Eddie, 30 (Los Angeles, Calif.), expands his culinary knowledge by working as an apprentice in a Los Angeles restaurant. After graduating from Vanderbilt University with two degrees, Eddie worked at a prestigious talent agency before turning his love for cooking into a career. The travel, sports and music enthusiast enjoys modernizing traditional dishes and making them more accessible for the home cook.

Food specialty: I don't know if I have a true specialty. My approach is to take traditional dishes from various cultures and put my own unique spin on them.

Favorite restaurant: Campanile in Los Angeles, North End Cafe in Manhattan Beach, Calif., Ford's Filling Station in Culver City, Calif., and Prune in New York

Three foods you can't live without (other than bread or water): Any kind of pork, eggs, and cheese

Food you won't go near: There is nothing I won't eat! I think to be a true chef one must be willing to try anything to gain a better understanding of the food itself.

Weirdest thing you've ever eaten: One night while having sushi, the head chef asked me if I wanted to try a delicacy. Saying yes, he removed a giant tuna eyeball from the refrigerator, cut a few slivers off, and served it to me with a homemade wasabi.

Interests: Traveling the world, playing and watching sports, going to concerts, cooking for friends and family, yoga, hiking, and reading

Favorite Food Network chef: Michael Symon – I am a huge fan of his affinity for pork and his bold and unique style. I have been to his restaurants Lola and Lolita in Cleveland, and he is one of the chefs I constantly keep an eye on to see what he is doing.

Favorite shows (doesn't have to be Food Network): No Reservations with Anthony Bourdain, Dhani Tackles the Globe, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern, Family Guy, and SportsCenter

Favorite food destination: Without a doubt, Spain! I have never eaten better than when I was in Spain. The variety of food from city to city shows a unique cultural diversity within the country. I had my first paella in Valencia, which contained rabbit, blood sausage, and chicken. I have never been the same since. I love to cook tapas and was introduced to them while dining at restaurants throughout Madrid and Barcelona. This is where I first learned the power that a small bite of food can have.

Culinary inspirations: My own passion and enjoyment of food drives me to create dishes that satisfy and inspire others.

Three people, alive or dead, whom you'd like to invite to a dinner party: Anthony Bourdain, Jerry Garcia, and Marco Pierre White

Favorite books: Forever by Pete Hamill, The Devil in the Kitchen (Marco Pierre White’s autobiography), Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain, Another Roadside Attraction by Tom Robbins, On the Road by Jack Kerouac, Travels with Charley by John Steinbeck, Salt by Mark Kurlansky, Falling Up by Shel Silverstein, any Calvin & Hobbes book, and Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak

Favorite movies: The Big Lebowski, Into the Wild, The Usual Suspects, Big Night, Office Space, Good Will Hunting, Kill Bill (volumes 1 and 2), Pulp Fiction, Caddyshack, City of God, and Ratatouille

Why do you think you should be the Season 5 Food Network Star? I think I should be the Food Network Star because I have the ability to reach out to a younger demographic that shares my passion for food and culture. Being self taught, I can show people that there is no kind of food that someone should be scared to cook, and that your own imagination and creativity are instrumental in finding your own true culinary voice.

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