Evette Rodriguez

Where are you living/working now?

I'm living in Port Saint Lucie, Fla.

What have you been up to since FNS?

Graduated culinary school and finishing up my BA degree; a long road when you're my age – lots of catering now, lots. I've done two on air spots; one for the local Miami/Dade news to promote my catering business and one for our local news channel. I was also asked to be a judge for the Treasure Coast Food Banks annual restaurant charity drive, which helps to feed thousands of needy kids in my community. And, I'm currently devising a way to volunteer at the Boys and Girls Club in my neighborhood by providing free cooking lessons to the kids.

What did you enjoy most (and least) about being on FNS?

It was a humbling experience.

Do you still keep in touch with other finalists?

Not as much as I would have liked.

Any behind-the-scenes happenings from FNS you can tell us about?

My stories are old now; much better content is coming from our newer alumni!

How did being on FNS affect your culinary career?

I realized that I truly enjoyed cooking and that I had lots to learn if I wanted to do it professionally. I also discovered that I have a knack for teaching; which is my ultimate goal.

What advice would you offer the next round of finalists?

Know your stuff.

When you look back, would you have done anything differently?

I would not have competed without a more rounded education.

Are you recognized from your time on FNS?

Yes, people still recognize me, but only in the city where I live.

What was the greatest lesson you learned from your time on FNS?

Be prepared.

Anything else?

I wish all future contestants good luck!