Where are you living and working now?
I'm still living in Methuen, Mass., and working at my business, Grella Financial Services.
What have you been up to since FNS?
I have taped a pilot that Food Network decided to pass on, but you may have seen a cameo appearance of me on Diners, Drive-ins and Dives, which aired last November. Guy called when he was in the area and asked me to stop by a diner in Peabody, Mass., where he was taping. It was fun — and always great to see Guy.
What was your favorite thing about being on FNS? And your least favorite?
My favorite thing about being on the show was meeting my fellow finalists. I still talk with some of those guys.
Do you keep in touch with other finalists?
I talk to Adrien every once in a while and I keep up with Paul, Amy, Rory and Michael on Facebook. I did get to meet up with Paul and Amy in San Diego last summer. It's always great to see them.
What was the funniest/coolest/weirdest (or worst!) incident to happen behind the scenes?
I still remember giving Paul a hard time about his vitamin regimen every morning. Adrien and I had a few laughs at his expense.
How did being on FNS affect your culinary career?
It gave me credibility as a foodie and cook. I still don't work in the restaurant business and have no intention of doing that. But I do still host cigar dinners and wine tastings. And I'm proud to say they are very successful, because I was on the show.
What advice would you offer the next round of finalists?
Just be yourself and don't fall into the traps that will inevitably present themselves. Just do your best at all times. Sometimes all you get is a few seconds to be noticed; be ready for when that presents itself.
When you look back, what would you have done differently?
Not a thing.
Do people recognize you from being on the show?
Not as often anymore, but the real viewers still introduce themselves from time to time.
What was the greatest lesson you learned from your time on FNS?
I learned a lot about the entertainment business — making good television is fun and challenging. I would still love to do that.
What's your current favorite recipe or signature dish?
I've changed quite a bit in the last year. I've embraced my own health and managed to lose 75 pounds. I'm still losing weight. It has changed my life.