One-on-One with the Latest Star Contestant to Go Home

By: Sarah De Heer

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

Eddy Chen, 2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Every Sunday, Bobby, Giada and Alton take on the difficult task of eliminating one finalist in the quest to help guide fans to vote for Food Network's next sensation. And this is no easy task. Check back here every week to read Star Talk's exclusive exit interview with the latest Star hopeful to leave Food Star Kitchen.

If you missed the show and recorded it, don't read any further — Star Talk is about to chat with the latest finalist to go home.

The Selection Committee Bobby Flay, Giada De Laurentiis and Alton Brown as they reveal Salvation Kitchen winner Finalist Connie "Chef Lovely" Jackson will be back in the competion at the Mentor's Challenge "Dish Swap" Reveal as seen on Food Network Star, Season 9.

©Â 2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

 2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Lovely Jackson was the first contestant in Star history to earn the chance to rejoin her fellow finalists in the on-air competition after winning Star Salvation — four intense weeks of challenges that tested basic skills and pushed limits on creativity.

In the end, Lovely's return to the competition proved to be short-lived, as she was sent home after just one more week. "It's my time. There's nothing more I can do here," she explained afterward. "I sent six people home. I did that," she added of her success on Salvation. "So, you know what? I'm OK."

Do you think she deserved to go home? Tell Star Talk in the comments below.

You're the first contestant on Food Network Star to ever receive a second chance. What was that feeling like?

LJ: I am truly grateful to receive such an amazing opportunity. I gave everything I had and put my heart in each dish I prepared during each challenge. I can't put into words how I felt when Chef Irvine named me as the winner of Star Salvation. My emotions were all over the place, and all I could do was thank Chef Irvine and cry with tears of joy.

Which elimination was more difficult: the first or the second?

LJ: The second one because I was one step closer, and I fought so hard to get back into the competition.

What's the one "glam ingredient" you can’t live without?
LJ: Champagne
Throughout each round of Salvation, you seemed very confident you'd eventually return to the competition, but was there one challenge in particular that you thought might break you — or was there a competitor you were dreading battling?

LJ: The potato chip round was difficult because we could not use the chips as a coating or crust. It pushed me to be even more creative.

Finalist Connie "Chef Lovely" Jackson in the Mentor's Challenge "Pitch Tape" as seen on Food Network Star, Season 9.

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

Eddy Chen, 2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Is there something viewers didn't get to see from the Glam Chef?

LJ: Viewers didn't get to see how many ways I can "glam out the kitchen." I couldn't show things like my edible diamonds, edible gold or my Louis Vuitton chocolates.

What did you find more difficult: cooking for Robert on Salvation or cooking for the Selection Committee on Star?

LJ: One wasn't more difficult than the other. Both Chef Irvine and the Star Selection Committee are veterans in this industry and they each have high expectations.

After elimination, you said: "It's my time. There's nothing more I can do here." What's next for you?

LJ: Continue to grow my company, Lovely Eats, and seek other avenues to get my own show. I thank the Star Selection Committee and Chef Irvine for their wisdom, and I thank Food Network for this opportunity. The best is yet to come!

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