Where are you living/working now?
I'm currently living and working in Los Angeles and New York.
What have you been up to since FNS?
I've been keeping very busy lately. I just shot 26 cooking episodes for a new national television show for PBS called Growing a Greener World. It stays true to my passion: that seasonal, local, sustainable food is always best. It tastes best, costs the least and has the highest level of nutrition, plus has the smallest carbon footprint.
Growing a Greener World premieres May 2010, so keep an eye out! My cooking show, A Lyon In The Kitchen," is still running on Discovery Health and Fit TV, plus this last year I was fortunate enough to shoot a show for TLC, Real Simple Real Life. Lastly, I'm still working on my very first cookbook, and hope to have it finished in time for Christmas. Of course, none of this would be possible without the amazing knowledge gained from my farmer friends. In fact, you can easily find your closest farmers market via a link on my website, www.chefnathanlyon.com.
What did you enjoy most (and least) about being on FNS?
I enjoyed meeting the other finalists most and chefs from all backgrounds — all with different specialties. I always love meeting new people, especially when we share a common passion for food. And who doesn't love food?
Do you still keep in touch with other finalists?
Most definitely. I love 'em all. Reggie and I see one another most often, because he lives just a few miles away. I just saw Elizabeth Raynor not long ago when we co-hosted the first ever Tasty Awards in San Francisco. And, of course, there's Guy. He's really good about returning texts. He is crazy busy. Honestly, I don't know how he finds time to sleep.
Any behind-the-scene happenings from FNS you can tell us about?
We would sleep in the Green Room whenever possible because filming that show is no joke: 7 a.m. until 11 p.m., sometimes midnight. Thank goodness for coffee.
How did being on FNS affect your culinary career?
Being on NFNS really solidified my desire to educate via healthy cooking, which gave me a springboard for my seasonal cooking series on Discovery Health and Fit TV. Most recently, my show on PBS. The answer to a healthier nation is through education. I'm so glad to see other networks beginning to play a larger role by shifting their programming away from processed foods and offering shows that encourage a healthier lifestyle.
What advice would you offer the next round of finalists?
I would advise future contestants to maintain creativity and flexibility throughout the competition, and relax. Breathe. Just be yourself, because no one can be you better than you, right? There's a reason why FN picked you, so fasten your seatbelt, slap on a smile and enjoy the ride.
When you look back, would you have done anything differently?
I would have dressed much warmer, because it gets cold in those studios.
Are you recognized from your time on FNS?
I am, big-time in airports, but mostly when I dine in restaurants that serve seasonal cuisine and support their local farmers. Also, I'm recognized by people who shop for fresh produce at farmers markets, which I shop at every week, regardless of where I'm visiting.
What was the greatest lesson you learned from your time on FNS?
Never stop chasing your dreams, because for me they came true on Discovery Health, Fit TV, TLC and PBS.
If you have a question about seasonal cuisine, feel free to send me a message at www.chefnathanlyon.com. I'll do my best to respond in a timely manner.