Star-a-Day: Erin Campbell

Get to know Erin Campbell, a finalist on Food Network Star, Season 12.

Photo by: Eddy Chen ©2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Eddy Chen, 2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

It was only recently that Star Talk broke the news that an unprecedented 12th season of Food Network Star is set to unfold this summer. For the first time ever, a prequel competition — Comeback Kitchen — will bring together seven past Star contestants for a no-holds-barred battle. The winner of this three-week tournament will join the dozen first-time Food Network Star finalists in the premiere episode on Sunday, May 22 at 9|8c. But before the new season kicks off, we're introducing all 12 of the hopeful rivals in exclusive, one-on-one interviews. Keep checking back every day to meet a new member of the cast. Today we'd like you to meet Erin Campbell.

Erin, 24 (Woodbury, Minn.), was introduced to a vast array of food types during childhood but eventually realized that sweets were her calling, learning how to decorate cakes in her grandmother’s kitchen. After graduating from pastry school and working at a variety of bakeries, this California girl moved to snowy Minnesota to run her bakery’s flagship store. While she loves sweets, she also cooks flavorful comfort food, which she describes as “Grandma food kicked up a notch.”

Describe your culinary POV in one sentence.

Erin Campbell: My culinary point of view is just keep it simple, keep it memorable and keep it fun.

Who are you most intimidated to be working with, Bobby or Giada?

EC: I definitely would have to say Bobby Flay scares the bejesus out of me, but Giada makes me shake in my kitchen clogs. So it's kind of even.

If you could ask one of them to teach you one thing in the kitchen, what would it be?

EC: If I could ask Giada how to A, properly pronounce and B, properly cook pasta to al dente that would be wonderful. Because I either go too far or not enough.

What one thing do you really want to convey to the mentors about who you are?

EC: Joy. I really want the mentors to take way that I am full of life and my show would be full of fun and full of laughter and full of joy.

How did you prepare for this competition?

EC: I really didn't have a chance to prepare. It was very, like, OK, work, work, work, work, work, pack your suitcase, on the plane. So I'm really hoping that I do well. I had literally zero time to prepare for this.

Win or lose, what's something you want to take away from this contest?

EC: Win or lose, the fact that I was able to be here and to meet more wonderful people who share a love for food is just fantastic. And win or lose, the ability to be on this show, it's just, it's a blessing.

What's your greatest strength in the kitchen?

EC: I have to say my greatest strength probably is speed. I like to do things quickly; I like to get them done. Sometimes that is also a weakness, though, 'cause I'll skip things. So it really just depends on the day. And my smile probably 'cause I could probably smile through anything. Something could be lighting on fire and I'd be like, "Yaaay!"

What is the strangest thing we'd find in your refrigerator right now?

EC: I kind of like sardines. I share them with my German shepherd. It's our thing. So there's half a can left in there.

What do you consider to be your signature dish?
EC: It's probably chicken Parmesan. Just 'cause it's easy, it's delicious, it's good every time. Did I mention it's delicious?
What's your favorite food city to visit?

EC: I just moved to Minnesota not too long ago ... and I love, love, love the food in Minneapolis. The food scene in Minneapolis crushes the food scene in LA.

What dish or ingredient will we never catch you eating?

EC: Probably creamed spinach. Never ever, ever. Not with a 10-foot pole, over a rainbow to find a unicorn. It just would not happen.

What's your favorite late-night snack?

EC: My favorite late-night snack is definitely chocolate-covered popcorn because it's super-fast and I can make it anytime, and it's delicious.

What's your guilty pleasure food?

EC: My favorite guilty pleasure food is definitely flourless chocolate cake stacked on top of chocolate cheesecake because I can make both of them, so I do. It makes your mouth water with raspberry puree.

What is one must-have dish at your last supper?

EC: My last supper is definitely going to be a big ol' honking piece of steak that was cooked in butter and sage and thyme and just seasoned to perfection with garlic mashed potatoes and buttered broccoli. That's it. That's going to happen.

What do you want to say about yourself to fans watching at home?

EC: To fans who would be watching me at home and to fans who have followed me through Holiday Baking Championship, just, I love you and thank you so, so, so much for tuning in and for loving me. And I hope that I do you proud, win or lose. I hope that you're proud of me and that I make you smile.

Rapid fire: Think fast!
Ketchup, mustard or mayonnaise? Mustard
Chocolate or vanilla? Chocolate

Bagels or doughnuts? Sugar bagels. I mean, doughnuts.

Cream cheese or butter? Butter
Coffee or tea? Tea
Burgers or hot dogs? Hot dogs
French fries or onion rings? French fries
White meat or dark? Dark meat
Cake or pie? Cake
French toast or pancakes? Pancakes
Beer or wine? Wine

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Don't miss the premiere of Food Network Star, Season 12 on Sunday, May 22 at 9|8c.

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