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Food Network Star Interviewby Pattye Grippo    

Alicia Sanchez, season seven finalist of Food Network Star, received a diploma in Pastry and Baking Arts from the Institute of Culinary Education and loves to put her own twists on everyday dishes. After moving to New York from Kansas City, Alicia opened a bakery specializing in customized cakes and cupcakes. This upbeat New Yorker combines her expertise and passion while teaching young adults how to cook as the chef instructor at Manhattan's Grand Street Settlement.

Alicia Sanchez

I had a chance to speak with Alicia Sanchez on June 20, 2011 about appearing on and being eliminated from Food Network Star.

If you had the chance to do this all over again, would you do anything differently?

Alicia Sanchez:
Watching the episodes has been really interesting for me because I don't look like I am having a lot of fun. I am a pretty fun person and I just don't think I was having enough fun. That translated into my food, that translated into my camera challenges. I kind of strangled my own dream here. I gave up a lot, as everyone else did I'm sure, to be on the show and I just wanted it so badly. I let little bumps in the road get inside my head and really just stress me out. I think if I had to do it over again I would approach it from a different place and not put so much pressure on myself.

What was the most surprising thing for you about this whole experience?

Alicia Sanchez:
There were a lot of things that were surprising to me. One thing is that I got used to a camera in my face pretty fast. I had a camera in my face when I'd got to bed at night and I'd wake up with a camera in my face. At first it was really strange and then I got used to it really fast, which is I think why I was able to show a lot of emotion on camera and talk candidly with other people. You just kind of forget that the cameras are there. If you're constantly worried about them that would just drive you crazy. I was able to forget that and I was surprised that came kind of naturally to me.

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

Alicia Sanchez:
I am definitely on Team Whitney. I love Whitney. She is a rock star. She totally showed it on the dessert challenge. The girl made a croquembouche and she'd never done that before. I thought that was pretty impressive. She works here in New York City, we're both New Yorkers, and since we've come back from LA we've become friends, She definitely has the cooking chops to win a competition like this.

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