Tuesday, June 2
Why did you decide to apply to be on The Next Food Network Star?
As a chef and dietitian, I am really passionate about bringing people back into the kitchen and sharing my knowledge living a healthy lifestyle. Having regular media opportunities in the Philadelphia area for the past several years (FOX, CBS, NBC) really sparked my interest in having my own cooking show. The more people I can reach with the information I have to share, the better!
Who are your chef / TV cooking star idols?
On Food Network, I like Alton Brown (because I enjoy food science), Giada (I am 100% Italian), Ina (I love using farm-to-table ingredients), and Bobby (because going into the show I was a huge fan and now, having met him I can truly say he is a great guy with a lot of talent and food knowledge). I also love Jamie Oliver and any chef who believes in the benefits of buying local, seasonal fare.
What does it take to be a great Food Network star?
Charisma, drive, knowledge, likability and a passion for food and teaching!
Did you feel prepared for the types of challenges you endured on the show? Anything in particular you struggled with?
The first challenge was exactly that, a challenge. It is not anything close to the kitchen environment I work in day to day running a personal chef business called Healthy Bites. We were forced to work in a team with people we had known a few hours (and were in competition with). We were cooking for huge stars and executives that we hoped to work with in the very near future.
I am super competitive, which I think has a lot to do with the fact that I was a gymnast for years. But all the culinary training in the world can’t prepare you for the challenges; they are meant to be tough, and they are – but really fun at the same time!
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 what I like to call “green cuisine,” which is all about eating healthy for our bodies and the planet. As a dietitian and chef, I am passionate about helping people achieve their healthy lifestyle goals. I am passionate about the benefits of buying local, seasonal, organic fare and how it impacts our health and carbon footprint. I think my culinary point of view is current, important and not currently represented on the network.
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?
In the first challenge, I was really excited to meet Bobby Flay, Bob Tuschman and Susie Fogelson because they can make or break my dreams! Meeting Alton Brown and talking nutrition was cool! Duff was great and hilarious! Morimoto is practically a legend, so it was an honor for him to taste and critique my food!
Apart from winning this competition, what goals do you have for the future?
I am determined to have my own show no matter the outcome of The Next Food Network Star. I want to continue to grow my business, Healthy Bites, and continue to help people achieve their healthy lifestyle goals! I would love to have a small organic grocery store and take out café, spokesperson products and companies I believe in, promote local farms, community supported agriculture programs and the benefits of organic, farm-to-table fare. The opportunities (and my dreams and aspirations) are endless…and very exciting!
Thanks to Katie for taking the time to answer my questions. Good luck on the show!