index_corner.gif - 11174 Bytes Banner.jpg - 11843 Bytes
Justice League
UPDATES


Follow Pazsaz Entertainment Network at Twitter!  Become a fan of Pazsaz Entertainment Network on Facebook!  Connect to Pazsaz Entertainment Network on Myspace!  See what Pazsaz Entertainment Network likes on Pinterest  Read the Pazsaz Entertainment Network Blog
OUR SPONSORS

index_center_banner.gif - 14958 Bytes

Bookmark and Share
 
Next Food Network Star Interviewby Pattye Grippo    

This is a transcript of an Interview with with Darrell "Das" Smith on June 28, 2010 about the Food Network show Food Network Star.

Question:
Was it difficult to get into a groove after serving the raw chicken the first week? Did that dog you the whole time?

Das:
Well it did. That was on my head and on my mind the entire show, from that first challenge. It was the time frame, I always thought about the time from that point on, I wanted to put out dishes I knew I could do in that time frame; so it was definitely something that haunted me the entire competition. It definitely was a rough beginning, and I never regained my groove after that.

Question:
What were your thoughts on all the camera challenges? Did you go into this thinking about just cooking, or did you take that into account as well?

Das:
I didn't how to prepare for this show, really. I know I wasn't as comfortable as I could've been in front of the camera. It's funny because, I do things in front of the camera quite often, but with that amount of pressure, you wanna be the best and be impressive too in front of Susie, Bob, Giada and Bobby Flay, so you go in there thinking you wanna do your best and be completely sharp and be 110%. You go in there with that extra amount of pressure and forget to have fun. It was a lot of pressure and I definitely wasn't as comfortable as I wanted to be for sure.

Question:
What did you enjoy most about the show?

Das:
There were a lot of things I enjoyed about the show. I definitely enjoyed meeting Wolfgang Puck, and Duff and Guy Fieri - those guys are guys that we look at, me being here in LA, I love Wolfgang and I think his story is amazing. He is like a culinary god, so one of my most exciting memories was meeting Wolfgang Puck. Also just being a finalist. We built relationships and bonds that will probably last a lifetime. Being on the show was just great experience, great exposure, and you live and you learn. This was the first step in my culinary career as far as TV-wise. It was a big step, it was a first big step. I'm sad I didn't go a little further in the competition, but like I said, you live and you learn, that's what life is about, and I wouldn't take it back for anything.

Question:
I noticed that Dzintra applied more than one time, are you going to apply again?

Das:
Probably not. This was a good one for me, I've got a couple things I want to do after this, got a couple of concepts I'm working on restaurant-wise, cookbook-wise and things of that sort. So I have some things up my sleeve that I want to work on. I wanted to give TV a shot, and that's what I did. It was my first time at it, unfortunately I didn't go as far as I wanted to, but as far as Food Network Star, I probably won't apply for that again, but you'll definitely see me doing more TV stuff.

Question:
What are some lessons you took away from the experience? Like yourself on camera, or yourself as a chef, what did you really take away from the experience??

Das:
This experience was really special. We put ourselves out there for the whole world to see us, for the whole world to criticize us, to view us and whatever they may think it is... so the experience that I really got from it - do more camera stuff, get involved with the camera. Really view in on my culinary point of view and what that is. Before we went on the show, I'd say a lot of us didn't even know. When they asked us what our culinary point of view is, we hadn't even thought about it. This is an experience that really lets you know yourself, and what you want your message to be to the world. That's one of the biggest experiences I got from it.

Question:
Do you have any advice for Aarti or any of the other remaining chefs? Anything you think they could learn from your experience?

Das:
Just have fun. I think I was too busy worrying about the raw chicken dish and things that I'd done in my past that weren't that good, and I forgot to have fun. I was just so high-pressure, stressed out, just trying to make sure everything went all right and I was forgetting to have fun. At this point I'd say continue to have fun.

Question:
What do you hope the viewers at home think about you after watching your experience on the show?

Das:
I hope they think that I am charismatic, I am a fun guy, I can definitely teach. I teach at Beverly Hills High School, so I know that I can teach viewers about food. That's one thing, I think the show didn't really put my personality out there as much as I like. I have a great, great personality, I've always had a charming, humorous type of personality, and I just want people to know that I am a cool guy, but I'm not cocky or conceited or anything of that sort. I am confident; I do believe that I can do a good job as far as teaching the nation about food, teaching what I love to teach. That's something I would want viewers to know about me - I'm a fun guy to be around, I love people, I love food and with those two things, it's a good combination in a TV personality.

Question:
If you could just generalize, how was your experience from top to bottom? What do you think was your best triumph and where you felt most excited?

Das:
It was a roller coaster ride from the beginning. I was at the bottom, in the first challenge, I was at the absolute bottom, and the next week I was at the top. So it was a complete roller coaster ride. I was up and down. My worst feat on the show would definitely be serving the raw chicken in that first episode, right out the gate, and I definitely didn't want to start like that. And I do think that altered the way I was thinking as far as cooking, not going as far out there with my food, just because I wanted to make sure I had enough time to get it done. Playing it safe for the most part, just because in that first episode I did get burned. But that Santa Monica Pier, with the lemon pepper chicken wings, I think that was one of my biggest accomplishments on the show, because I was able to show viewers that I was there for a reason, and that I was comfortable in front of people, talking and catering and putting out a good meal. That was a big accomplishment for me, especially after the week I had before that. So being able to bounce right back, I feel like that was pretty good.

Question:
If you were given another chance on the show, what would you do differently this time?

Das:
I would remember to have fun. We were all there to have fun. I would remember to tell myself, "This is a competition for sure, but don't stress yourself out as much, don't put so much pressure on yourself to where you're second guessing everything that you do. You're not having fun". I think we all needed to remember, or well I needed to remember to have fun. I think I let that raw chicken dish haunt me a little bit, when I was in the kitchen I was playing it safe as far as putting my dishes out there. I also would've stood in front of the mirror a little more and gotten a little more comfortable with watching myself in front of the camera [laughs]. I would've done something to make myself more comfortable in front of the camera for sure.

Question:
What one ingredient would you have dreaded having to work with on the show?

Das:
I think if we had done anything where we had to bake, I would've dreaded baking. I'm not a pastry chef. When I do events and when I cater, I normally call out to a couple of my friends that are pastry chefs. So I think if we had to bake anything, I would've dreaded that.

Question:
Also I noticed that last week you guys were at The Grove. How did the public react to you when you were there?

Das:
You know what, I had a blast. From what my mother told me, I had the biggest crowd that was there, because it was in the middle of the day, around 4:30 when I went, so it was like prime time for Grove events. I had a huge crowd, I had fun. It was a great, great time. I did a pesto crusted salmon dish over a bok choy with jasmine rice and an orange-infused hoisin sauce. It was a great event. I had a lot of people asking questions and after questions they wanted my recipe cards, so I was signing recipe cards and taking pictures for about 45 minutes to an hour after I was off for the day. I think the audience response was great, and I had a great, great time doing it and I was very comfortable and I was having fun.

Question:
One of the judges was saying that they saw you getting better every week, but in the end didn't think you were progressing enough, so that by the finale you'd be Food Network Star. Do you think if you had a little more time there you would've gotten more comfortable, and as you say had a little more fun, and gotten to a point where you could've easily stepped into that role?

Das:
Absolutely. That last camera challenge, that was my best camera challenge to date. I was comfortable, I had fun. I spoke well about my dish, and it was definitely baby steps to get to that point. With this competition you have to move fast. You almost have to walk in the door camera ready, food ready - ready to go. This was actually my first time being in front of the camera, backstage and that aspect, where you have to talk about things and discuss things that are fast and rapid paced and think fast. I absolutely think I could've gotten more comfortable and moved forward, week by week I think I could've stepped into that role and become Food Network Star. But you live and you learn, and this was a learning opportunity. That's what life is all about. So it is what it is, everything happens for a reason and unfortunately I wasn't able to move further and get more comfortable and become Food Network Star. Now that I've put myself out there TV-wise, God willing, hopefully I'll continue to do what I do as far as my catering program and continue to teach at the high school here, continue to live right and be blessed, and hopefully more doors will open where I can continue to do it.

Question:
Were there any people that you become really close to on the show?

Das:
There was a couple people. Brad's originally from Michigan also, so me and Brad had a Michigan, Mid-western connection right out the back. Me and Brianna got really close, she lives in Atlanta, and I've spent some time in Atlanta, I went to culinary school in Atlanta, so we had a connection. Aarti and Doreen, they're both from Los Angeles as well, we still do things together, we're definitely, definitely very close and we talk a lot. Those are people that I was closest with, but I had relationships with everyone on the show in a different aspect, but as far as the ones that I still communicate with and still talk to, those would be the ones for sure.

Question:
Did you guys ever have time to taste each other's cooking? Based on that, who do you think would win?

Das:
Everyone can cook. Like Bobby Flay said in the promo, "They all can cook, but only one can shine". Everybody can definitely cook, at this point the ball game is still a game. It's wide open. It's anybody's game to win and I just wish them all the best. Everybody can cook and it's about who's hot that week and who's not that week, so hopefully somebody catches a hot streak.

Question:
I was wondering what your greatest food memory is?

Das:
I'm originally from Michigan, and we just had a family reunion there. I have a very big family, 28 first cousins. My grandmother originally lived in the country side, around southeastern Michigan, where she had five acres of land, and on those five acres she had hog pens and chicken pens and fresh gardens. My greatest food memory would be like 5 or 6 or 7 years old, she'd tell us to be outside, go outside, she didn't want us in the house. She would tell me and my cousins, "You guys go outside and play". We had assignments to do while we were outside - somebody had to mow the lawn, somebody had to water the garden, somebody had to pick dinner. One day I got assigned to pick tomatoes for our tomato basil soup, and I went outside to the garden and picked the ripest tomatoes and brought them back to the house, and watched my grandmother make tomato basil soup right there, with fresh basil and fresh tomatoes. That's one of my fondest, fondest food memories.

Question:
Living with all the contestants in the Hollywood Hills, what is that like to live with people you're competing with, and what is it like going back to your room and interacting with people in the house at night?

Das:
It was a competition. We all knew it was a competition when we signed up for it. We knew that we could be friends, but in the long run, we are all competitors, we wanted to same thing and wanted the same job. So we had to get along with each other, well we didn't have to, but we got along with each other well, just naturally. We weren't cutthroat, we didn't want to kill anybody, sabotage anybody's food or anything of that sort, it wasn't that type of ball game. We were all in the competition and we all knew what it was from the beginning. Everybody had their ideas set on what they wanted to do and what they wanted to accomplish. There wasn't ill will, nobody really had beef in the house, it was a good time. Our living quarters were pretty crazy, we had a pool, and we had a good time.

Question:
Were there any rivalries behind the scenes that the viewers aren't really seeing?

Das:
I think everybody was a rival behind the scenes. We all were rivals, we all were competitors and tried to knock each other out. Behind the scenes, what you guys didn't see, is everybody trying to get to that same spot. It may seem like everybody is on the same page, hunky dory and best friends, we all got along well, but ultimately everybody's my rival, everyone was my rival and everybody is everybody else's rival. We all want the same thing, so it was like, sorry to see you go, but somebody has to go and I'm glad it's not me.

Question:
Do you feel like your exposure on the Food Network will help you with your projects in the future?

Das:
Well I hope so! I hope so [laughs]. I don't think my personality got out there enough, I would've like to show a lot more of my personality throughout the show, but unfortunately I wasn't able to. I don't think it got out there enough, but I do believe the exposure from the show will open up more doors for me. I have a of things I'm working on, even before the show that I was working on, so with the show I believe it's a stepping stone, so I'll continue to live right and be blessed and things will continue to come.

Question:
What goes through your head when you're back in the kitchen and Bobby Flay is standing next to you, checking out your work?

Das:
It's a very, very high pressure situation. But you know it got to a point where we were very comfortable with Bobby Flay and Giada and Susie Fogelson and Bob Tuschman. We got to a point where we were really comfortable around them, and it was like talking to a regular chef. We're all chefs, and there are chefs that we've worked for in the past, they're not Bobby Flay of course, but it's like talking to a regular chef. If he asks you about food, we talk about food. That's something that we're comfortable with, because that is our profession. We're most comfortable working with food, so if he asks us a question, you can just answer it like you're talking to a regular person.

Question:
What is your signature dish?

Das:
My signature dish at this point would be a potato crusted halibut. I do a potato crusted halibut over assorted vegetables, whatever fresh vegetables we have here in California at that point, and a beurre-blanc sauce. Topped with a rosemary beurre-blanc sauce.

Back to the Articles main page.

 
Site Sponsors Check this out!    

Disneyland
ARTICLES
OUR SPONSORS

Search the Pazsaz Entertainment Network:

Custom Search
| Copyright & Disclaimer | FAQ | Privacy Policy | Partners | Discussion Board | Feedback |
Copyright © 1991-2017, Pazsaz Entertainment Network, All Rights Reserved.

Space