Food Network Star Exit Interview: Linkie Marais

There was a return to sanity this week on Food Network Star.  After last week’s tomfoolery from the judges this week was comparatively sane.  Sure it was predictable that someone from Team Giada would get the axe, after all they have to keep those teams even right?  I did not think Linkie would be the one going home.  She was easily the most consistent member of her team.  But at the same time she did not have a great performance in this particular round.

Linkie MaraisLinkie Marais, 28 (North Attleborough, Mass.), moved from South Africa to Mississippi when she was 16, but her interest in baking and decorating cakes started long before then. During high school she worked for a wedding company, where she decorated wedding cakes and catered. She later graduated from college with a degree in culinary arts and worked as a pastry chef and cake artist. Linkie moved to Boston, where she worked for a high-profile baking company and was part of a team that decorated up to 80 cakes per week. Her recipes and techniques are influenced by the South African cuisine she grew up with.

Being as you are a baker, what are the chances we will see you competing on a show like Cupcake Wars?

I would love to do Cupcake Wars.  I’m an artist at heart and cake decorating allows me an outlet for my creativity.  It would give me a chance to show off my creative side.  Not just in design but also in flavor.  So, yes, I would be thrilled to compete on Cupcake Wars.

I think you would make a great judge.  Could you see yourself judging a show like Cupcake Wars?

Oh wow!  Yes I would really love that.  I would love to judge other people’s creativity.  I know where the contestants are coming from.  I’ve been in their shoes so I can appreciate what it takes compete in that setting.  I used to compete in pageants and then I went on to judge them.  I think having competed before makes you better equipped to judge.

In what ways has being on Food Network Star changed your life?

So many different ways.  For instance my friends on Facebook went from 600 to over 1,200 like over night.  People recognize me when I go to the store.  Even before the show started I was getting requests for interviews and other opportunities.  It’s really amazing how much it has changed my life.

Who on the show are you still good friends with?

Everyone really.  It was such a great group of people.  I can’t really say I’m closer to one more than the other.  I love all of them so much.  Judson and I used to sing together.  Martie was my roommate.  I talk to Josh, Emily.  Justin encouraged me a lot during the show and I had a great talk with Ippy the other day.  Nikki and I are really goods friends.  Really I love everyone so much.  I’d have to say that I’m still close with all of them.  I just want to give a shout out to all of them; they’ve been great.

What’s your next project?

I would love to do Dancing with the Stars but I don’t know if I see that happening.  I am working on a cookbook and I’m setting up a series of workshops.  I’m going to be teaching cake decorating – beginners and advanced, plus a fondant workshop.  Some will be demonstrations and others will be hands-on.  I find many people learn better when they do it themselves.  We’re looking at workshops in Nashville, New Orleans, Mississippi,  several here in Massachusetts.  When we firm up the dates I’ll post them on the web site.

 

To keep up with what’s happening with Linkie you can visit her web site HERE.  Be sure to check out all of the Star Season 8 Exit Interviews HERE.

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Stuart in 80 Words or Less
Stuart is a celebrity chef, food activist and award-winning food writer. He penned the cookbooks Third Coast Cuisine: Recipes of the Gulf of Mexico, No Sides Needed: 34 Recipes To Simplify Life and Amigeauxs - Mexican/Creole Fusion Cuisine. He hosts two Internet cooking shows "Everyday Gourmet" and "Little Grill Big Flavor." His recipes have been featured in Current, Lagniappe, Southern Tailgater, The Kitchen Hotline and on the Cooking Channel.

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Stuart’s Honors & Awards
2015 1st Place Luck of the Irish Cook-off
2015 4th Place Downtown Cajun Cook-off
2015 2nd Place Fins' Wings & Chili Cook-off
2014 2015 4th Place LA Gumbo Cook-off
2012 Taste Award nominee for best chef (web)
2012 Finalist in the Safeway Next Chef Contest
2011 Taste Award Nominee for Little Grill Big Flavor
2011, 12 Member: Council of Media Tastemakers
2011 Judge: 29th Chef's of the Coast Cook-off
2011 Judge: Dauphin Island Wing Cook-off
2011 Cooking Channel Perfect 3 Recipe Finalist
2011 Judge: Dauphin Island Gumbo Cook-off
2011 Culinary Hall of Fame Member
2010 Tasty Awards Judge
2010 Judge: Bayou La Batre Gumbo Cook-off
2010 Gourmand World Cookbook Award Nominee
2010 Chef2Chef Top 10 Best Food Blogs
2010 Denay's Top 10 Best Food Blogs
2009 2nd Place Bay Area Food Bank Chef Challenge
2008 Tava: Discovery Contest Runner-up
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