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Who is the Food Network Addict? He's the guy serving up the latest news and gossip on your favorite celebrity chefs. From Rachael Ray to Ina Garten, Paula Deen to Giada, he's got you covered. Stop by daily and feed your addiction.

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Wednesday, June 3

7 Questions for Debbie Lee - Next Food Network Star Contestant

The season 5 premiere of The Next Food Network Star is this Sunday, June 7 at 9pm ET. All this week, Food Network Addict will be featuring mini, 7-question interviews done with each of the contestants.


Why did you decide to apply to be on The Next Food Network Star?
I thought it would be a great platform to tell my story on a plate. A good friend of mine had encouraged me to go to the casting call. Before I knew it I made it to the top 10!

Who are your chef/TV cooking star idols?
Definitely Paula Deen. She's my hero! I also love Bobby flay, Morimoto and Michael Symon. I could watch them cook all day.

What does it take to be a great Food Network star?
A unique culinary point of view, dynamic personality, and a great story to share with the world.

Did you feel prepared for the types of challenges you endured on the show? Anything in particular you struggled with?
In some ways yes, but you are in the heat of the moment and things change. If I were to redo anything, I would have probably rethought my dessert choices.

The need to have a clearly defined culinary point of view is brought up again and again by the judges. What’s yours and how is it different from what we've seen before?
My culinary view is my journey as a young girl and finding myself through my two cultural influences. Basically it's about a Korean-American girl growing up on southern food while eating kimchee. Hence my point of view is "Seoul to soul"!

You were judged by lots of Food Network stars over the course of the show. Which star(s) were you most excited to meet and why?
Gosh, where do I begin? All of them amazed me. I have to say the ones that excited me (other than Bobby of course) was Giada and Morimoto.

Apart from winning this competition, what goals do you have for the future?
I plan to continue to share my story on a plate through various mediums to reach the public. I am in the process of opening my own restaurant on Los Angeles, and plan to do several community appearances to keep the Seoul to soul energy going. I know that America will relate to my background and learn that when it comes to our differences, there are none at the dining table!


Thanks Debbie!

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At 6/03/2009 10:48 AM , Blogger Angie said...

Hmm...not sure how I feel about this one. Paula Deen is one of her idols? I'm gonna go out on a limb and say she didn't make it very far in the competition.

At 6/03/2009 11:25 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Excuse me, but doesn't Margaret Cho have an unfair advantage over the other contestants, having a semi-successful comedy and TV career already? I can see through your ruse, FN!!

At 6/03/2009 11:59 AM , Anonymous TEN said...


The text under these headlines sort of implies that you either asked the contestants these questions or they were asked on your behalf. Was that the case, or are you just repackaging material from FN or others?

At 6/03/2009 12:15 PM , Blogger jacob said...

They were my questions, asked and answered via email since we didn't have time to do individual phone interviews with each of them.

At 6/03/2009 12:58 PM , Blogger Noah said...

The phrase "unique culinary point of view" makes me shart.

At 6/03/2009 1:39 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Agree if Paula is her hero she HAS to go!

At 6/03/2009 4:20 PM , Blogger ChristopherM said...

@ Anonymous 11:25 AM:

Yeah, because all Asians look alike. Douchebag.

At 6/03/2009 4:25 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Paula answer made me cringe too.

At 6/03/2009 4:30 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

"story on a plate" she said that twice. Annoying me already.

I'm looking forward to watching though. There has to be some better contestants.

At 6/03/2009 4:34 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...


Perhaps you haven't seen the show. The best thing about it is that there are no better contestants. They're all total head-cases. It's like driving b a car crash you can't help but look.

At 6/03/2009 7:40 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Chris M - "wah wah wah... I'm the defender of political correctness everywhere." - go plant a tree and adopt a Malawian if you have no sense of humor.

At 6/03/2009 10:22 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

What 7:40 said.

Actually Asians think that Europeans all look alike. Can a Korean can tell the difference between a Norwegian and a German. Why is not making that distinction ok?

At 6/03/2009 10:54 PM , Blogger ChristopherM said...

I love it when racist asshats use some phony idea of political correctness as an excuse to spew their crap when they get called on it.

@10:22, you are comparing race and nationality, which are two entirely separate things.

At 6/04/2009 8:02 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...


No. But please go ahead describe your theory. But given your previous statements my guess is you have no idea how, or even the ability, to back up you silly little arguments.

You started this political correctness crap. Lets see where you go with it.

At 6/04/2009 12:14 PM , Anonymous Mike said...

In Chris' world, no one is allowed to resemble anyone famous, regardless of race or creed. The mere suggestion of such is grounds for foul language and ridiculous accusation. Work out your issues on your own time, honey.

At 6/04/2009 4:29 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Chris are you saying it's wrong for a Scandinavian to say Asians look alike. But it is okay for Asians to say all Scandinavians look alike?

At 6/29/2009 12:45 AM , Blogger Hummingbird Appetite said...

When I saw a Korean-American on the Food Network Star, I was excited- a person of my same ethnic background is on national television. But, the more I watch the show, the more I realize she's passing herself off as an expert on Korean food when she gets things wrong. For example, in one episode, she talks about having a spicy bean paste or gochu jang mayonnaise for her Korean-marinated burger. There are no beans in gochu jang. It's red pepper paste. I don't speak Korean either, but if she's going to speak it, her pronunciation has to me dead-on.

At 6/29/2009 12:00 PM , Blogger Hummingbird Appetite said...

I'd like to correct myself. I looked at my jar of gochujang in my fridge. There are fermented soy beans in the paste. Gochujang can be called a "spicy bean paste," like Debbie Lee said. But, the condiment is known as fermented red pepper paste on the label.

Still, I have mixed feelings about Debbie.

At 8/02/2009 1:51 AM , Blogger Stephen said...

First of all let’s face the fact that Debbie Lee has a serious character flaw despite what how tearfully she’d disagree. Instead of admitting faults she finds excuses for her mistakes. She can’t cook Korean food worth crap, her Korean is terrible (mind you it’s simple words not even sentences), and she plays the race card for being Korean. I am Korean and I was completely pissed off…I have truly been waiting for an Asian show-host but this fake person was NOT it. I am so glad Bobby Flay saw right through her BS. From her not owning up to the Miami party as kitchen manager, saying she actually used the capers, and then saying that Koreans like to eat their meat “tough”. GALBI-JJIM IS NOT TOUGH DEBBIE LEE. It is slow cooked Galbi that literally falls off the bones. I have an American friend who I introduced Korean BBQ to and he couldn’t even eat it because he considered it too “fatty” and “tender”. Debbie’s justification for that horrifying excuse for her Galbi-jjim made it seem like Koreans were like cavemen “Gnawing” rubber-meat.

Debbie Lee you were the WORST representation for a Korean-American on National TV. Please gain some morals in your life and realize that usually those who admit their faults and weaknesses are more respected than those who try to create a lame excuse for everything. But then along with your “I’m Korean” rant you frequently stated that you wouldn’t feel bad about your mistakes. Yea but neither should you lie and pretend it never happened.

I never thought I would actually cheer against a Korean-American Food Network Star contender.

As stated earlier, she lied about her Galbi-Jjim. That or my family cookin, Korean restaurant experience in Korea, LA, anywhere I live of my favorite Korean dish are all wrong. The fact is that you can’t make 갈비찜 in an hour. It is like Korean pot-roast. To this statement I can say I may be incorrect, but I’m not a cook; neither is Debbie. Americans are much more likely to eat “tougher” meat than Koreans. It only adds to the fact that she is a complete liar and will do anything to get out of the negative spotlight. The irony, of course, being that she has permanently placed herself in one through her mendacious personality.

As many have stated, the only reason you repeatedly attest to the fact that you are Korean is purely because you can’t cook Korean. Let me give you a hint Debbie, most people find race-card playing extremely annoying. Use your talent as your credibility, not your race. If you have a special cultural background that makes your food unique, show it on the plate, not through your trash verbiage.


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