Fresh off of her summer win on Food Network Star, Season 9, Damaris Phillips is already in the kitchen preparing for her first-ever series, Southern at Heart (premiering Sunday, Oct. 27 at 10:30am/9:30c). This Kentucky-born culinary school instructor wooed Star fans with a Southern-inspired pilot focusing on classic and approachable date-night dishes, and on her upcoming show, she’ll deliver a similar concept and more down-home meals — all served alongside her trademark wit and humor.
FN Dish caught up with Damaris this month and chatted with the new star about her plans for her series, her favorite upcoming episodes and how Food Network Star prepared her for this upcoming venture. Read on below to get a sneak peek at Southern at Heart from Damaris, then browse behind-the-scenes photos of Damaris on the town in Louisville. Ky.
What are you especially excited about for your new series?
Damaris Phillips: I’m so excited about my guests. So, they’re real guys and they don’t know how to cook, and they have real stories about girls that they love, so that for me is the most exciting.
What kinds of show themes can people expect?
DP: The Thanksgiving adjacent episode, I’m pumped about. There’s ketchup, there’s meatloaf, there’s greens, there’s mashed potatoes, but all done in a way that I think is my voice, and so I love it …. It’s a perfect Thanksgiving for if you’re away from your family. Like if you’re away from your family and it’s just you and your partner, or you’re like having a few friends over, it’s the perfect meal, I think for that.
What do you hope the show teaches people?
DP: I hope the show teaches people about the South a little bit, like that the South is not just fried foods and meat, that there’s a lot of real sophistication and lots of veggies, you know, new palates. That’s what I hope; that people are introduced to what the South really looks like instead of how we get stereotyped.
What was the experience like taping your first show?
DP: Crazy. I really loved the second that I realized that they were not going to let me look stupid, that the people behind the camera were far more experienced and probably more talented at their jobs than I was … Watching them and knowing that it was going to … look beautiful and that I was going to seem …. great. It was exciting …. Nobody here wants me to fail, which is much different than a competition show.
What’s more difficult: A Food Network Star challenge, filming your pilot on Star or filming Southern at Heart?
DP: Star challenge, without question, every single time. It freaks me out. I am not a competitive person. Like, I’m competitive with myself, but trying to look for weakness in others so that I will hopefully do well hurts my soul.
How did Star prepare you for filming and hosting your own show?
DP: Because I messed up a lot [on Food Network Star] and I was not super-polished, I think that Star just prepared me because at some point you really do just have to be yourself. So coming into the show I realized that what I really want is me, so I was excited about the opportunity to show who I actually am and not just … a caricature of who I am.
Click on the photo below to browse behind-the-scenes snapshots of Damaris around the town in Louisville, Ky.