From the very first episode of Food Network Star
, Orchid Paulmeier had it all. She was charismatic, fun and a good cook to boot. She told funny anecdotes, was comfortable in front of the camera and quickly set herself apart from her fellow contestants. Many fans thought Orchid would win it all. Unfortunately, Food Network Star
has an annoying habit of dooming its early frontrunners. The judges expect more of them, and they start out so far on top that there's nowhere to go but down. We've seen it before, and history is doomed to repeat itself.
This frontrunner syndrome greatly affected Orchid Paulmeier, and on Sunday, she said goodbye in a surprise elimination that elicited gasps from her fellow finalists and screams of rage in living rooms across America. If you missed it, check out my recap
I was able to talk to Orchid yesterday, and she discussed this frontrunner syndrome, and how this won't be the last we're seeing of her.
First off, just let me say that I had you pegged as a potential winner in episode one, and I was very sad to see you go. Were you surprised that you were sent home?
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I was sad to go too! I was very surprised to be put in the bottom three, but the way the challenge was set up, that's how it worked out. When Penny and Chris were safe, I pretty much knew that this wouldn't be my show to win. I knew I might not have what it took to stay on, and that's OK. I left proud of what I accomplished and felt I left with dignity.
Food Network Star has a history of dooming its early frontrunners. As an early judge favorite, do you feel like the judges expected more from you?
Absolutely 100%! Sometimes I wish I would have not gave them my all the first round. As soon as they said frontrunner, I was like (in slow motion of course) "NOOOOOOOO -- not the frontrunner curse!"
Was it hard being around some of the stronger personalities in the competition?
I am around big personalities ALL the time, and usually I am the biggest. But it was hard being around those strong personalities not knowing if anyone was really in your corner -- and no one really is. After all, we are all going for the same dream, same show, same contract. We all wanted to win.
Of the remaining finalists, who do you think has what it takes to be the next Food Network Star?
I like Jeff and Vic.
What is one ingredient you could never do without?
Which challenge was your favorite? Which challenge was your least favorite?
I actually loved the Cougar Town
Challenge. 1) Courtney Cox and Paula Deen, and I loved the atmosphere and crowd we were serving. I did not care for the Fourth of July Challenge when I got brisket and mac to cook. I took it so literally, and didn't think to cook outside the box. I should have taken a second, thought of flank or flat iron steak and went a different route -- hindsight is always 20/20.
What would Orchid's Food Network show look like?
My show will feature foods that I have fell in love with (southern- and Asian-inspired). I'll visit others who excel or are known for it, and then teach my viewers how to make it with my own little tips and tricks. I am a mom of three, business owner and wife of 15 years, I have a lot to share and teach people, and a wonderful demeanor to do it.
You have a lot of fans on BuddyTV. Anything you'd like to tell them?
Don't for a second count me out -- I'm not letting Food Network get rid of me that easily! Keep voting, keep looking for me, keep blogging/facebooking/tweeting. I will see all of you again soon!
(Image courtesy of Food Network)