UCF Food Service instructor Emily Ellyn will soon have the opportunity to put her culinary knowledge to the ultimate test, when she competes on the upcoming 8th season of Food Network Star.

Ellyn, who is finishing up her Ph.D. at UCF’s Rosen College of Hospitality Management, will vie with 14 other talented hopefuls in the Food Network’s primetime hit series for the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to launch a culinary empire, including an exclusive feature in Food Network Star, a headline spot at the New York City Wine & Food Festival, and the contest’s ultimate prize: a show on the Food Network.

Ellyn, who grew up on a farm in Ohio, later studied at the Culinary Institute of America and Academie Internationale de Management in Paris. She also has worked in various restaurant positions.

Season 8, which begins with a two-hour episode at 9 p.m. Sunday, May 13, features a new hands-on format, as returning stars Bobby Flay and Giada De Laurentiis move from behind the judge’s table to square off with chef Alton Brown for a three-way team competition to find the next Food Network Star winner. Flay, De Laurentiis and Brown, all television producers in addition to being culinary superstars, lead the charge to find and develop the new talent by each hand-selecting a team of five finalists, who the leaders will mentor through the “Star” experience to find one winner who possesses personality and kitchen chops.

In the premiere episode, Ellyn and the other hopefuls arrive in the Food Network Star kitchen in New York City to meet their team leaders and compete in their first “Star Challenge.” Special guest Robert Irvine, from the network shows Restaurant: Impossible and Dinner: Impossible, will challenge the teams to create their own pop-up restaurant from the ground up, with an extremely limited budget and very little time.

Each episode also features a “Producer’s Challenge,” where the contestants up for elimination each shoot a segment with their “Star” mentor/producer to be presented to the selection committee in the “pitch room.” Returning judges, Food Network executives Bob Tuschman and Susie Fogelson, decide who stays and goes, along with a roster of guest judges scheduled to join.

The series culminates with a finale at 9 p.m. Sunday, July 22, when an unprecedented online audience vote will determine which finalist will become the winner

To learn more about Emily Ellyn, please click here.

For more information about the Food Network Star, please visit www.foodnetwork.com/star.