay, Giada De Laurentiis and Alton Brown at the Mentor's Challenge "Pitch Tape" Reveal as seen on Food Network Star, Season 9.

Photo by: Eddy Chen ©2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Eddy Chen, 2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

The newest season of Star kicked off this past Sunday night, and along with 12 new contestants, there are a couple of new features added to the show that may be unfamiliar to fans. This handy little guide should help navigate you through the next 10 weeks of competition.

Challenges: This season there are two different challenges that can occur in each episode. If an episode includes a Mentor Challenge, that means Alton, Bobby and/or Giada will help guide the finalists through that day's events. The mentors will share their advice and raise any possible concerns they may have. After the Mentor Challenge, finalists will be faced with a Star Challenge. This can consist of cooking demonstrations or presenting to a focus group.

Finalists: This year the mentors are tasking 12 hopefuls with weekly challenges in the ultimate multi-month interview for the chance to earn their dream television job. The contestants bring with them a mix of backgrounds, including culinary school, restaurant management, private chef and food blogging.

Focus Group: New to Star this year, a group of ultimate Food Network fans and food enthusiasts will help the mentors decide who came out on top and on the bottom during the challenges. This group will also be the driving force behind the dials of doom (see below).

Food Star Kitchen: When the finalists aren't on location in and around Los Angeles, they'll be cooking and presenting in this space (see photo below).

Mentor-Judges: Alton, Bobby and Giada are back this year as both mentors and judges.

Network: The "network" includes Food Network executives Bob Tuschman and Susie Fogelson.

Pantry: Located in the Star Kitchen, it includes common items like spices, kitchen gadgets and serving pieces. Fun fact: There are 36 spices available to the finalists, and the most-used spices include red pepper flakes, garlic powder and chili powder (see photo below).

Stew Room: When the judges are deliberating about the top and bottom performers, the finalists gather in this room.

The Dial of Doom

What might be the most-exciting and nerve-wrecking addition to Star this season is the dial of doom. It records levels of like and dislike among the focus group, and then the mentors use those numbers to help formulate their decision for the top and bottom performers.

Keep Reading

Next Up

Happy Birthday, America! The Death of a Rib Eye, Lessons in Japanese and the Dials of Doom — Jeff's Star Report

Hear from Food Network Star, Season 7 winner Jeff Mauro as he breaks down the fourth episode in hilarious fashion.

Your Pre-Season Picks, Revealed

The Pre-Season Fan Vote tally is in! Team Giada’s finalists seemed to give the best first impressions, as they swept the top three.

Who's Your Favorite Star of the Season?

Twelve hopeful finalists have dreams of stardom, but only one will earn the title. Vote for your favorites up to 10 times per day here.

Share Your Early Season Rivalry Predictions

Star Talk wants to know: What are your early season rivalry predictions? Do you think they'll be game-changers?

Caption It: A Look Back at the Season’s Best Moments

Take a look back at the beginning of Food Network Star season eight and caption this early photo of Team Giada's Josh Lyons.

Food Network Star, Season 10: A Decade of Dreams

Tune in to the all-new season of Food Network Star with Alton Brown, Giada De Laurentiis and Bobby Flay every Sunday at 9|8c beginning June 1, 2014.

Coming This Summer: Food Network Star Season 9

Season 9 of Food Network Star is set to premiere on Sunday, June 2 at 9pm/8c on Food Network, with Alton Brown, Bobby Flay and Giada De Laurentiis as hosts.