Star-a-Day: Christina Fitzgerald

Get to know Christina, a finalist on Food Network Star, Season 11.

Photo by: Eddy Chen ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Eddy Chen, 2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

There are traditional job interviews, which are surely daunting, then there's Food Network Star: an intense 11-week journey that requires nothing short of flawless technique in the kitchen and a downright sparkly personality on camera. Beginning June 7 at 9|8c, 12 all-new rivals will put their dreams on the line as they endure mentors Bobby Flay and Giada De Laurentiis' lofty challenges, all in the hopes of scoring the most-sought-after culinary career: Food Network host. Star Talk is bringing you the first look at each of the finalists in exclusive, candid interviews, and today we're introducing Missouri's Christina Fitzgerald.

Christina, 29 (St. Louis), grew up in a big family with six brothers, so she developed a competitive spirit and an ability to stand out at an early age. Encouraged by her late brother to follow her passion and enroll in culinary school, Christina went on to graduate at the top of her class and win several cooking competitions with her internationally inspired cuisine. Now married, with a 6-year-old daughter, she still loves to travel and bring new flavors home to her kitchen.

Describe your culinary POV in one sentence — if you can.

Christina Fitzgerald: I don't want to be boxed into a point of view. I love authentic flavors. I love fusion sometimes. But I really just kind of go with whatever type of mood I'm in. I like all different types of foods, so I don't want to be boxed into just making one specific thing, because I love all food.

If you could ask Bobby and Giada to teach you one thing in the kitchen, what would it be?

CF: I'm really excited to hear what they have to say about my food. And then, obviously, they're the best of the best, so I want to see what they would have done differently and how that's going to affect me as a cook.

What one thing do you really want to convey to the mentors about you, your food or your would-be Food Network show?

CF: I just want them to see me for who I am, which is someone that I think is kind, fun-loving and a great cook.

Win or lose, what's something you want to take away from this experience?

CF: I just want to hone my skill; I want to learn more and I want to be the best version of myself that I can possibly be.

What's your greatest strength in the kitchen?
CF: I'm tough.
What was the first dish you perfected?

CF: I would say when we competed for that ACF competition, it was perfect. I mean, we spent hours and hours and hours for a long time practicing it, so there was no room for error. It was perfect.

What dish or ingredient will we never catch you eating?

CF: Not the biggest fan of eggplant. I mean, I've had it. I know how it's supposed to taste. I have prepared it many different ways. It's just nothing I would ever order or make for myself.

What's your favorite late-night snack?

CF: I love popcorn. I remember, with all my brothers, going to the movies all the time, and it's just nostalgic for me. So I love popcorn when I'm watching TV — Food Network.

What is one must-have dish at your last supper?

CF: I would have a big ol' bowl of ramen — and good ramen.

What do you want to say about yourself to fans watching at home?

CF: I just hope that through me, that people see who I really am. And I hope that they can be inspired. I was scared out of my mind to leave the career that I had and jump into this, but as scary as it was, I am so glad that I did it. If there's anybody out there unhappy in the position that they're in or if they're worried or if there's fear or doubt — anything that's holding them back — I hope that it's sort of an inspiration. It's never too late to start pursuing your dream. And even if it's tough, if you're living towards it, if you're doing what you love, you already won.

Rapid fire: Think fast!
Ketchup, mustard or mayonnaise? Mayonnaise
Chocolate or vanilla? Chocolate
Bagels or doughnuts? Doughnuts
Cream cheese or butter? Both
Coffee or tea? Coffee
Burgers or hot dogs? Burgers
French fries or onion rings? Onion rings
White meat or dark? Dark

Cake or pie? I'm not a super-sweet person, but I'd go with pie.

Beer or wine? Wine

French toast or pancakes? Well, my pancakes are pretty bomb, so I'd say pancakes.

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