Damaris Dishes on What’s at the Heart of Her Upcoming Series

by in Food Network Chef, Shows, October 15th, 2013

Damaris PhillipsFresh 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.

Southern at HeartWhat 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.

Damaris Phillips

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Comments (67)

  1. Jen says:

    I can't WAIT for Damaris's show! She's a breath of fresh air. I hope FN doesn't mess with her too much.

    • James in Wa. state says:

      Preach it, Jen. So true! Right you are. I am so sick of pink hair, mohawks and gawd-awful tattoos on so many cooks. Look at the pic above. No comparison! If more people had someone at home like that cooking for them, who was a wonderful cook (and they will get better, watching Southern at Heart) there would be alot more connecting-couples, more good food, and people might actually talk to each other! Imagine that. Damaris really is a breath of fresh air. May all her fans stay loyal, far beyond just the 1st show.

  2. Jamie says:

    Where can I get that apron?!? So beautiful!

  3. Layale says:

    I was thinking the same thing!

  4. Crouton40 says:

    Sooo happy for Damaris! When you watch a season of Food Network Star, and pick your favorite (Damaris was my season 9 favorite), and root for them on the FNS Blog (with specific reasons), and hope others agree with you, and then most of them do, and America votes her the Winner….you bet I'm enthusiastic. All her hard work is paying off.

    I agree with Jamie, above: Pretty Apron. I agree with Jen, above: Damaris is a breath of fresh air. And while I have always said I want to respect -any- cooks ability & personality first (I still do), I must say, that first pic of Damaris, above, is very pretty. Combine that with her cooking ability, and could Kentucky possibly be represented any better than that? I think may other men (and women) will agree. Damaris mentions above that she "really loved the second that I realized that they were not going to let me look stupid"…..she's right. They won't. They didn't. The pics above and the Thumbnail ones, too, are proof of that.

    Glad to read this interview with Marie Russo. It's a good one.
    It'll be fun to see Damaris teach us about the South, her way. And that it isn't just fried foods. What is the growing season like? And Louisville. Looking forward to her episode near Thanksgiving, and all of her shows. Will also be fun to see couples really liking her recipes. I have already read from her Fans loving her Pimento cheese, and Biscuits and Pork. No doubt there are many more great recipes where those came from.

    Another good thing I see is the older gentleman with her in the 2nd pic. Glad to see that she will be cooking with various age-groups. And build people's confidence. And show 'em good techniques.
    Also, just saw the new commercial for "Southern at Heart" on TV. Chef Phillips looks genuinely happy doing what she loves to do! She's outgoing –and a very accomplished cook. Her food has always looked appetizing and had great flavors. So good to see all of this today. I think we're all in for a very good show and that she will be a huge hit with the audience. For years to come. :)

  5. Kelli says:

    Looking forward to it!

  6. Mike says:

    Gorgeous hair. It's always so clean looking.

  7. Penelope says:

    Good Luck, Damaris. You were my favorite from the get-go – warts and all. They made you human and appealing.

  8. Karen says:

    This Southern Lady has it together. Beats culinary-sins or pie-style every day of the week.

    • Dee says:

      She certainly does. The Network can take pride in their new winner. Beautiful smile and down to earth. Can't wait to see her. Love that Apron she has.

    • Sharon says:

      Perfect look. This is what FNS should be aiming for in future seasons. Thank God she isn't some grunge-girl with vampire eyes and ripped out jeans. Phillips is going to be a big help to many viewers wanting to cook better.

    • Mark says:

      I want to see the headline and the story from a Kentucky newspaper after her first show airs.

  9. Guest says:

    Best Thumbnail Pics of Damaris:
    #1, for Eyes
    #3, for Hair
    #8, looks happy http://www.foodnetwork.com/shows/damaris-phillips

  10. Joe says:

    Excited for this show but hoping it will be inclusive and feature gay couples, not just straight couples. Some of us gays need help in the kitchen too!

    • guest says:

      Stop with the activism. Anyone can use her teaching. Everyone is automatically included by default. Believe you are. Because you are.

    • Gali says:

      If they don't you will sue her I'm sure.

      • Joe says:

        Not activism, and not going to sue. Put down your pitchforks. Of course I'm excited for the show and so happy Damaris won. Just commenting that it'd be interesting, perhaps in a future season, if the premise expanded beyond straight guys. I'm sure some ladies (straight or otherwise) could also use her help.

        • guest says:

          Quit acting like you're not included. The show is already expanded because everyone can use it. I'm white. If Damaris ever has a Hispanic guest, should I feel left out and not included on that show? No! I can use what is taught anyway. So can you. Neither Damaris nor the Food network should need 50 lawyers just so a cook and come to work and do their job. Pretty soon, some minority transvestite living in Greenland will feel "oppressed" and threaten to sue for not being on the show. Enough!!! You might as well say that because Damaris doesn't do a show speaking Russian that they are left out. Again, not true.

          • Joe says:

            Never even said I felt "left out" or oppressed. You are putting words into my mouth. Get out more please — BTW, no one even says "transvestite" anymore. Was just offering a thought on where I hope the show develops in the future, my fingers are crossed for a big one for Damaris on Food Network.

    • Elan says:

      Need help? Watch her show. If I need help I will watch her show, too. I don't need to be on it, to get it. Just another person trying to make an issue where there is no issue.

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