Tuesday, June 9
Why did you decide to apply to be on The Next Food Network Star?
Hosting my own show has always been a dream of mine. Becoming a cooking show host is an obvious gig for me because it combines some of my favorite things—cooking, entertaining, and teaching.
Who are your chef / TV cooking star idols?
I remember growing up watching Justin Wilson, the Cajun Cook. I loved how he had great stories, good food, and a glass of wine with every recipe. He has always been one of my “old school” favorite cooks. I also like watching Giada De Laurentiis cook. She has an amazing way of describing food and bringing it to life. She has mastered the art of making your mouth water.
What does it take to be a great Food Network star?
Although good cooking is a vast part of being a Food Network star, the job requires many other attributes such as having a unique style in the kitchen, engaging audiences, and projecting a warm and charming personality.
Did you feel prepared for the types of challenges you endured on the show? Anything in particular you struggled with?
I felt as prepared as I possibly could be based on the fact that all of the challenges were a total surprise. You can’t really prepare for the unknown. Nevertheless, I am a chef, and a true chef knows how to react at a moment's notice to change plans and be creative. I feel I did my best in illustrating that. The hardest part from me was being away from my boyfriend, family, and friends. They are my true support system that I always turn to; but during this experience I only had myself to rely on. This experience surely made me a stronger person.
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 point of view is all about cooking with style—making the ordinary look and taste fabulous! So many people just throw their food on a plate and eat. I encourage and teach people how to dress things up with various textures, colors, and flare. A plate is a canvas to create tasteful art, and I bring bold flavors with a chic approach to food and entertaining. I’m all about the fabulous!
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?
I was excited to meet Alton Brown because his lives in my home city of Atlanta, Ga. I also was honored to meet Chef Morimoto. He is a culinary icon. Most of all, I was so stoked to meet Bobby Flay. I made it a personal challenge to wow his palate and earn his respect as a chef.
Apart from winning this competition, what goals do you have for the future?
I love entertaining and inspiring people. Whatever I do in the future will be along those lines. I am open to whatever opportunities come my way in or outside of the kitchen. Cooking is just one of my many talents, so I am excited to show the world all that I have to offer.