Where Are Your Favorite Food Network Stars Now?
Foodies enjoy feasting their eyes on the delectable shows the Food Network has to offer — not to mention its lineup of top-notch chefs. Their shows–and dishes–have become welcome additions to kitchens all across America, by those who love to cook and those who love to eat. So take some thyme out of your day and read all about the Food Network stars. Find out where they came from, how they gained their stardom and where they’re headed next. Just a little warning: You might get hungry, so grab a snack and lettuce go! You can have your cake and eat it too.
1. Giada De Laurentiis – Everyday Italian
De Laurentiis studied to become a pastry chef at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris and later, after returning to the United States, became a professional chef. She hosted the show Giada at Home for a total of six seasons.
De Laurentiis also hosted Everyday Italian, her first series on Food Network. She currently owns a number of restaurants and has a line of cooking products that are carried at Target. The Italian-born chef is a regular guest on NBC’s Today Show and even founded her own catering business.
2. Rachael Ray – 30 Minute Meals
Rachael Ray is one of the best-known names in cooking. She got her start while working as a buyer for a gourmet market where she eventually started teaching people how to cook. Ray quickly caught the attention of a local TV station and was asked to do a show.
From there she landed a contract with Food Network and hosted her very own show called 30 Minute Meals. It ran for 11 seasons! Audiences loved her bubbly personality and her “quick and easy” style of cooking. Ray has published at least 27 cookbooks (it’s hard to keep count). These days you can find her on her talk show entitled the Rachael Ray Show, which is now in its 12th season.
3. Jamie Oliver – The Naked Chef
The super successful chef Jamie Oliver started his culinary career as a pastry chef at a London restaurant. His parents own a restaurant and as a kid he would help with the cooking. He eventually caught the attention of the BBC and became the naked chef we know today.
Oliver is known for his Food Network show The Naked Chef, though he reportedly was not thrilled with the title at first, seeing as he isn’t naked. The name actually refers to his style of stripped-down cooking. He’s written over 20 cookbooks and is currently Britain’s second best-selling author, after J.K. Rowling of course. Oh, and he was named sexiest chef alive by People magazine.
4. Bobby Flay – Grillin’ & Chillin
As a teenager, Bobby Flay worked in a number of restaurants and went on to earn a degree in culinary arts from the French Culinary Institute. He opened a number of restaurants then landed his first Food Network show called Grillin’ & Chillin.
In total, Flay has hosted a whopping 14 cooking shows and various specials on the Food Network and Cooking Channel. Now that’s a lot of air time. Through his cooking, he advocates healthy eating and exercise. He’s best known for his Mexican and Southwest cooking style.
5. Emeril Lagasse – The Essence of Emeril
Emeril Lagasse, like so many of the chefs here, grew up cooking and working in his family’s Portuguese bakery. After going to culinary school he eventually started opening his own restaurants and made his first TV appearance on the show Great Chefs on PBS.
Emeril then moved on to host his own show on Food Network, where he would record an astounding seven shows a day! That’s some work ethic. He is well known for his catchphrases “Bam!” and “kick it up a notch.” To this day, Emeril has created a veritable empire for himself which continues to bring in a reported $150 million annually. His most recent show was Emeril’s Florida, which was shown on The Cooking Channel.
6. Hannah Hart- I Hart Food
Hannah Hart stands out from the other chefs on this list in that she started her own cooking show on YouTube called My Drunk Kitchen. The show is a huge success and audiences around the globe tune in to watch the comedian cook, while drunk, without proper equipment and generally without all the needed ingredients. But that’s why we love her.
Hart’s success and likability caught the attention of the Food Network and she appeared on the show Food Network Star as a guest judge before getting her own show! Her series, entitled I Hart Food, premiered in 2017. She even published a parody self-help cookbook called My Drunk Kitchen: A Guide to Eating, Drinking, and Going with Your Gut. Watch out for Hannah Hart— who knows what she’ll do next?
7. Masaharu Morimoto – Iron Chef
Morimoto opened his own restaurant in Hiroshima but sold it to travel around the United States, which influenced his Japanese-fusion style of cooking. Next, he began cooking at the upscale restaurant for the Sony executive staff and their VIPs, as well as at an upscale Japanese restaurant before starting to appear on the Japanese cooking show Iron Chef.
Morimoto currently appears on Iron Chef America, a spin-off of the original Japanese show. He has opened numerous restaurants around the United States and has appeared as a guest judge on other cooking series, such as Hell’s Kitchen USA and Top Chef.
8. Sara Moulton – Cooking Live
Sara Moulton, a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, was the on-air food editor for Good Morning America before stepping into the spotlight herself. Moulton hosted her first cooking show on Food Network, called Cooking Live, for six years. That’s over 1,200 hours of air time!
Moulton then went on to host Sara’s Secrets, which ran through 2007, and more recently she hosted the shows Sara’s Weeknight Meals and Sara Moulton’s Everyday Family Dinners. Apart from her cooking shows, she has also published multiple cookbooks. The New York Times has called Moulton, “one of the nation’s most enduring recipe writers and cooking teachers…and a dean of food television and magazines.”
9. Paula Deen – Paula’s Home Cooking
Paula Deen is best known for her home southern style cooking and comfort foods. She opened her first restaurant in 1996 and rocketed into stardom with her Food Network show Paula’s Home Cooking. The show had 129 episodes during the course of its 10-year run and led to numerous spin-off cooking shows.
A civil lawsuit was filed against Deen in 2013 alleged that the Southern Cooking Queen committed acts of discrimination and racism. The lawsuit was eventually dropped and neither side paid out any money but the allegations severely damaged Deen’s career. Several of her endorsement deals, including with the Food Network, were canceled. She has bounced back since the incident and is now hosting two cooking shows on home shopping network Evine. She still owns a number of restaurants and has published 15 cookbooks.
10. Eddie Jackson -BBQ Blitz
Jackson started his professional career as a football cornerback, playing in the NFL for the Panthers, Dolphins, Patriots and Redskins. In a surprise move, he became a Food Network star. In 2013 he was a contestant on MasterChef, coming in eighth place.
Then in 2015 he competed and won the title of Food Network Star, earning himself his own show called BBQ Blitz. The show has also influenced a spin-off show, also hosted by Jackson, entitled Kids BBQ Championship. In the series, kids grill amazing recipes and compete for the prize of $10,000.
11. Ina Garten -Barefoot Contessa
It may surprise you to know that Ina Garten, also known as the Barefoot Contessa and show of the same name, used to be a White House staff member in the office of management and budget. That’s quite a drastic career change!
Garten is actually a self-taught chef, learning mostly from French and New England cookbooks. She was later mentored by the iconic Martha Stewart herself. Garten has turned herself into a household brand, selling cookbooks, magazine columns and convenience products. “My job in Washington was intellectually exciting and stimulating but it wasn’t me at all,” she later confessed.
12. Michael Symon – The Best Thing I Ever Ate
Prior to becoming a star chef, Symon was well known in the Cleveland restaurant scene, being named Cleveland’s Hottest Chef. He was the 2007 winner of the Food Network series Iron Chef and has since appeared on other shows such as, Food Feuds, The Best Thing I Ever Ate, and Cook Like an Iron Chef.
Symon got his start cooking as a teenager working at a place called Geppetto’s Pizza and Ribs (which sounds like a great food combo, by the way). He graduated from the Culinary Institute of America in 1990. Symon also co-hosts the ABC cooking-themed talk show, The Chew, which has run for over seven seasons.
13. Cat Cora – Iron Chef
Cat Cora broke new ground when she became the first ever female Iron Chef. She appeared on the hit show from 2005 to 2012. Currently, she is hosting The Best Thing I Ever Ate, Guy’s Grocery Games, and co-hosts Around the World in 80 Plates on Bravo.
Prior to Cat Cora’s success as a chef, she studied Exercise Physiology and Biology at the University of Southern Mississippi, then enrolled in culinary school. Both her father and grandfather owned restaurants and assisted her in her business plans when she started opening her own.
14. Melissa D’Arabian – Ten Dollar Dinners
Melissa D’Arabian learned her culinary techniques from her mother, who raised her alone and on a tight budget. She applied those same methods when raising her four children and eventually auditioned for the series, Next Food Network Star, coming in first place.
Coming off her win, she started her own Food Network show called Ten Dollar Dinners, teaching others how to make healthy, family-friendly recipes on a tight budget. That’s advice we could all use! She has also appeared on other series such as: The Best Thing I Ever Ate, Chopped, Food Network Challenge, and The Best Thing I Ever Made.
15. Guy Fieri –The Best Thing I Ever Ate
Guy Fieri, by mid-2010, was essentially the face of the entire Food Network. He has hosted and been on more cooking shows than we can even count. Currently, he hosts Guy’s Big Bite, Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, and Guy’s Grocery Games.
According to the New York Times, Fieri brings an “element of rowdy, mass-market culture to American food television”, adding that he “attracts more male viewers than any others on the network.” Fieri also owns multiple restaurants across the country.
16. Anthony Bourdain – A Cook’s Tour
Anthony Bourdain is one of the world’s most influential chefs. After graduating from culinary school he ran numerous restaurants in New York City, including being an executive chef at the high-end French restaurant Brasserie Les Halles. One of the chef’s books actually led to receiving his first TV show.
Bourdain’s book, Kitchen Confidential, prompted the Food Network to give him his own world-travel show called A Cook’s Tour. The success of the show led to a number of follow up shows such as Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations, The Layover and Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown.
17. Ree Drummond – The Pioneer Woman
Ree Drummond started her culinary career as a blogger in 2006. At first, the site was just about her life on the ranch and homeschooling, then a year later she posted a recipe and it proved to be the catalyst that started her journey to cooking stardom.
Drummond quickly became a food writer and started writing books. She appeared on an episode of Throwdown! With Bobby Flay after he challenged her to a face-off. Then she gained her own show on Food Network called The Pioneer Woman. What an amazing journey!
18. Tyler Florence – Food 911
Tyler Florence graduated from the College of Culinary Arts in Charleston and is best known for his Italian, American, and Tex-Mex cuisines. He has even become such a culinary success that he was given an honorary doctorate by his university.
Tyler has gone on to host the Food Network shows Food 911, How to Boil Water, Tyler’s Ultimate and The Great Food Truck Race. One of his most popular recipes is for chicken enchiladas, which has a near-perfect rating. He also holds the Guinness record for “longest grilling cookout.”
19. Adam Gertler – Kid in a Candy Store
Adam Gertler finished as runner-up in Season 4 of The Next Food Network Star but he certainly didn’t let that loss hold him back. He ended up getting his own show on the network called Will Work for Food. The series gave viewers a close look at the behind-the-scenes jobs that go into various food-related business.
The show aired for 13 episodes, before Gertler was picked up for another food series. His show Kid in a Candy Store follows him around the country on his “hunt to find the craziest desserts in the world of candy confections”. Yum!
20. Martha Stewart
Martha Stewart has never had her own Food Network show, even though the cooking and lifestyle queen starred in her own show on CBS, called Martha Stewart Living, for 13 years. She has made numerous guest appearances on different Food Network shows, and let’s face it: she is a star everywhere she goes.
Stewart heads her own media empire and has an estimated net worth of over $638 million. She currently co-hosts the hilarious cooking show Martha & Snoop’s Potluck Dinner Party, along with Snoop Dogg, one of her personal friends.
21. Duff Goldman – Ace of Cakes
Pastry chef and TV personality Duff Goldman got his start in baking as a teenager working a number of odd jobs. He honed his skills at the Culinary Institute of America at Greystone in California and in 2000, opened his own cake store called Charm City Cakes.
He first appeared on the Food Network as a competitor on Iron Chef and eventually got his own baking show. Among the shows he has hosted are Cake Masters, Ace of Cakes, Holiday Baking Championship, Worst Bakers in America and Dessert Games. He was once the Guinness Record title holder for baking the world’s largest cupcake.
22. Jeffrey Saad – The Next Food Network Star
Our next Food Network star was also a runner-up on the series The Next Food Network Star but on Season 5. Jeffrey Saad lost out to Melissa d’Arabian in the finale of the show and went on to host a web series for Food Network called Spice Smuggler.
In the series, he explored spices and foods from countries around the world. After that series ended, he moved over to the Cooking Channel to host United Tastes of America, exploring different cuisines throughout the United States. Saad also completed in Chopped All-Stars, finishing in second place.
23. Aarón Sanchez -Taco Trip
Sanchez got an early start in cooking by helping out at his mother’s restaurant, Café Marimba, in New York. At the ripe age of 16, he spent a summer in New Orleans working with celebrity chef Paul Prudhomme. His travels and early childhood in El Paso, Texas also helped shape his culinary style.
Sanchez’s cooking style is a blend of several kinds of cuisine: Cajun, Louisiana Creole, and Mexican. He went on to star in a number of different cooking shows, starting with Melting Pot on Food Network and Taco Trip on the Cooking Channel.
24. Aarti Sequeira – Aarti Party
Before Aarti became a world-renowned chef, she was actually a journalist. She worked as a news producer for CNN and started her own online cooking show in 2008 called Aarti Paarti. In 2010, Sequeira joined the sixth season of The Next Food Network Star.
Sequeira won the series and earned her own show, called Aarti Party. After the series ended, she went on to host Taste in Translation on the Cooking Channel where she explored the most popular dishes in the world, as well as their historical and cultural significance. Sequeira is now a recurring judge on Guy’s Grocery Games.
25. Damaris Phillips – Southern At Heart
Damaris Phillips won the ninth season of Food Network Star thanks in no small part to her amazing home-style Southern cooking. She now hosts her own show on the network called Southern at Heart. She can also be found co-hosting The Bobby and Damaris Show with Bobby Flay.
When asked why she decided to go to culinary school and not something else, she stated that she went because she “didn’t know what to do in life.” Well, it certainly looks like she made the right decision. The next Food Network star’s story will shock you.
26. Buddy Valastro – Cake Boss
Yes, we know that Cake Boss airs on TLC, but master cake maker Buddy Valastro has made appearances on plenty of Food Network shows. And how could we leave off such a great food celeb? He even had a cameo in the movie Bridesmaids.
The popular reality show Cake Boss has been on the air since 2010 and the show has released over 227 episodes to date! That’s pretty impressive for a series just about cake. The popularity of his show spurred Valastro to open a total of seven locations (at the moment) of his famous Carlo’s Bakery
27. Aaron McCargo Jr. – Big Daddy’s House
Aaron McCargo Jr. was the winner of Season 4 of The Next Food Network Star, just beating out fellow listmaker Adam Gertler for the title. His win landed him his own show on the network called Big Daddy’s House. And the show has been a hit!
Big Daddy’s House premiered in 2008, just one week after the finale of The Next Food Network Star hit airwaves and crowned him king of the kitchen. It’s still going strong to this day. CBS News has said that the chef “not only brings his passion for down-to-earth cooking to the kitchen, he brings a warm and inviting personality.” He refers to his style of cooking as “soul food.”
28. Geoffrey Zakarian – Iron Chef
Geoffrey Zakarian studied at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York and moved on to open multiple restaurants, become a TV personality, author and Iron Chef. Before he decided on becoming a chef, Zakarian earned a degree in economics from Worcester State University.
Zakarian has been a judge on the Food Network shows Chopped, Cutthroat Kitchen and Top Chef. He was also a challenger on Iron Chef America and won The Next Iron Chef. Zakarian is currently the co-host of The Kitchen, a cooking-themed talk show.
29. Robert Irvine – Worst Cooks in America
Robert Irvine started his culinary career in the British Royal Navy at the young age of 15 and his training took place on the Royal Yacht Britannia. Irvine is a big advocate of healthy eating and exercise, even starting his own line of healthy foods and a number of cookbooks on the subject.
Among his many popular cooking shows are Dinner: Impossible, Worst Cooks in America, and Operation Restaurant. More recently, Irvine has become the host of his own daytime talk show on The CW network, aptly called The Robert Irvine Show.
30. Sunny Anderson – The Kitchen
Before Sunny Anderson became a chef, she was a popular radio personality. Her first foray into the food industry began when she opened a catering company called Sunny’s Delicious Dishes and landed her first TV gig on the Food Network as a guest on the show Emeril Live.
In 2008 she got her own show called How’d That Get on My Plate where she explored the processes by which different foods are produced from beginning to end. Anderson also hosts Cooking for Real and co-hosts Gotta Get It. Apart from her Food Network staples, she also regularly appears as a guest on morning talk shows and news programs.
31. Marc Summers – Unwrapped
Marc Summers was a game show host prior to moving over to the Food Network. You may remember him sliming contestants on the Nickelodeon show Double Dare. On the Food Network, he is well known for the series Unwrapped, which was on the air for 10 years and filmed over 300 episodes.
On the show, Summers would travel the country and explore factories, giving viewers an inside look into how our food gets made. The show was focused toward candy, breakfast cereal, snacks and TV dinners. Most recently, Summers has been working as the executive producer for the Food Network shows Dinner Impossible and Restaurant Impossible.
32. Marcela Valladolid – Mexican Made Easy
Marcela attended numerous culinary schools in her early days before opening her own catering company. She also started out by teaching cooking classes out of her own home. Her first cooking show was actually a show on Discovery en Español called Relatos con Sabor (Stories with Flavor).
Marcela’s first Food Network show, called Mexican Made Easy, premiered in 2010. In the series she shares her traditional Mexican cooking in a simple way. She has also appeared on the Food Network shows, Throwdown! With Bobby Flay, Chopped, and The Kitchen.
33. Jeff Mauro – Sandwich King
Jeff Mauro is best known as the Sandwich King. Throughout Season 7 of Food Network Star he consistently concentrated on making all things sandwich. He won the competition and was given his own show, appropriately named Sandwich King.
Mauro’s comedy and likable personality won audiences over, despite some criticism that there just wasn’t enough sandwich content to fill an entire season of the show. He certainly proved them wrong! Mauro has also appeared on the food-themed talk show The Kitchen and in several Subway fast food restaurant ads.
34. Amy Finley – The Gourmet Next Door
Cook and writer Amy Finley won Season 3 of The Next Food Network Star and got her own show called The Gourmet Next Door. The show was about how simple it can be to cook like a gourmet chef in the comfort of your own home.
Only six episodes of the show were ever filmed because Finley canceled the rest of the season due to a family crisis. Some reports say that the stress of being a TV personality was too overwhelming for the chef. After living in France for a period of time, she eventually returned to the US and has appeared on an episode of Chopped.
35. Tom Pizzica – Outrageous Food
Tom Pizzica has a long history with working in the food industry. Since high school, he has been working in restaurant kitchens. When he was a kid he also helped his mother cook. He took his more-than-15-years of experience and got his own Food Network show.
He starred as the host of the Food Network show Outrageous Food in which, as its name suggests, he explored the world of outrageous foods. Pizzica was a contestant on Food Network Star’s sixth season, and even though he didn’t win, he won over the hearts of the viewers.
36. Justin Warner – Foodie Call
Celebrity chef Justin Warner actually has had no formal culinary training, making his win on Season 8 of Food Network Star all the more impressive. He was supposed to get his own show on Food Network as part of the reward but sadly it never came to fruition.
Warner also won 24 Hour Restaurant Battle alongside teammate J.J. Pyle, his then-girlfriend. He has also appeared on the shows Guy’s Grocery Games, Kitchen Nightmares and Cook vs. Cons. He currently has his own web-TV series and a YouTube cooking channel called Foodie Call.
37. Simon Majumdar – Iron Chef America
This British-born chef is a regular on Food Network, he has been a judge on the shows Iron Chef America, Cutthroat Kitchen, Beat Bobby Flay, All Star Academy, and The Next Iron Chef. Wow, that’s quite a lot of shows!
Majumdar became a professional chef late in life, at the age of 40. Prior to that, he worked as a book publisher and contributor to numerous British news outlets such as The Guardian, The Independent, and The Daily Mail. He is known for his love of Indian cuisine and is severely allergic to oysters and coffee.
38. Alexandra Guarnaschelli – Alex’s Day Off
Chef Alex made her first appearance on the Food Network when she challenged Cat Cora on the series Iron Chef America. Cat Cora won that challenge, though. She also competed in the fourth seasons of The Next Iron Chef, coming in as third runner-up.
After the show she was asked to become Iron Chef Geoffrey Zakarian’s sous chef, giving her professional career a jump start and landing her additional Food Network gigs. Guarnaschelli also hosted her own show on the Food Network called Alex’s Day Off. The show premiered in 2009 and lasted for three seasons.
39. Lenny McNab – Guy’s Grocery Games
Lenny McNab won the 10th season of Food Network Star, launching his professional TV cooking career—until the emergency brakes were pulled, that is. Just days after winning the prestigious title, news reports started pouring in over some of McNab’s blog posts which included racist, homophobic and misogynistic comments.
In the end, McNab never received his own show on the Food Network due to all the controversy and the network’s unwillingness to back him. These days he is reportedly trying to make it as a country singer, going by the name The Black Mamba.
40. Anne Burrell – Secrets Of a Restaurant Chef
Anne Burrell studied in multiple culinary schools, both in the United States and in Italy. Her big break, and first Food Network appearance, happened when Iron Chef Mario Batali took on Burrell as his sous chef. She remained on the show for the entirety of Batali’s tenure.
Following her stint on Iron Chef, Burrell earned her own show called Secrets Of a Restaurant Chef, and also appeared on The Best Thing I Ever Ate. She has been in a slew of other cooking shows as well as co-hosted Worst Cooks in America.
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