Star Scrapbook: Finalist Damaris Phillips

Damaris Phillips was the winner of Food Network Star, Season 9. Flip through her personal photo journal to relive the most memorable moments from her time on the show.

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Nathaniel Chadwick / Creel Films ©2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Damaris Phillips

Damaris, a culinary school instructor from Kentucky, became Food Network's newest star after besting 11 rivals in the competition and earning the most viewer votes to be crowned the winner.

Damaris Phillips

Culinary Confessional

Damaris filled her notebook with personal reflections on almost every challenge, recipes of dishes she featured on the show, and cartoon-like sketches of herself and her competitors in scenes inspired by the competition. The first day of filming proved to be overwhelming for Damaris, who jotted in her journal, "Wow, some of these people are good at the TV portion of this ... I should have watched more food shows."

Individual Personality

"You're wacky," Bobby told Damaris as she filmed her premiere pitch tape. "But that's good ... You need to be wacky when you get up there." After watching the video, Bob admitted, "That was about the oddest 30 seconds I've ever seen." But he added, "I like your goofiness."

The Infamous Shimmy

"When I get nervous, I default to being awkwardly sexy sometimes," Damaris explained after resorting to a suggestive shoulder shaking maneuver on stage during her Burger Bash presentation. "I thought that was a little off-putting," Bobby told her later.

Self-Reflection

Damaris knew her Burger Bash performance was a flop, as she confided in her journal, "My word, I hope my burger is good because I am totally bombing the star portion of this." Alton was impressed with the taste of pimento cheese on her burger, although he wished that she'd used more of it.

Correct Guess

After finding mango pickle as her mystery ingredient in the Mentor Challenge, and winning the round among Bobby's group of finalists, Damaris wrote, "Thank goodness my surprise ingredient wasn't alive." She predicted that the upcoming Star Challenge would be Chopped-style, and, sure enough, it was.

Personal Style

Given her success in the week 3 Mentor Challenge, Damaris was gifted the advantage of judging the Chopped battle instead of cooking in it, but that meant she'd be sitting next to Alton — while wearing a particularly colorful outfit. "I am burning this hot pink sweater when I get home!" she wrote. "Hot pink + yellow hoop earrings + Alton Brown = wardrobe regret!"

Repeating the Past

After a self-described "awkwardly sexy" presentation during Burger Bash, Damaris was nervous about appearing in Team Romance's movie trailer, especially given that she, Viet and Chad had planned a particularly suggestive script. "I don't want Romance. All of my feedback has been to tone down the awkward sexy," she explained.

Highs and Lows

Although Alton deemed Team Romance's video "50 shades of hot sauce," he told Damaris, "I thought you were romantic in a fun way that was lovable," not "sleazy or sexy." He was nevertheless disappointed in her shrimp and grits, which were severely underseasoned.

Culinary Patriotism

Damaris had high hopes for the Independence Day-themed episode in week 5, penning, "I am really good at Fourth of July food!" next to a drawing of fireworks and all-American classics, like pie, a hot dog and corn on the cob.

Drinks on Damaris

Despite her excitement for July 4th fare, Damaris was gifted the challenge of preparing a cocktail during the live broadcast, and she settled on "Philadelphia Fish House Punch — Kentucky Style," made with bourbon and peach liqueur.

Helpful Reminders

Some of Damaris' seemingly most obvious traits became difficult for her to recall during the competition, as she wrote: "I need to remember ... I love food. I love to eat. I love to teach. I love people." She added later: "I need to forget ... everything that gets in the way of me being myself."

Successful Style

Damaris considered a few ideas for how her jam should be packaged, but she ultimately settled on a jar with an attached tag. The executives were wowed by it, one even noting, "I'm not sure I'd change much."

A Second Self

While she indeed delivered a solid product, Damaris' presentation to the executives was disappointing on account of how differently she appeared in front of the panel. "We want your true personality," Bobby explained to her.

Turning a Corner

Working with Nikki and Stacey on a field piece at The Donut Man, Damaris was responsible for starring in the introduction of the film. She delivered an impressive presentation that one Hollywood Reporter critic said was superior to her competitors'. This challenge proved to be an important one for Damaris, who admitted, "This is the first time that I've felt just like I had a really good time."

A Short Story

Damaris illustrated a brief cartoon focusing on a girl and her jam. "Once a girl made some jam," the story starts, before the main character says, "Today I made some jam." Another character adds, "Oh, I love jam," to which the girl responds, "I added a recipe to remember my grandma and to dazzle you."

Must-Remembers

In a letter to herself before presenting to the Gastronauts, Damaris wrote: "You love food. Just talk to these people." The pep talk must have worked, because she sold her green bean casserole for $130, and Bobby told her of her performance, "We saw the Damaris that we were hoping to see."

Insider Dish

"Here is a little secret: I don't really like steak — What?! I know — don't tell anyone!" Damaris confessed in her journal. She was tasked with reinventing the beef tournedos at Phil Trani's restaurant, and while she delivered stellar filet mignon, the offering wasn't uniquely hers and didn't reveal her culinary point of view of the South.

Green Light

With the help of the mentors, Damaris pitched the show Eat, Date, Love to the network, and Bob and Susie immediately gave her the go-ahead to film a pilot. "I have to see what she's going to do," Bob said excitedly.

Pilot in Progress

The premise of Eat, Date, Love included Damaris teaching guys how to cook traditional Southern food in hopes of wooing a lady. Under the mentorship of Guy Fieri, she filmed a video with guest Josh, and together they made pork and sweet potato biscuits. "This feels like my life has begun," she said after taping.

Grasping Reality

Overcome with the notion that she'd earned one of three spots in the finale, Damaris wrote: "It feels like falling. Or a laugh that is stuck in your throat. Or a smile that once you break out is going to stay until your cheeks fall off. I cannot believe this is real."

The Final Three

Damaris sketched headshots of herself, complete with long locks, Russell, donning a Mohawk, and Rodney, sporting his signature fedora inside a star to symbolize the competition and their journeys so far. "Good luck guys!" she noted at the bottom.

Anxiously Awaiting the Future

Noticeably nervous during the finale, Damaris struggled to hold back tears when she explained how meaningful her win would be to her family.

Tense Moments

After learning that Russell was the second runner-up, the competition narrowed to two people, just Damaris and Rodney. They stood arm-in-arm as they waited for Bob to reveal the Season 9 Food Network Star.

The Next Food Network Star

After several tense moments, the spinning graphic on screen stopped and ultimately showed Damaris' face. A culinary school instructor from Ketucky, she is the newest Food Network Star.

Go Behind the Scenes

Browse exclusive snapshots of the finalists and judge-mentors on set, plus learn insider trivia about the show from Food Network's culinary team.

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