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Food Network Star Interviewby Pattye Grippo    

Katy Clark

Katy Clark, season seven finalist of Food Network Star, is from Long Beach, CA and a food and fitness life coach. She previously owned and operated Silver Spoon Cafe, a western-inspired cafe in Kunming, China. Now this mother of three runs a food and fitness company, Fit Chef Katy, encompassing The Dessert Lady Catering Company and children's cooking division Look! I Can Cook. Inspired by the recipes of the women in her family and her experience in restaurants over the years, Katy loves to add her special touch to make every dish her own.

Juba Kali

Juba Kali, season seven finalist of Food Network Star, is from New Orleans, LA and thrives on bringing creativity to recipes, combining tastes and elements from a variety of cultures. An energetic new father, Juba focuses on the science of food, drawing from his culinary background and his role as research chef at a popular spice company for inspiration. Juba received a Bachelor of Science degree in Nutritional Studies from Johnson & Wales University and combines his two passions, science and food, to create culinary masterpieces.

I had a chance to speak with Katy Clark and Juba Kali on June 13, 2011 about appearing on and being eliminated from Food Network Star.

What, if anything, would you change if you had the chance to do this over again?

Juba Kali:
I would be more myself. A lot of people who I am and what I am about say that was not Juba. I wish I had been a little bit more loose. Everyone says that, all the contestants say that. It's such a crazy environment that nobody's really themselves. I just wish that I could have brought more of the Juba factor out.

Katy Clark:
Ditto on that. After meeting Juba outside the show, he is phenomenal and a great guy. I feel the same way about the nerves and the finding yourself throughout the process. And they even preface it that you're going to find yourself more. I felt like I was really highlighted more, my health and fitness aspects, because America and Food Network really needs more of that. I just feel pushing that and fighting for it more would have been smart on my part.

What was the biggest surprise for you on the show?

Katy Clark:
In one word - Penny. Can we just say whoa, I was not expecting to have deal with that. She's great in a sense, but it was a lot of negative energy. I often looked to Juba when things started going haywire and he was my pillar of peace. We would step back from this situation and look around and ask if this was what the show was really about.

Juba Kali:
There are so many crazy variables that you don't really get watching the show on television. When people say the show is harder than you thin it is, believe them. Because it really is. There are fifteen other people going through the same craziness that you are and the whole time I was trying to star sane in a crazy environment.

Out of the remaining finalists, who do you think has what it takes to be the Food Network Star?

Juba Kali:
We're going to have bias with that question. In terms of entertainment value Jeff and Orchid. In terms of food me, JD, JB, and Whitney.

Katy Clark:
I would have to copy some of that. Jeff is hilarious and there's a whole realm he can jump into that targets moms, sandwiches every day. Everyone needs to eat lunch. I think there are also a lot of sweet personalities. I love the energy of Susie and I love the sweetness of Orchid. I think those two ladies have a really good shot.

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