Food Network Star Exit Interview: Martita Jara

All season long the judges have talked about how much they loved Martita and on more than one occasion I mentioned that editing must have been skewing what they loved about her.  It just wasn’t translating to the final product.  Well, after talking with her I can see exactly what Bob and Susie and Giada and everyone in the cast loves about Martita.  She’s is one of the most personable ladies I’ve met in some time, so warm and so sweet.  I totally get it now.  Editing sucks.

Check out her post-elimination Facebook post:

Truly humbled by all of the love, support and praise that has been shown to me through out my journey on Foodnetwork Star! Incredible mentor, Giada De Laurentiis, loving & kind crew and the best cast/friends that a girl like me, who comes from such an incredible loving family, could’ve ever been teamed up with! At first we were separate teams but within a couple of days we all became a family and to me that is what you all, Season 8 cast of Food Network Star, will always be! Thank you to all who have been and continue to send messages of love & support via facebook, twitter, txt, voicemail, believe me I feel the LOVE! I am truly Blessed! This is just the beginning! The best is yet to come!!! :-) XOXO

Martita JaraMartita Jara, 35 (San Diego), began working in her family’s restaurant business at a young age, and her mom’s authentic Mexican home cooking inspired Martita’s culinary passion. Her parents moved to the U.S. two years before she was born, and Martita credits them with her work ethic and perseverance. She attended a few semesters at culinary school, but most of her skills are self-taught. A vivacious newlywed who loves to entertain, Martita cooks with loads of Latin flavor and lots of love.

Some Star contestants leave the show having had their fill of TV and others leave hungrier than before.  Which category would you fall under?

Oh, I’m hungry.  I’m ready to start.  I’m ready to go.  To me getting eliminated was like, “OK.  Now what’s next?”  Let’s get busy.  Doing the show was just like a little tease to me of what’s to come.

What was the hardest part of the experience?

Being away from my family was really difficult.  They kept saying tell us more family stories and my thing was every time I’d start talking about my family I’d start crying and want to go get on a plane and go home.  I have the best family in the whole world.  For me to talk about them while being so far away from them was just too difficult.

Which cast members do you still have a strong bond with?

We’ve all stayed in touch.   Being over on the West Coast it’s a little bit hard because so many of them are on the East Coast but we all stay in touch.  Nikki is the only one I’ve seen.  I don’t know I think we’re all pretty close.

I’m so excited to be in New York (for the live finale in two weeks) because there wasn’t any tension or bad energy with anyone.  We all really got along and it was so amazing.  Even though I haven’t been physically close to them I feel close to them always.

What’s the number one thing you learned on the show?

I think we can all do a lot more than we thought we could do.   You don’t realize what you are capable of until you’re pushed to do something.  I am capable of a lot more than I think I am; there’s no limits.

Do you have any projects going on at the moment?

I’m working on a line of gourmet margaritas.   I’m getting all my recipes together, that’s taking a long time but that’s OK, cuz I’m trying to get a publisher for a cookbook.  I’ve been talking to a couple of people about doing a pilot for a show.  I’ve actually written a pitch for a show and sent it to a couple of production companies.  I’m working on a few things.


For more on Martita check out her web page HERE.  Be sure to check out all of the Star Season 8 Exit Interviews HERE.

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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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