Local chef wins "Food Network Star"

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Local chef and teacher Damaris Phillips is the next Food Network Star.

The 32-year-old Louisville native won the reality competition and will soon have her own cooking show.

Phillips beat out eleven other contestants to win the title.  She titled her pilot "Eat, Date, Love." She wants to teach men how to attract women with southern cooking.

Phillips graduated from Jefferson Community and Technical College with a degree in Culinary Arts. Before entering the competition, she taught baking and restaurant management classes at JCTC.

Before returning to teach, Damaris took on various restaurant and baking jobs, working in the front and back of house of restaurants like Harvest, Wiltshire on Market and 610 Magnolia.

Since March, she's known she was one of the top 3 left standing in the reality competition.

"I was totally shocked, totally shocked," she said.

Born and raised in Louisville this is exactly where she wants to stay.

"I will only have residency in Louisville and I will visit other places but this is my home without question I don't want to go anywhere else," said Phillips.

Phillips will stay a baking and restaurant management teacher at Jefferson Community and Technical College. Classes begin next Monday but she will have a few more commitments on her plate.....

"Then I start talking with the food network and we figure out what way to have a show and what show will be the best," said Phillips.

While her show is still in development, her point of view on food is all she's ever known, she's southern cook with a healthy twist.

"I think the south hasn't always gotten a great reputation like people are always like, chicken fried steak.  It's my intention to introduce people for what I think of the south which is just beautiful vegetables and cheeses," she said.  

Many of her recipes come to her late at night.

"I dream about food.  I dream about recipes and I'll wake up excited to try that," she said.

The one person she'd like to cook for comes from her past.

"I would love for my dad to have seen the way I have grown as a chef, I would have loved that," she explained.

While fame seems a bit overwhelming, she says she's ready, understanding the impact of comfort food that lasts beyond the last bite.

"If I had the chance to make people feel happy or connected or feel loved through food I would feel like my life had meant something," she said.

Her new show is expected to premiere on the Food Network sometime this fall. To find Damaris Phillips on twitter, CLICK HERE.

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