Just in time for Thursday’s Thanksgiving holiday, Food Network Star winner Damaris Phillips, a lifelong southerner with a knack for baking and the host of Southern at Heart, is demystifying biscuit making so that you can skip the store-bought tubes of dough and make your own buttery beauties at home. This Kentucky native is known for enjoying her biscuits with gravy for breakfast, and just last month she took the stage with fellow Food Network Star alum Justin Warner at the New York City Wine & Food Festival to fuse her classic recipe with another morning favorite: bagels and lox. She walked fans through the step-by-step of creating this hybrid breakfast while chatting about basic biscuit-and-gravy how-tos, like simple tricks for cutting biscuits and the importance of cooking the flour in the gravy roux. Read on below to get Damaris’ top-six tips, then try her recipe for Sweet Potato Biscuits with Peppered Pork Loin, Apple Mustard Butter and Salad.
1. Don’t worry if you don’t have a fancy biscuit cutter at home; a round glass will do the trick.
2. There are two kinds of biscuits: flaky and cakey. Damaris prefers the cakey variety, as they’re better suited for sopping up gravy, so consider this if you plan on serving your biscuits with gravy as well.
3. When making the roux for the gravy — the mixture of fat (here, butter) and flour — it’s important to let the flour cook for a bit so it loses its raw flavor. The more you cook it, the darker the roux will be.
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As a competitor on Food Network Star this past summer, Damaris Phillips didn’t stray from her Southern point of view in the kitchen. She used her lifelong experience of living in Kentucky and her passion for traditional Southern ingredients to establish herself as the ultimate authority on the cuisine, and when she told Bob and Susie in her pitch that “Southern food is the food of love,” they were quick to believe her. She’s maintained her tendency for Southern-style cooking on her first-ever series, Southern at Heart, airing Sundays at 10:30am/9:30c, where she helps love-struck guys turn out deliciously comforting Southern dishes with the classic ingredients of the region. FN Dish caught up with Damaris in her hometown of Louisville to find out more about her penchant for Southern cuisine, like her ultimate down-home meal. Read on below to hear from Damaris and find out her go-to Southern goods, the secret to making the best-ever grits and more.
What’s your favorite Southern meal, the one down-home dish you’re always craving?
Damaris Phillips: Cornbread and milk. It’s my favorite. I also love beans and cornbread. First you have pinto beans or butter beans and cornbread for dinner, and then the next morning, inevitably, there’s leftover cornbread. You take that cornbread into a glass, cold milk over the top and you just eat it — [with] maybe some honey. I like to put a little honey on there. It’s like cornflakes, kind of. Not really, but kind of.
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There’s perhaps no holiday more focused on food, family and tradition — some of Damaris Phillips‘ favorite things — than Thanksgiving, which means that for this Southern at Heart host, the next few weeks leading up to America’s fall feast are especially exiting. She told FN Dish recently that she’s especially looking forward to “the Thanksgiving-adjacent episode” (airing Nov. 24 at 10:30am/9:30c) of her all-new series, which will feature classic and creative recipes to help you prepare the ultimate holiday meal.
We checked in with her to find out more about how she’ll be celebrating with her family this year. Like in most homes, there will be no shortage of comforting plates on Damaris’ Thanksgiving dinner table, and just as she’s been in the past, she’ll once again be in charge of preparing the salad. Read on below to learn Damaris’ makings of a true Southern Thanksgiving, to learn tips for turning out juicy turkey and to get advice for first-time holiday hosts.
How do you celebrate Thanksgiving these days?
Damaris Phillips: All of my cousins and aunts and uncles and grandparents all still get together, so we do a huge family Thanksgiving.
Will you be cooking Thanksgiving dinner this year?
DP: Everybody contributes. It’s like a potluck Thanksgiving. I usually get stuck with the salad. They are always making me make the salad. I always try and fancy it up, so they’ll be like, “Oh, she can really cook.” But it doesn’t matter, because nobody eats the salad .… My brother is always going to do the stuffing; I’m never going to get to do it. My sister is always going to do the greens and the macaroni, and nobody wants mine anyways because I always try and make it a little less terrible for you, which nobody’s into. I get desserts a lot. Like, I’m pretty good at baking, and so I get desserts, which is pretty awesome.
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Although Damaris Phillips survived 11 weeks of camera and culinary competitions on Food Network Star to become the newest face of food television, nothing could prepare her for the excitement and nervous energy that would come with filming her very own show. Just last week she premiered her series — Southern at Heart, airing Sundays at 10:30am/9:30c; cameras were rolling in Louisville, Ky., as she prepared to take her place in the kitchen and tape that episode.
Click the play button on the video above to watch as Damaris introduces her set and explains the props in the kitchen, and hear as she chats about her hopes for Southern at Heart.
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Given her penchant for quirkiness and her fun-loving demeanor, it’s no surprise that Food Network’s newest star, Damaris Phillips, is quick to embrace the lighthearted spirit of tomorrow’s spooky-sweet holiday. The host of Southern at Heart admits to dressing up for not only Halloween, but several other occasions each year, and she isn’t content with ordinary costumes for witches, pumpkins or ghosts. Her Halloween getups require a bit of imagination, as well as inspired clothing and coordination among friends. FN Dish caught up with Damaris to chat about these costumes, plus all things tricks and treats; read on below to learn her plans for this year’s fright-night bash, her all-time favorite Halloween costumes and her must-have candy.
How will you be celebrating Halloween this year?
Damaris Phillips: Me and all my girlfriends are dressing up as Britney Spears from different music videos. And she had some good outfits, like, phenomenal outfits. I really want to do the Pan Am girl from “Toxic.” Or I wanted to do “Oops!… I Did It Again” — the red pleather — but we have a guy friend that wants to do that, so …. The shoes are unfortunate, so I was OK giving it up.
So you don’t shy away from the costumes.
DP: Any reason to dress up, I am in. So I don’t only dress up at Halloween. I dress up for my birthday; we have a costume party every year for my birthday. I dress up probably seven times a year at least.
You’ve seen her on Food Network Star, outlasting 11 rival competitors to become the Season 9 winner, and starting this Sunday at 10:30am/9:30c, she’ll star on her first-ever series, Southern at Heart. But Damaris Phillips remains relatively new to the Food Network family and perhaps a bit unknown to her fans. This Kentucky-born culinary school instructor is passionate about her large family, matchmaking in the kitchen and, of course, all things southern. But there’s more to know about Damaris, like her most-detested ingredient, favorite kitchen memory, go-to culinary tool and last supper must-have. FN Dish recently caught up with her in her hometown of Louisville, Ky., and found out the answers to these questions and others. Read on below to hear from Damaris, then browse photos to see her out on the town in Louisville.
What’s your Achilles’-heel ingredient, one that you hate to work with or encounter in someone else’s dish?
Damaris Phillips: Button mushrooms.
What was your most memorable meal? What, where, who — details, please!
DP: I don’t have a most memorable, like one memorable meal, but we had brunch every single Sunday growing up, so when I think about eating with my family, I think about having the same food every Sunday.
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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.
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Before earning the most viewer votes to become the winner of Food Network Star, Season 9, Damaris Phillips told network executives that “Southern food is the food of love,” and this fall she’ll be able to prove that with the launch of her brand-new series, Southern at Heart, premiering Sunday, Oct. 27 at 10:30am/9:30c.
Similar to her date night-focused pilot on Star, Damaris’ Southern at Heart will showcase this Kentucky-born chef’s made-over Southern fare, featuring fresh twists and contemporary takes, plus offer can-do tips for cooks of every caliber. No matter if you’re a single gal or guy trying to impress that special someone, one half of a new couple or a spouse in a longtime marriage, Damaris’ contemporary recipes will have a place on your table, and her inspired ideas will be applicable to you.
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