Nikki Martin's Bio

Nikki Martin is a finalist on Season 8 of Food Network Star.

Nikki Martin, 31 (West Hollywood, Calif.), was exposed to the culinary world as a youngster through her mother’s former career as an executive at a nationwide food distributor. Nikki grew up to become an adventurous world traveler, learning about international cuisines and furthering her passion for all things edible. She is currently a food and beverage consultant and private chef, where she takes a farm-to-table approach and prepares bold, globally inspired dishes with seasonal ingredients. 

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Queen of the Pitch Room

Nikki Martin, a restaurant consultant from West Hollywood, Calif., made it to the penultimate episode of Star Season 8 after surviving the pitch room not one but three times.

Photo By: Edward Chen/Creel Films ©2012, Television Food Network, G.P.

Star Journal

Each finalist was given a Food Network journal to use throughout the competition. Nikki filled hers with challenge prep and POV notes, and even brainstormed a new show idea with her Team Bobby ally, Michele.

Team Bobby

Nikki felt right at home on Team Bobby. She aspired to be the network's new "Girl on Grill," so who better to mentor her than Bobby Flay?

Photo By: Todd Plitt ©2012, Television Food Network, G.P.

Determined to Stay

Always keeping her eye on the prize, Nikki kept a record of each episode and who went home. She was just one episode shy of her goal of making it to #11, the finale.

Focused on the Food

Nikki consistently impressed the judges with her skills on the grill, but her presentations often came off too practiced and scripted.

Photo By: Todd Plitt ©2012, Television Food Network, G.P.

Kickoff Challenges

Team Bobby thrived in the Restaurant: Impossible-style challenge, the first of the season. The second, a food tour of iconic New York neighborhoods, didn't go as well, but Nikki stayed in the safe zone. She scrawled notes for both in her journal as she got the hang of the competition.

Early Allies

Nikki quickly bonded with her teammate Michele. When Nikki ended up in the Producers' Challenge and had to face off three times to remain in the competition, Michele urged her to keep fighting and cheered her on.

Photo By: Todd Plitt ©2012, Television Food Network, G.P.

Too Rehearsed?

Writing out scripts for her presentations proved to be a problem for Nikki — the judges told her she sounded like a news anchor in her delivery. After several similar comments, she tried to bring more warmth to the camera.


The finalists were also given digital cameras to document life behind the scenes in the Star house. Between challenges, Nikki and Michele snapped some fun photos of themselves being silly.

Defining POV

The judges weren't crazy about Nikki's initial POV tagline, "Girl on Grill." She later refined it to "The Grill Next Door" but stuck with the same grill-focused ideas and flavors outlined here in her journal.

Grill Next Door

With Bobby as her mentor, Nikki had no problem coming up with grilled dishes that met most challenges. For the food tour, she made grilled shrimp with barbecue sauce inspired by Harlem's Dinosaur BBQ.

Photo By: Todd Plitt ©2012, Television Food Network, G.P.

Cooking for Kids

When Guy Fieri showed up on the Star set and gave Team Bobby the theme of "Cooking With Kids" for their live show, Nikki was apprehensive. "Kids can be brutally honest," she said.

Green Smoothie for Guy

The team decided to give their show a healthy spin, so Nikki prepared a green smoothie with kale and spinach. Guy was skeptical about whether the kids would drink it.

Photo By: Edward Chen/Creel Films ©2012, Television Food Network, G.P.

Risk Pays Off

While Guy was right and the kids in the audience didn't love Nikki's smoothie, fortunately for her, the judges did. Bobby told her that Bob "drank the whole thing." She wrote out the simple recipe here in her journal.

Bonding Between Challenges

As the weeks went by, Team Bobby grew closer and became like family. In this snapshot from the Star loft, Nikki and Michele are all smiles because they've both made it to the next leg of the competition in Miami.

Show Pitch?

In their downtime, Nikki and Michele brainstormed a show they could host together: "Nikki and Michele Do I-95 Road Trip." Nikki wrote out all of the East Coast destinations they'd hit.

Made It to Miami

Nikki was psyched to cook in Miami, finally getting her chance to grill outside. She did well in the first South Beach challenge, but saw her two remaining teammates — Michele and Malcolm — go to the pitch room.

Photo By: Edward Chen/Creel Films ©2012, Television Food Network, G.P.

Refining POV

Instead of writing out a script, Nikki jotted down key points she wanted to hit to give the South Beach crowd — including Paula Deen — a sense of The Grill Next Door. This strategy worked out better for her.

Friends and Rivals

A fellow finalist captured this shot of Ippy and Nikki hanging out between challenges in Miami. Despite their strong team allegiances, all of the remaining finalists had become close at this point in the game.

Culinary Hangman

While waiting in the stew room, finalists found ways to pass the time. Nikki's journal reveals a game of hangman.

One Last Shot

To determine who would get to present pilots for viewers across America to judge, each finalist created a 30-second promo for his or her show. Nikki felt confident: "Three takes and that's it. I'm ready for it. I don't need to rehearse. The end is so close I can taste it."

Photo By: Edward Chen/Creel Films ©2012, Television Food Network, G.P.

One Stays, One Goes

"The stakes today are huge. Me vs. Michele. It's going to be one of us, it's not going to be both of us," Nikki said before her final evaluation. In the end, the judges passed on Nikki's promo and her teammate and good friend Michele got the coveted finale spot.

Photo By: Edward Chen/Creel Films ©2012, Television Food Network, G.P.