Where are you living and working now?
I'm still living in the San Francisco area and having a great time building my organic private chef and boutique catering business, Saffron Lane. Also, I write a regular food column, and I'm doing a great deal of food photography. I'm in the process of working on a couple new, exciting ventures. Hopefully next year I'll be able to share some of the juicy details!
What have you been up to since FNS?
Following my endless passion for food in the many different directions it takes me.
What was your favorite thing about being on FNS? And your least favorite?
My favorite still remains the many interesting and talented friends I met along the way.
Do you keep in touch with other finalists?
Now that some years have passed, a few of us have drifted apart, but I still keep in contact with a couple people. Nathan Lyon and I were both presenters at the first annual Tasty Awards in San Francisco last month. He definitely hasn't changed one bit.
I mostly see Guy on prime-time TV these days, but I'm incredibly happy to see his amazing success. He truly deserves it.
Jess, dinner soon?
What was the funniest/coolest/weirdest (or worst!) incident to happen behind the scenes?
Whenever the eight of us were together there were always many funny things, some cool things and most definitely a lot of weird things that happened. Some of which are best kept on the inside.
How did being on FNS affect your culinary career?
My season aired almost four years ago, but I am still receiving opportunities from the very brief exposure. So, I'd say it has affected it for the positive in many ways.
What advice would you offer the next round of finalists?
I say this every year, but just remain absolutely true to who you are, no matter what.
When you look back, what would you have done differently?
I probably would have taken Guy up on the late-night drink-fests. I may have done better in the competition had I followed suit. He was always out late and always full of energy the next day. I missed out on some hilariously good times, I'm sure.
Do people recognize you from being on the show?
Yes, they still do, four years later.
What was the greatest lesson you learned from your time on FNS?
The greatest lesson I learned from my time on FNS, along with a couple really good life experiences since then, is if you live authentically you will never have regrets.
What's your current favorite recipe or signature dish?
Seared Wild Scallops with Garbanzo Beans and Barley.