9 Questions with Palak Patel, New Food Network Star Finalist

We caught up with Palak about her style in the kitchen and out.

Contestant Palak Patel, as seen on Food Network Star, Season 14.

Photo by: Smallz & Raskind

Smallz & Raskind

Food Network Star is bringing the heat in the Season 14 premiere, with the first-of-its-kind episode in Florida. But before the fun in the sun — and some inevitable drama — begins on June 10, we’ve got the first interviews with all the hopefuls. Read on below to get to know them.

As a child, Palak, 38, learned how to make traditional Indian food with her mother, aunts and grandma, who are the most influential women in her life. After her family moved to the United States when she was 12, Palak embraced the American culture, experimenting with unfamiliar food and flavors with unbound enthusiasm. While working a desk job for many years, Palak decided to follow her dreams, graduating from the French Culinary Institute. Currently a personal chef, Palak wants to share her love of Indian food and how to use spices and condiments to create vibrant flavors.

Describe your culinary POV in one sentence.
Fine casual. Basically I’ve taken a lot of things that I’ve eaten in my life and done it in a casual form.

What made you fall in love with food?
My mom, aunt and grandmother put me in the kitchen and they told me I wouldn’t get married if I didn’t know how to cook, so by default, I was in the kitchen.

What technical kitchen skill are you best at?
Being able to come up with creative sauces on the fly.

What's your signature dish?
Chicken curry because I beat Bobby Flay with it.

What do you say to people who think they can't learn how to cook?
I don’t buy that. Everyone can learn how to cook.

Let's say it's a regular Tuesday night and you're at home. What's for dinner?
Probably a one-pot meal, like a stew of some kind.

Who's your food/chef spirit animal?
I love Alice Waters from Chez Panisse. She’s the queen of food.

What's something very few people know about you?
My life is pretty public right now! That I’m incredibly close to my family. Very, very tight. They’re my world.

Food pics in restaurants: yay or nay. Why?
I do it sometimes but not often. There are some instances where I feel like it’s a great dish and I should post it on social media, but not every single restaurant. No. there are some instances where I just want to enjoy my meal and enjoy the experience.

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