Where are you living and working now?
I'm living on the East Coast with my two great kids, Evan and Aidan. I'm currently working as the food expert for www.momlogic.com from the producers of Ellen, Tyra and The Bonnie Hunt Show. I had a lot of fun interviewing FN's Sunny Anderson, Sandra Lee and Melissa d'Arabian recently for momlogic.com! I also co-host a weekly food radio segment with Dean Johnson of WCAP Talk Radio in Massachusetts. We're always busy promoting all the fun stuff going on at FN and, of course, the new Cooking Channel.
What have you been up to since FNS?
In addition to working as the food expert at momlogic.com, I was recently awarded an advocacy grant from I Can't Believe It's Not Butter! for my meal planning initiative, Breakfast Lunch & Dinner Thinner. I've also kept up my figure as a VIP client on the Jenny Craig program. As a single mom, Jenny Craig has been super-convenient and for once someone is cooking for ME! I also launched www.locketti.com, featuring my weekly blog, recipe videos as well as consumer reviews on many food and lifestyle products. Stop by for a visit. I've also been busy developing recipes for food companies looking to rev up culinary creativity with their products — it's a fun challenge and I get to taste a lot of yummy products along the way.
What was your favorite thing about being on FNS? And your least favorite?
I've wanted to work in television since I was eight, so doing the show was very rewarding in that regard. It was great escaping to NYC for two weeks and hanging out with all the other finalists as well as the FN chefs. Despite his harsh critiques, Bob Tuschman is a real sweetie and it was a privilege getting to know Bob, Susie, Bruce and all the faces behind the programming lineup at FN.
Do you keep in touch with other finalists?
We stay in touch via Facebook, Twitter and other social networking sites, which is great. I love hearing about everyone's personal and professional successes since we appeared on the show.
What was the funniest/coolest/weirdest (or worst!) incident to happen behind the scenes?
After I cut my finger on the Mario Batali pizza challenge I had to get a tetanus shot from the same doctor in the movie Super Size Me. When I got back, we played a practical joke on the other finalists and said I was being sent home because of the injury. It was all fun and games until Eric Warren started to cry and initiated a group hug. (I felt awful.) The next day we had a Meet & Eat with the press, and I had this obnoxious bandage on my finger. When the media asked what happened I had to confess the knife won.
How did being on FNS affect your culinary career?
I feel so blessed to have great opportunities come my way as a result of being on the show. I landed a great agent, have formed lasting business relationships and get to make a living doing what I love to do most: COOK!
What advice would you offer the next round of finalists?
Have fun, be yourself and appreciate the entire experience from start to finish.
When you look back, what would you have done differently?
I wish I would have relaxed a bit and not taken take myself so seriously. I look back at the footage and wish my offbeat and quirky personality would have shined through more. I have so many crazy food experiences and stories that I should have shared with the judges, like the time my mom killed the family dog by accident with her first Thanksgiving turkey — no lie! She was 18 and basted the turkey with a used paint brush.
Do people recognize you from being on the show?
Yes. Airports are the most common place. I was at Yankee Candle holiday shopping this year and the cashier said, "You're the girl from that cooking show!" It's amazing to think of all the people who watch NFNS when people spot you.
What was the greatest lesson you learned from your time on FNS?
The journey doesn't end when the show ends, always salt your pasta and remember to tell your stories when you cook. Your personal history with food is what makes you unique from everyone else.
What's your current favorite recipe or signature dish?
Tropical Chicken with Asian Fruit Salsa, and it can be found on my website.