Team Giada: Down to Three by Sara Levine in Food Network Star, June 19, 2012
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Team Giada thought they had last Sunday's food-court challenge in the bag. A Mexican-themed kiosk, with Martita on their side? No problem. But for South African dessert queen Linkie Marais, Mexican food was uncharted territory: "I don't even know what they serve for dessert in Mexico!" Stumped, she ran with Martita's suggestion of churros and hoped for the best, despite the fact that she'd never made them before.
Sure enough, the texture of the churros was off and Linkie tried to re-brand them as "biscotti." But her confidence was shaken, and it showed. She ended up in the Producers' Challenge, where she gave Bob and Susie a solid chicken dish, proving that she shouldn't be pigeonholed into pastry. Still, in the end, it was pitch room veteran Nikki who prevailed, sending Linkie home.
Throughout her Star run, Linkie struggled with confidence issues that caused her to stumble over presentations. "In the end, I realized that it's mostly because of the language barrier," Linkie explains in her exclusive exit interview. "That was where a lot of my confidence problem came from." Giada tried to coax her through this, sharing her own experience of moving to America as a child.
"I am so honored and humbled that I had the opportunity to work with Giada," Linkie says. "I don't think she realizes how much she's influenced my life. She made me realize that I don't have to change who I am."
Hear more from Giada, Bob, Susie and Linkie in her exit interview. Do you think she deserved to go home over Nikki?