A Letter to Damaris, from the Rebel by Justin Warner in Food Network Star, August 13, 2013
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As I'm sure Bob, Susie, Alton, Giada and Bobby have already done so, I'd like to be the sixth person to welcome you to the Food Network family. I'm sure you'll fit in quite nicely, as we are all really just a bunch of food-obsessed kooks who like to entertain and have a good time.
Having been through the process, I know exactly what it takes to get where you are, and you've got it. Your poise during the Chopped challenge led me to believe you were a contender. Your pilot really sealed the deal. Your sense of humor is a perfect fit for our audience, and your optimism and good vibes just leap from the screen. Your POV is as solid as it gets. It is who you are: a teacher, a romantic and someone who isn't afraid to sing Bonnie Tyler karaoke after just one drink. Congratulations on finding the sweet spot between all of those Damarises. Also, as a dude who was chastised for winning the home ec award in middle school, I appreciate you championing the idea that everyone should love to cook for each other.
Congratulations on also having the largest gain in Twitter followers since the start of the competition. Interacting with fans is the name of the game. I look forward to seeing your "blue check" soon.
So what else is in store for you? Lemme tell you this: everything.
From here you will begin the process of developing a show, creating your brand and figuring out exactly who Damaris is — but on very valuable paper. Jay-Z once said, "I'm not a business man; I'm a business, man." The same applies for you. Don't be afraid to make the most of your new career in TV and beyond. You showed no signs of fear during 11 episodes of grueling competition. It should be a cakewalk from here.
Just so you know, you are about to meet thousands of people who can't speak, simply because you are in front of them. You may have to pay someone to escort you to public events just to hold strangers' cell phones and take pictures of you with them. Note: Do not ask your significant other to do this task in order to save a couple bucks. Trust me, the results are not cute.
Oh, one more thing: We're doing a demo together at the New York City Wine & Food Festival in October. Text me so we can go over the details.
Best of luck — even though you won't need it,