Colombe Jacobsen Derstine

Where are you living and working now?

I'm living and working mostly in New York City.

What have you been up to since FNS?

I've been doing a lot of fun cooking projects. I hosted a series of webisodes on about conscious cooking. Over the last few years I've been working with Sabra Mediterranean Foods as their chef. I've done a lot of recipe development for them, as well as a webisode cooking series. I've been working on product innovation and food consulting for various companies. I'm still teaching public and private cooking classes to help individuals improve their well-being through the food they eat and catering bespoke dinners. I've also been doing bi-weekly posts for my blog, which you can check out for delicious recipes and edible adventures, all for a healthier lifestyle, at In my free time I'm still planning and teaching the Harvest Time taste education program to kids in Harlem.

What was your favorite thing about being on FNS? And your least favorite?

My favorite parts were the cooking challenges. My least favorite part was being sequestered in an apartment without any windows and away from my everyday life and my family and friends.

Do you keep in touch with other finalists?

I keep in touch with many of the finalists here and there.

What was the funniest/coolest/weirdest (or worst!) incident to happen behind the scenes?

For me personally, it was when I woke up in the morning with an allergic reaction. I think it was the laundry detergent used on the bed linens.

How did being on FNS affect your culinary career?

I think it really helped me understand how much I enjoy sharing my cooking ideas and recipes with other people, and how fun it is to bring that to life on camera.

What advice would you offer the next round of finalists?

Do your absolute best — you never know what can happen.

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

I really enjoyed the experience, and I'm really thankful for the doors that it opened for me,
so I can't say that I would have done anything differently.

Do people recognize you from being on the show?

Definitely, and when I least expect it, like when I'm in the checkout line buying groceries.

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

Being on the show encourages you to be flexible, and I think that's a valuable lesson.

What's your current favorite recipe or signature dish?

One of my favorite dishes to make when I have lots of fresh herbs on hand is Fish in Charmoula. It's my take on a Moroccan classic.

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