There are traditional job interviews, which are surely daunting, then there's Food Network Star: an intense 11-week journey that requires nothing short of flawless technique in the kitchen and a downright sparkly personality on camera. Beginning June 7 at 9|8c, 12 all-new rivals will put their dreams on the line as they endure mentors Bobby Flay and Giada De Laurentiis' lofty challenges, all in the hopes of scoring the most-sought-after culinary career: Food Network host. Star Talk is bringing you the first look at each of the finalists in exclusive, candid interviews, and today we're introducing Virginia's Emilia Cirker.
Emilia, 36 (Reston, Va.), is a beauty pageant veteran with a French culinary degree and a wicked sense of humor. Her parents passed their love of food to her, and she is currently a culinary instructor and software company executive. Emilia is also a former head pastry chef for the Washington Redskins. This natural-born leader and single mom is determined to inspire viewers with her global-ingredient, technique-driven cooking style.
Describe your culinary POV in one sentence — if you can.
Emilia Cirker: My friends and family tell me that my food is the place where tradition and change meet; I like to honor culturally rich, ethnically rich heritages dishes, but put a new spin on them. So you're getting something that's craveable but also new and traditionally rich at the same time.
If you could ask Bobby and Giada to teach you one thing in the kitchen, what would it be?
EC: Well, Bobby's is easy for me, because I really don't like smoked chipotles. So I want him to prove me wrong by cooking me a dish and teaching me how to cook something that I will actually like, 'cause I hate the fact that I don't like one ingredient. With Giada, that's a tough one, 'cause I'm Italian, so I have a lot of the same techniques that she uses. But one of the things that I love about her is how warm and inviting she is on camera, and I need that as a skill set. So I'd love for her to show me how she got that talent.