Debbie, 39 (West Hollywood, Calif.), a former Hollywood caterer, now shares her branding and menu-planning expertise as a restaurant consultant. Her Korean heritage and Southern upbringing make a dynamic combination as she uniquely blends Asian and American cuisines. Debbie attributes her cooking chops to her mother, grandmother and notable chefs that she's worked with.
Food specialty: Korean with a Soulful Edge
Favorite restaurant: Buddakhan
Three foods you can't live without (other than bread or water): Bacon, fried chicken, and kimchee
Food you won't go near: Anything with stinky blue cheese
Weirdest thing you've ever eaten: Don't know if I have. Once I ate squirrel when I was young. My Aunt Frances told me it's like chicken. Got a little freaked out. But overcame the moment.
Interests: Anything with food of course! I also enjoy music, art, theatre, hiking and yoga.
Favorite Food Network chef: As far as a chef, it's a tie between Bobby Flay, Morimoto, and Michael Symon. In terms of food personalities, it would be a close call between Paula and Giada.
Favorite shows (doesn't have to be Food Network): Man v. Food (just got introduced to it and love it!), anything with Paula Deen, Grey’s Anatomy, American Idol, Top Chef, Project Runway, Iron Chef America, Everyday Italian, Barefoot Contessa
Favorite food destination: Anywhere in Asia of course. Want to go back this fall and travel through the Far East. I would also love to go to the south of France.
Culinary inspirations: Neil Perry, Bobby Flay, Julia Child, Morimoto
Three people, alive or dead, whom you'd like to invite to a dinner party: My grandmother, Neil Perry, and Oprah
Favorite books: Make a Name for Yourself, The Road Less Traveled, The Food I Love
Favorite movies: The Way We Were
Why do you think you should be the Season 5 Food Network Star? I have the most unique culinary point of view and will rock your taste buds with a taste of "Seoul 2 Soul!" My passion for food is my journey on a plate, and I feel everyone watching will relate to my story and embrace it with some good old seoulful cooking.