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 (65)

  1. Reader says:

    Just in case you may have missed the earlier Blog discussion, here it is. You'll see why so many people like Chef Damaris Phillips. – http://blog.foodnetwork.com/star-talk/2013/08/11/

  2. Hope Livingood says:

    This piece is very poorly written, just like Damaris! I was not at impressed with her "actitude" on the Foodstar show, especially her pilot. Nikki Dinki should have won hands down. Damaris is just the southern stand in for Food Network's loss of seasoned and classy Paula Dean.

    • James says:

      Chef Phillips knows much more about food than Nikki. Nikki was good but Damaris is a better cook. In the Auction challenge, one of the judges said: we liked her more, the more we talked to her (Damaris). Nothing at all about being phony.

      There's no acting. If there was, Bob Tuschman, Alton, everybody really, would have immediately called her out and "busted" her on it. They didn't. It was said, that they appreciated how GENUINE Damaris is. Those top execs would know. They've seen it all. They can spot a pretender.

      Paula was good but Damaris is very talented in her own right. Did Paula ever go to culinary school? Her cooking is more unhealthy than Damaris's.

      Damaris has her own recipes, style and know-how. I'm sure will we see plenty of hearty Southern flavor, even dishes with butter, gravy, sauces and "all the fixin's". Good for her!
      But she is her own Chef. And a darn good one.
      Read through the discussion that Reader posted, below. Notice that so many, many of the positive posts for Damaris have, like, +12 or more…and many posts that are unfavorable have like -22. Clearly, they felt she was the best candidate. And they said so.

      • Ashley says:

        I hope you're right. We could all be a little healthier but I don't want to see her show become the veggie show Nikki would have done or to be taken over by the fitness guru's. That's not what the public voted for. It is enough to simply not use a whole pitcher of heavy cream or a half-sack of sugar. Southern has a wide range and I want it all. Flavor matters.

        • geri says:

          I agree. Let Damaris be herself. People voted for her because they like her as she is and for her cooking. Too bad she is being paired up with that Justin at the New York food festival. The sooner he's gone the better. I don't get what people ever saw in him.

      • Brenda says:

        Nikki was too much commentator, not enough Cook. She needed better consistency in her cooking. She speaks well but you can't just talk your way to winning.

  3. @SicilyYoder says:

    Come on folks, she is a culinary instructor, and I'm NOT taking up for her just because I do cooking shows, am a #1 best-selling cookbook author and live in Kentucky. It takes a lot to be a culinary instructor, and I feel like they are the most qualified to lead a cooking show. And she is a Phillips, a VERY good name. Louisville is known for Sullivan University's culinary school. Brigitte Nguyen is a Sullivan graduate and has a wonderful show on The Cooking Channel.

    • the Owl says:

      Well-said. It's one thing to even have been a culinary student. It takes even more skill to be a competent teacher. Damaris has done that. She has a broad knowledge of food. She knows southern. And pickling. And cakes/baking. Beans. Grains. Fruits. Veggies. And who knows what else? Go Damaris! I am not from Kentucky or even the south. But I feel completely confident that Phillips knows what she's doing and is someone we can learn alot from. Many people will become markedly better cooks through her.

      It would not surprise me one bit if Damaris tangibly helped both Education, and the Louisville economy. How? By boosted enrollment in Culinary at Jefferson Community & Technical College. Think of it– if I were a student, how kewl it would be, to learn from a teacher who is on the Food Network.
      How did Damaris get there? Competence, communication and personality. And America saw it and voted for it. A wise decision.

      • @SicilyYoder says:

        I totally agree. She won, so she should have her contract, and people should give her a chance. I've sat and watched those competitions, and I've ran very busy bakeries, but I would no way enter one of those shows. They are intense. The ones who do the best in competitions are the real chefs. Chef Phillips is more than trained; she is a teacher in culinary arts.
        Now, I love Paula Deen, too, and I miss her. I was selling Land O' Lakes and Alouette Dairy products and handing out recipes in Kroger stores many years ago, promoting butter.
        I just think they are attacking Chef Phillips for no reason at all. She had nothing to do with Paula Deen's long-time contract with Food Network.

    • @hallkarla says:

      Correction – she is a culinary instructor at Jefferson Community & Technical College's Award Winning Culinary program – not Sullivan. She was also a student at JCTC.

      • @SicilyYoder says:

        Hi Karla,
        I read that part of her bio after I posted the comment. I assumed Sullivan since they are world-known for their culinary program. I shop at their bakery when I am in Louisville and am also a fan of Brigitte Nguyen who graduated from there. I was unfamiliar with JCTC.
        I was upset from some of the comments with people asking why they were filming in Louisville. Louisville is well-known because of Sullivan, The Brown Hotel's Kentucky Hot Brown, and The Kentucky Derby, so why not pick Louisville? It's the perfect place. Chef Art Smith once told me he'd love to open a restaurant in Louisville.

  4. Marcie says:

    A different opinion. On Twitter, someone told Damaris that she should post what she is going to wear on her shows. I don't think that's a good idea. Maybe just on twitter but not ahead of time on the show itself. Because:
    A) Over 2 months, the show could easily slide into being more about her fashion than her cooking. That would be bad.
    B) Some viewers already criticize Giada for being too glitz & glamour. Damaris should learn from that.
    Her photo on here is just Adorable. She will attract many male viewers with her fresh, attractive, and fashionable look. But why not keep the focus on the food and just surprise us each week with what she wears next? I'm sure many people will tune in just to see, anyway. People will notice her beauty just fine. Keep the focus on teaching and food. Stay humble.

  5. Junie says:

    Who would be good sponsors for Damaris's show? I wonder who they have lined up already.
    She should market those wonderful Ice Milk Aprons. For sure.

    Who else would be good?
    Some Prime Angus Beef or Meats company?
    Curel Skin Moisturizer
    Maker's Mark Bourbon
    A Kitchen Knives company that Damaris likes
    Radio Shack or Sprint smartphones
    Bed, Bath & Beyond
    Zappos
    E-Harmony
    someone who makes smaller patio Smokers
    a Pork Loin company

    Who will be with her for the long haul?

    • Food Network Viewer says:

      Let's not get ahead of ourselves! She's not that great! At this point, I don't think companies are chomping at the bit to offer her a contract!

  6. James says:

    "There's no better food, in all the whole world,
    like the mighty-fine cooking, from a good Southern Girl."

    (Like it? Use/copy/broadcast/post/share freely anywhere. permission granted to all).–James

  7. guest says:

    Try this link. It is a wonderful Photo of Damaris. The look of a skilled Chef who's happy at her work.
    https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.1451457

    • guest says:

      Just highlight & paste. Do include the https at the beginning.

      • guest says:

        She's was wearing a red top, black apron and had her hair pulled back. Looks like she was serving food to a judging panel. A really good photo. There is also another one where she has a more-at-home type of look where she's wearing a purple top with her hair down. Two very good photos.

    • @SicilyYoder says:

      I love Food Network because it's about the Chefs being themselves and not being like Hollywood where there is pressure to buy expensive fashion. I shop local a lot, and I like it that she was wearing a locally-made apron.

  8. Kitchen Fun says:

    Elvis Lives! (singing Karaoke):

    "Wellll, since my bayy-be left-me
    I have-to learn-how to cook
    I'm all alone, in-this big-ol' home
    and can't learn from a book, now, ba-by

    I feel-so lonely bay-bee
    I feel so lonely, I could cry.

    But then, I saw, Damaris
    She was teaching on TV
    it turned out good
    like she said it would
    and i knew, she could, teach me, now ba-by

    I feel so happy baby
    I feel so happy baby
    I feel so happy I can cook

    So now I'm cookin' better
    My friends keep wanting more
    My future's bright, my foods a delight
    and I'm connecting more, now baby

    I feel so happy baby
    I feel so happy baby
    I feel so happy, I can Cook!

  9. Dave says:

    The men and their ladies? Why not just say couples. Don't alienate your gay peeps

  10. Dave says:

    And also, she looks amazing. Really looking forward to the show

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