Southern At Heart
New show from Food Network Star Damaris Phillips set to hit Food Network in October
Kentucky native Damaris Phillips was a dark horse and underdog in Season Nine of Food Network Star, reduced to tears in an early episode, but quickly advancing to take the prize: her own show on Food Network.
She introduced herself in the premiere as “a total southern girl, being sweet and sassy all in one,” adding “I think of myself like a modern Paula Deen.” (Filming was completed long before the Deen implosion.) She told the judges “I can cook my ass off,” and lived up to it.
Phillips’ new series, Southern at Heart, will premiere Sunday October 27 at 10:30 am.
A culinary arts graduate of Jefferson Community and Technical College, she now teaches there, when she’s not filming.
What’s in Damaris Phillips’s fridge right now? We enjoyed a quick Q and A with her after her big win, and before the new show premieres on Food Network.
Tell us about your Favorite Kentucky food memory of all time:
When I moved out of my parents’ house, my mom gave me the one home necessity in her book, a cast iron skillet that she discovered at a second hand store. She re-seasoned it, and I was ready to cook everything from chicken to upside down cake. Similarly, my dad showed up at the apartment a few days later with a vintage orange juicer he found at a flea market. He made us fresh OJ on the weekends and was worried I wouldn’t get the vitamin C I needed. Now, these stories could have happened anywhere, but they just happen to take place in Kentucky because it’s my home.
Name Five Things in your Fridge right now:
Cheese! Lots and lots of cheese. Moody blue, midnight moon, sanatoria peppered cheese, apple smoked Gouda, aged Gouda, Parmesan, Brie, and good ole Monterey Jack. I also have peanut butter, sour cherry freezer jam, left over Thai take-out and celeriac. Pretty random, I know.
What would be on the Menu if you were given a choice for your Last Meal? (Who would cook it?)
Spaghetti with meat sauce and banana pudding! My family would cook it because I already make them every year for my birthday. I’m sure after 32 years they would say it’s the one meal they could go without for the rest of time!
Your favorite Culinary Hero?
My favorite Chef and mentor is Coby Ming, the executive chef at Harvest restaurant. She is talented, creative, hardworking, and incredibly knowledgeable, but the thing that makes her heroic is her dedication to teaching and encouraging new cooks and chefs. She is patient, kind, and generous. In the kitchen I have never seen a better, more reliable leader.
What’s the funniest thing that happened filming Food Network Star that did NOT make it on air?
During the product pitch everyone ended up lending a hand to Rodney to get his complex and creative packaging complete. It was a tornado of plastic wrap, pie dough, duct tape, and coat hangers. As you can imagine, it was a comically good time.
Southern at Heart will begin airing on October 27 on Food Network. Check local listings.
This article appears on page 5 of the October 10, 2013 print edition of Ace.