Since winning “Food Network Star” in 2013, Louisvillian Damaris Phillips has etched out quite a career for herself, both on and off camera.
A sweet and sassy chef who sprinkles a little charm on her Southern cuisine, Phillips went on to host her own show, “Southern at Heart,” for five seasons, as well as currently co-hosting “Southern and Hungry” and “The Bobby and Damaris Show.”
You can also often find her crashing “The Rachel Ray Show,” and just last year, she put out her first cookbook, “Southern Girl Meets Vegetarian Boy.”
Phillips, 37, graduated from Jefferson Community and Technical College with a degree in culinary arts, and despite all the national attention, she still calls Louisville her home.
Insider Louisville asked what keeps her here, and her answer was simple: “Community. I love the people who call Louisville home.”
In fact, Phillips let it slip that she may have some good news for us soon — say, perhaps a chef gig or even her own restaurant (both are just hopeful speculation from us) — but we’ll let you try to read between the lines.
“It’s still too early to talk about, but I am finally ready to join the hospitality industry in Louisville for myself,” she says. “I’ll be sure to let everyone know what’s in the works when plans are finalized.”
While we patiently wait for the news, Phillips will be participating in a workshop at this weekend’s Bourbon & Beyond, titled “Modern Traditions.”
She’ll join fellow chef Ray Garcia and musician Don Felder (The Eagles) to discuss how each pays homage to their culture and traditions with their recipes and songwriting. The free session will be held at 5 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 23.
Phillips says she’s looking forward to the entire weekend.
“I’m looking forward to seeing so many people excited about our city and bourbon,” she says. “I can’t wait to celebrate with everyone through great music.”
And speaking of bourbon, the Kentucky woman is a big fan, naturally. Asked how she prefers to drink her bourbon, she jokes, “Any way I can get it!” But honestly, she says, it depends on the day. “Sometimes I’m an on-the-rocks girl. When I’m my fiercest, I’ll have it neat. When I want a little comfort, I go for a Kentucky Mule.”
We caught up with Phillips before the madness of Bourbon & Beyond begins to ask her some very important questions …
What’s the most surprising thing on your Bucket List?
I’d like to be in a Broadway musical.
What poster was on your wall in junior high?
If you were mayor, to whom would you give the key to the city?
Lori Mattingly, a social butterfly through and through. I don’t think I’ve ever met a better ambassador of our wonderfully unique city.
What are your preferred pizza toppings?
Red sauce, cheese and a sprinkle of red pepper flakes. And if a couple of green olives fall on there, I’m not mad at it.
If you could be any age for a week, what would it be?
I’d like to be 102. My grampy is 102, and I’m always curious what the world is like with that much experience.
What famous person do people say you resemble the most?
I’m not sure who I look like, but I can tell you that I’m often mistaken for Daphne Oz (formerly of “The Chew”), which I think is a real compliment.
Who would you most like to be stuck with in an elevator?