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Louisville's 'Food Network Star' talks JCTC and Paula Deen with tvline.com

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Damaris Phillips Damaris Phillips
Phillips said she always thought there was a place for her version of southern cooking on Food Network, even when Paula Deen was still on the culinary channel. Phillips said she always thought there was a place for her version of southern cooking on Food Network, even when Paula Deen was still on the culinary channel.

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - The Louisville native who recently became the latest Food Network star on the culinary channel's reality show of the same name, talked in a new interview with tvline.com about her college days in the Derby city and how she feels about unofficially taking over for Paula Deen as the network's southern food expert.

Damaris Phillips, 32, told reporter Michael Slezak that she applied to culinary school at Jefferson Community and Technical College in Louisville after watching an early season of Food Network Star.

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"I literally enrolled at JCTC because I thought it was one of the necessary steps in order to be on Food Network Star," Phillips told tvline.com. "My journey was never hard, it just happened," Phillips continued. "From the second I held a knife, from the second I was in culinary school, it's all felt too good to be true."

Former Food Network star Paula Deen's troubles stemming from her admission that she used racial slurs in the past and her desire to host a traditional plantation wedding for her brother began after season 9 of Food Network Star wrapped production in March. Now, Phillips stands to possibly fill the gap left by Deen's ouster.

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"I am very, very excited to talk about my version of southern cooking," Phillips said. "Even when Paula Deen was on the network, I thought there was a place for my version of the south. I really believe I have something to say. I make my food in such a way that people can eat it every single day."

Phillips told tvline.com the sample pilot she shot for Food Network Star, called Eat, Date, Love, could be revamped before it hits the air. "There definitely will be conversations, since we just finished the finale," she said. "We'll see if that's the best idea or if there's a better way to utilize me. I just want to make sure I bring my point-of-view to the table."

To find out Phillips' favorite dish she cooked on Food Network Star, the do-over moment she wishes she could have had on the show and whether she dreads questions about the Paula Deen scandal, click here for Michael Slezak's complete interview on tvline.com.

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