With this season’s Food Network Star nearing the end of the competition, it means that more chefs have been eliminated from the show. Last week, we were able to speak with Justin Balmes. This week, I was delighted to be able to speak with Jyll Everman, who was eliminated in week 8.
TT: As a caterer and Food Network Star contestant, you have a vast amount of cooking experience. What is one simple thing our readers can do to improve their cooking?
JE: Focus on one technique at a time and master it! Spend a week braising different cuts of meat and developing your own flavors, making the recipes your own. Maybe the next week grab some different types of fish and spend time learning to properly sauté, grill and roast them. Find ways to learn simple techniques that bring out the best flavors of the food.
TT: What home-style dinner should every home cook be able to master?
JE: A simple Pasta Pomodoro and Bread Pudding…staples in my house!
TT: What bite-sized dish has a lot of wow factor but actually is easily mastered at home?
JE: Any kind of slider! I do Shrimp Po’boy Sliders, Filet Mignon Sliders, Chicken Fried Steak on Buttermilk Biscuit Sliders, etc. Take your favorite burger or sandwich and just shrink it down….people are ALWAYS thrilled with them and they are easy to knock out.
TT: Is there an appetizer that you think is better ordered at a restaurant than attempted at home?
JE: I always order whatever fresh burrata appetizer is on the menu, because restaurants can always get the GOOD burrata, and I can NEVER find that yummy, goopy quality of mozzarella in a grocery store or specialty store.
TT: Now a little bit about you: what are your future plans? Will you return to catering, write a cookbook?
JE: My cookbook is 90% done, and it’s all about my finger foods. My catering company (Jyllicious Bites) focuses on taking comfort foods and making them small and elegant, and I think there are a lot of people out there who would love to make Mini Chicken Pot Pies or Petite Lobster Rolls for their next occasion! Also, I really enjoyed being on camera on Food Network, so I am hoping to be able to do some tv spots and demos in the future. I also teach cooking classes.
TT: Having watched Food Network Star, you showed both delicious home-style meals and bite-sized delights. Which style of cooking do you prefer?
JE: I consider myself a Finger Food Specialist, and that’s what I love to create. However, I am a midwest girl who loves cheesy comfort food style meals when I am cooking at home!
TT: What was the best part about your Food Network Star experience?
JE: The FN chefs I was able to meet (Ina Garten! Come on!) and the lifelong friends I made.