When I first saw Kelsey Nixon compete on the Next Food Network Star last season, I knew there was something special about the perky blonde from Utah. Now, a year after she was kicked off the show, Kelsey is blazing a trail for herself in the food industry. Recently, I had the chance to chat with Kelsey and I was surprised to learn that while spirited, she's not overly hyper. Besides cooking with Spike Mendelsohn on her Food2 show, Kelsey's working as a kitchen consultant in New York City and is Pyrex's new spokeswoman. To find out what Kelsey thinks of Spike and see her impressions of the current cast of NFNS, keep reading.
PartySugar: How has your life changed since you appeared on the Next Food Network Star?
Kelsey Nixon: Oh gosh. Since being on the show, the whole career I hoped to have has come to life. The best thing, win or lose, is that I've been able to increase my profile and have more clientele in my personal-cheffing business.
PS: What did you think of the Food Network's portrayal of you?
KN: You know it's a risk when you go on a reality show. I'm perky, but I don't like to think I'm an over caffeinated cheerleader. In a situation like this you either get intimidated or you get excited. I got so excited! I think they accurately portrayed me. Although, I don't think they did that to everyone on the show.
PS: What is it like working with Spike?
KN: It's so great! I was nervous when I found out he was going to be my co-host, but he's such a gentleman and we've totally bonded. I only met him the night before we started to shoot. Right away we knew our place on the series. We are two different people and have two ways of looking at things. We have sort of a brother/sister competitive way of dealing with each other.
PS: What separates a cook who might aspire to Top Chef and one who aspires to the Next Food Network Star?
KN: Well nobody can deny that they're totally different skill levels. The people who are on Top Chef want to become chefs. They want to have an amazing careers and open restaurants. The people who are on NFNS have more personality and are great cooks, but not necessarily great restaurant chefs. Cooking for people in a restaurant is very different from cooking for your family.
PS: What do you think of the current season of the Next Food Network Star?
KN: I was so surprised in the beginning when everyone was throwing each other under the bus! During my season, Food Network wanted drama between the contestants, but we didn't give it to them. It's sad to see that trust issues were getting in the way of things. I'm glad Melissa has done so well. Her qualifications are different, but I'm happy to see her make good food.
PS: Do you still dream of being a Food Network star?
KN: You know when I was on the show I thought I would just die if it never happens. But now I've realized that there is so much to do in this industry. Everyone doesn't just work in restaurants. If it doesn't work out on camera, sometimes I think I would like to become a culinary producer.
PS: What's next for you?
KN: I'm excited to continue the Food2 project. I have this great opportunity to work with Pyrex. I'm launching their new line. I've been doing a lot of kitchen consulting. You know helping people figure out what meals work for them based on their family's needs and how much time they have. I also have plans to travel.