The finalists will be featured in the new reality series, The Next Food Network Star, which begins production next week.
The youngest of the final eight is 24-year-old Brook Harlan, a wrestling coach and culinary arts teacher at a high school in Columbia, Missouri.
Although wrestling and food dont mix, Harlans qualifications are solid: He started cooking with his dad when he was eight, then began cooking for restaurants when he was in high school, and eventually went to the Culinary Institute of America in New York.
But Harlan says his edge over the competition is more about stage presence. In his words, If I can keep high school kids entertained for 90 minutes, then I can keep a TV audience entertained for 30 minutes.
The ultimate winner will be chosen by FoodNetwork.com visitors and will star in six episodes which will air in September.
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