Star Exclusive: Watch the Winner’s First Interview

by in Interviews, August 11, 2013

It's been 11 weeks of ups and downs, tears and laughs, and moments that each finalist will never forget. The final three have been through the wringer, and now, thanks to loyal fans, Food Network has its newest Star.

Star Talk caught up with the winner just moments after the memorable announcement. Click play on the video above to watch Star Talk's exclusive interview.

What did you think about the big win? Share your thoughts on the finale in the comments.

Chat with winner on Food Network's Facebook page on Monday, August 12, at 2pm/1c:

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Comments (680)

  1. tim says:

    YEAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA for the right choice this year after the huge mistake last season!!!!

  2. Monty says:

    I'm kind of miffed that my man Rodney lost, but I'm fine with Damaris winning. Won't be watching the show, though.

  3. I Luv Humpy Biscuits says:

    Suckhas & Sinners, listen up.

    Some people thought that sin was in
    but in the end, it didn't win

    Some people thought that Pie had style
    But Damaris beat it by a country mile

    When it came to voting, the public knows
    It's the Louisville girl, who deserves a show.

  4. CVeraS says:

    What, foodie wise, is everybody going to talk about, when this blog dies down? Hate to say goodbye until next year, and this include pie people, Stacy people, and everyone else that disagrees with me. The discussions are fun.

    • Crouton40 says:

      The discussions are fun. I've enjoyed it. Even people who disagree. I'll probably hang around a day or two. Not much more to say. I think Damaris will do an excellent job. Hope they still have this Blog next year.

      • Shannon says:

        Love hearing peoples point of view. Have faith Crouton. It'll be back next year!! Foodie wise, I'll be talking about Damaris new show when it finally gets created and airs. Can't wait. Enjoy your cooking,creating,viewing and eating everyone!

    • reba says:

      CVeraS, agree, these were great chatters. Are we convinced yet if Crouton will be watching Damaris' show? LOL

      • Crouton40 says:

        LOL...I'd say the odds are pretty-darn good. (wink)

        I have tried to help, and have rooted for others, too. in other seasons (under a different name) such as Linkie Marais last year (who thanked me herself online for mentioning her website I also plugged away last year for Ippy, who could have showed us so many new things, and Emily Ellyn (see -and in an earlier season, Brad Sorenson. There was another huuuge outcry (as much or even more than when Emily was eliminated) when he was. For me, it'll be same criteria next year: who has: Incredible food, awesome personality, clear communication and not a turn-off. I think we got all that this year. And so, it's been fun. Happy eating! :)

  5. Crouton40 says:

    SEASON 10 Suggestions---Food Network Star

    Dear Food Network Star Management,

    1. Continue with very little mention of "stories" like you did in season 9.
    A) Bob & Susie were very largely in the background and neither they, or the judges, said much about "inner demons" and tell-us-who-you-are. Then, notice season 9's blog-posts. Very nearly no one is missing them at all. And we still got an excellent winner out of the season, Damaris. Stories can occasionally be mentioned by the winner on their show, after they get one, but while the competition is going on, almost no one complains about not hearing about them. Most people could care less and said so in season 8, so this was better. Thanks.

    2. Continue with No Teams. That was also good. No one should be "rescued" because of how good other people did. One, possibly a maximum of 2 team-challenges during a season is ok, but we want to see how each individual stacks up against everyone else.

    3. Mentoring--people like seeing each of the judges give one-on-one advice. However, please *don't* have mentor-teams. Two problems with that: 1. It becomes more about who is the best mentor than who is the best Star., like in season eight. 2. Anyone who loses can say: "but I could have won if I'd just had ____ as a mentor, instead." All contenders can get advice/coaching from all judges along the way. Maybe just catch a few more moments of that and show to audience.

    4. There was much frustration with the *order* of who was sent home before who, in season 9. Had it been different, some contenders would have ended up eventually being eliminated anyway, but I feel the viewers would be less irritated if good cooks weren't eliminated so early and that on-camera weren't emphasized so much, so early. I suggest that in season 10, if there are again 12 contenders, that for the first five episodes, food network makes a strong 90% committment to send home the 1st-five, based on poor dishes, and not camera-presence. Unless they are blatantly, overwhelmingly bad on camera. Not if there may be hope. This shows the audience FN is willing to coach people like Viet, etc and work with them. If they get eliminated in challenge 8, 9, etc. then fine, but we didn't throw out good cooks so soon.

    5. Try to have more challenges where they cook and not so much selling products as in season 9. One challenge per season from people like: Hollywood Reporter, Cooking Light, and then maybe 1 episode from TV Guide is fine and these are good for camera-presence. But you knew that. (smile). More cooking.

    6. Leave out the dials-of-doom and focus groups. People wanted the contenders cooking more dishes this year. And before I forget, possibly the biggest thing of all for next year---

    7. Please-- take more thought/care/time in going through and selecting *better* audition-videos/candidates. Casting needs to be better. In my opinion, if we had 12 people who were more all strong contenders and more even-with-each-other (less-obvious weak ones) to begin with, then you would need "less drama" (which the viewers would respect) and yet, you'd still have it just fine, because having candidates where its more "everybody's game and we cant decide as easy because they're all pretty close" (closer than this year), is good suspense in itself and fun drama. Someone needs to talk more time with this.
    There it is!
    All intended to be without sarcasm, and to be constructive. This *was* a better season than season 8. No pitch room and less stories. No one missed them.

    Very happy the public chose Damaris Phillips as the newest Star. I think she will have longevity and be a joy to watch.---Crouton40

  6. Crouton40 says:

    Damaris's NEW show. November -at the latest. Possibly sooner?
    I hope soon in September we see TV commercials airing, plugging her new show. Check this out:
    Latest news from Whas11:

  7. TCardy says:

    She is not a woman that other women want to watch,but their men probably will.

  8. Theresa says:

    She is not a woman that other women want to watch,but their men probably will.

  9. Sugarcube says:

    Damaris was the answer and rightful winner of America's vote. With all due respect to every contestant, there's a reason that they lost and Damaris won.
    Daniela - Eliminated in the first week.
    Andres - Boring. Food wasn't good.
    Danushka - Horrible attitude.
    Lovely - Her dishes weren't very good.
    Viet - No confidence in front of the camera.
    Chris - Struggled with his POV.
    Chad - Wasn't growing at all.
    Nikki - Seemed to lack knowledge and experience in some categories and had little authority.
    Stacey - Skilled, but too perfect, which made her boring. She felt rehearsed and phony at times.
    Russell - He was on the bottom SIX times, all for good reasons.
    Rodney - Had charisma, but his dishes were VERY hit and miss and he didn't seem very professional.
    Damaris - The best choice overall. She continued to grow every week and was not on the bottom even once, which is far much more than what you could say for Russell or Rodney. She was genuinely funny and charming, and her food was consistently good. Even her worst dish was at least decent.

    Rodney fans are just butthurt because the underdog made a come from behind victory over the guy who dominated the polls for weeks. Damaris doesn't have to fill the void for a missing Paula Deen because Damaris is her own person and will do things in her own unique way. And I don't care if she's blonde, vanilla, or whatever nasty insult people wanna label her as being. She has charisma and excellent food knowledge, and was the rightful winner of the contest. You don't have to like her, but don't judge her before she's even had the chance to shine.

    • Crouton40 says:

      THANK YOU, Sugarcube! You nailed it. :)
      I couldn't agree more. Damaris really is the best choice. She earned this win through better cooking, a more fun personality, clearer communication. She isn't fake, conceited or a turn-off. What better criteria could there be for America choosing a Star?

      What you say about Damaris, above, and your whole paragraph starting with "Rodney fans are just" absolutely right on! This lady is gonna rock the kitchen for years to come with incredible flavors! And without "an attitude." How kewl!

      I'm so sick of contenders with monster-tattoos, chains and armbands, freaky dyed-hair and having some weird concept who combine ingredients together like out of a Chopped basket (probably worse) and try to convince the judges and viewers that it's "Imaginative", and "Unique" and that we should automatically like it just cuz its "new". It's *those* people, and their fans, that call everything else boring, vanilla, etc. But they don't have a monopoly on being cool.
      Far more cool and groovy, is someone who makes food I'd really want to eat and serve, and who is fun to watch. Damaris will be all that. It's about time.

      • Sugarcube says:

        Thanks Crouton. I've been reading these comments here and it's unfortunate how many people are so vocal in their dislike of Damaris, but usually those said people have some really sad reasons for disliking her. (Vanilla, blonde, her appearance in general, etc...) Also, it's natural for people to lash out at the winner when their favorite loses, and the haters are always going to be more vocal. You've been an avid defender of her and everything you've said thus far is totally spot on. I can't wait to see Damaris' new show and what she has in store. I like her because she's true to herself, honest, and naturally charming and funny. She never once came off as being cocky or pretentious. She's down-to-earth and knows how to cook, teach, and entertain.

        Damaris Phillips is going to be Damaris Phillips. The Paula Deen comparisons are unfair, and it's also not fair to suggest that Food Network "rigged" the poll or purposely made her the winner in any way in an attempt to replace Paula. America picked Damaris because she was hands down the best option of the three finalists. Russell squeaked through to the finals by the skin of his teeth BARELY beating out Stacey, and for every Rodney lover there was, there were simply more people who didn't want him to be the next Star, and those people voted Damaris whether she was their initial favorite or not.

        It's really shallow and short-sighted to view Damaris as being the new Paula Deen when both women seem worlds apart in their personality and cooking style. Damaris has stated in several in different interviews that she wants to make Southern dishes that are more healthful. We all know that was not Paula's priority. I know some people like Damaris but dislike the idea of her show, however nothing is set in stone, so we'll just have to wait and see.

        • Crouton40 says:

          We will wait. With optimism. :)
          I even wrote her a Victory poem (on pg.1, here and also pg.3 of Justin's recap thread). I wouldn't do this at all -if I didn't believe in her. And I do because: she best fits the 4 characteristics I've mentioned before.

          I've defended and rooted for others.
          Last year (under a different name) I had defended Linkie Marais. I wrote positive posts on behalf of Ippy, as his cooking was good, the ladies liked his smile, and he could have shown us many new dishes. And positive posts about Emily Ellyn (even on her website). She had a sense of humor and good cooking.
          In a still earlier season, I defended Brad Sorensen. Likeable guy, good cook, not a turn-off....same criteria, repeating itself. It was never arbitrary.

          I hope Damaris DOES make some meals with Butter, and gravy and doesn't hold back or skimp on Flavor and heartiness--no apologies!! Good taste trumps everything! Nutritious and nice appetizing appearance are nearby 2nd considerations. She's good at all those. I want some good old down-home southern indulgence, too. Anyone can make a recipe. What makes all the difference is: when we use it, and it tastes so great, that everyone is begging for a 2nd helping!
          I imagine having a big sunday dinner of Blackened steak or pork "with all the fixin's" on 2 picnic tables on a sunny afternoon in the back yard. MMMMMM! So many things I'm curious to see from her, like:
          All about Beans (black beans, kidney bean, pinto beans, and more)
          Southern Veggie Harvests (tomatoes, white onions, red peppers, potatoes, carrots, kale, radishes, corn, etc)
          Comfort Food (what makes a flavorful sauce? show us 5 or 6, and different gravies, roasts/steaks, peppered pork, lamb & chicken, things with butter and cheeses, Casseroles, cornbreads, hearty stews-n-soups, southern omlettes.
          Fun with fruit--smoothies, parfaits, shortcake and berries, cakes/pies/cobblers.
          Fun with spices. Salmon and shrimp.
          I don't think she'll have 2 giant scoops of sugar, or 3 whole sticks of butter in so many things like Paula. But -I hope she doesn't go too much the other way, either. After 6 or 7 episodes of her new show, she'll be well on her way.

          I hope her wholesome genuine-ness sets a tone for future FNS winners. Maybe in September we might see commercials for her new show. Just stay true to herself , keep those Trademark superb flavors and appetizing appearance her dishes are known for, and that warm smile and sincerity. Do that, and she's gonna shine! Brightly.

          • Sugarcube says:

            I've been watching Food Network Star for a while now. I started with FNS season 4, and then I watched seasons 6-9 pretty faithfully. In my opinion, this was the best season of Star. I thought there were a lot of interesting competitors this season who really held my interest, but in the end Damaris was my favorite by a country mile because she really had all of the credentials. I would even say Damaris is my favorite of all the Star winners. I had a hard time finding anybody I that wanted to watch last season, and in the two seasons prior to that, there was no fan vote for the winner. I really liked Brad in his respective season as well. I remember people were very unhappy when he got cut.

            No, I'm totally with you. I don't want Damaris to hold back and only make healthful dishes either. Taste is what matters the most to me. I just think that she'll be able to find a much better balance between healthy and unhealthy than Paula Deen did, and that would help set the two apart. I'm honestly just sick and tired of the comparisons between Deen and Phillips just because they are both Southern.

  10. mike says: