'Food Network Star' Interview: Alicia Talks Stress, Cameras and Penny
'Food Network Star' Interview: Alicia Talks Stress, Cameras and Penny
Matt Click
Matt Click
Staff Writer, BuddyTV
Poor Alicia Sanchez had a rough time on this season of Food Network Star, didn't she? Her nerves were constantly getting the best of her, and she cried during or immediately after almost every challenge. And let's not forget the tension between her and fellow contestant Penny Davidi. Last night, Alicia succumbed to the pressure, and was eliminated from the competition. Her cupcakes just didn't cut it, and her increasingly frazzled nerves weren't helping matters either.

Alicia talked to me today about her three-episode stint on FNS, and she even managed to get in a pretty nice dig at Penny!

Looking back, what, if anything, would you have done differently in this competition?

I would have tried to have more fun! I wanted this so badly and I got inside my head the whole time, which stressed me out.

This season has been much more dramatic and confrontational than past seasons. Do you feel that being competitive and cutthroat is a viable strategy on Food Network Star?

I'm not sure I would have wanted to be on this show had I known what the format required. In the past it seemed like everyone played nice. But when you're experiencing it, its feels more competitive, which can bring out the negative. I don't think being cutthroat is a strategy I would employ to get what I want -- it's just not worth it. At the end of the day being a nice, honest, upfront person will get your further in life.

Which Food Network chef do you admire most, and why?

I like Alton Brown a lot. I like his scientific style and his geek chic persona. And he was really fun to work with at Farmer's Market. I'm a huge Nigella Lawson fan. Some could take a few pointers about being sexy in the kitchen from her! I like Ina Garten a lot too -- she makes me want to get on the Jitney to the Hamptons and throw a party!

Of the remaining contestants, who do you think has what it takes to be the next Food Network Star?


How do you balance taking and applying the judge's criticism with retaining your sense of self? How difficult is it to remain true to yourself when you're being critiqued by the likes of Bobby Flay and Susie Fogelson?

Being criticized on television was tough enough, but it was really difficult when you first had to hear all of the praise that a fellow contestant was being given, then they throw the book at you and it's like, "Yikes, what did I get myself into?" The most difficult criticism is when you weren't expecting it, or when you hear something that you never thought of about yourself. Like my accent -- I had no idea that would be a topic for improvement.

What is your least favorite ingredient to cook with?

Chocolate -- it's super temperamental and needs to be handled with kid gloves.

What is one ingredient you could never do without?

I can't list just one. I have a top three: butter, bacon and truffle oil.

If you were given your own Food Network show, what would it look like?

I didn't love being in front of the camera all by myself with no one to directly feed off of or communicate with. I think I'd be a strong co-host or a host with guests to talk with on camera.

It sounds to me like maybe Alicia had some second thoughts as the competition went on. Maybe I was right last night when I said she seemed relieved after she was eliminated. I don't blame her -- the competition was getting ugly, and it didn't seem like Alicia enjoyed being on camera all that much once the competition got going.

I wish Alicia luck in her future endeavors, and I hope she knows that when it came to the Penny Davidi and Alicia Sanchez rivalry, I was always Team Alicia.

Food Network Star airs Sundays at 9pm on Food Network.

(Image courtesy of Food Network)