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Interview: Damaris Phillips

I caught up with Chef Damaris Phillips, star of Food Network’s new show Southern at Heart and the winner of last season’s Food Network Star.

Damaris shares her take on the relationship between food and music, her favorite Louisville bands and venues, and the best Taylor Swift karaoke songs.

Damaris Phillips

After The Show: Do you ever listen to music while cooking? Would you recommend that people use music as a way to enhance the cooking experience?

Damaris: When I am throwing a party, I always listen to pop music of today OR the ’90s. I like to dance around the kitchen singing and gearing up for fun. For mass quantity of cooking, I’m going modern country, not too loud, but perfect for singing along and breaking up the monotony.

Thanksgiving cooking, I pull out old favorites from Ryan Adams or Lucinda Williams. And for Christmas, I ALWAYS listen to Christmas music. All-time favorite is Mariah Carey’s “All I Want For Christmas Is You.” Seriously, music makes everything more fun, more real, more alive.

Louisville, Kentucky plays a big role on your show Southern at Heart. What are your favorite local Louisville bands and venues?

I have always been a big fan of Joe Manning’s music….Also Cabin. And my favorite venue has to be Headliners. It reminds me of seeing G. Love and Special Sauce when I was 20 years old. I felt so cool. Also, I am always pleased when a concert is at The Palace Theatre.

Sites like Turntable Kitchen try to pair songs with recipes. Do you see any connections between music and food?

In my life, my mood affects my cooking, from technique to creativity to balance. Music highly impacts my mood so it would reason that if music affects my mood and my mood affects my cooking, then music affects my cooking. College Intro To Logic at its finest! I loved that class.

Since you described yourself as a “karaoke superstar,” what are some songs by southern bands that you love to sing? Would you ever share your singing talents on Southern at Heart?

I am often caught singing Dolly Parton songs at karaoke. Also the Dixie Chicks, Shania Twain, Miranda Lambert, Johnny Cash, Randy Travis. Maybe it would be easier to say which southern bands I DON’T love to sing. And in regards to karaoke on Southern at Heart, I don’t know if people can handle it!

On Food Network Star, you completed a lot of challenges under intense time pressure and stress. How did you achieve calm/balance and mitigate stress?

I would focus on my breathing to calm and re-center. I find that’s what I do most when stress starts to close in. I breathe lots of deep breaths.

And finally, what are your favorite Taylor Swift songs?

“You Belong With Me” because it is going to be AWESOME for karaoke. I’m saving it for my birthday party! And “Begin Again” because, let’s be real, we’ve all been there.

Ok that’s all I got. Thank you for this interview. Music and food – what a lovely couple. Almost as perfect as food and love!

Thanks Damaris! Tune in to Southern at Heart on Sunday mornings at 10:30 on Food Network, and check out DamarisPhillips.com

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