A Hawaii-based military spouse is getting a second chance at cooking in Food Network’s kitchen.
Amy Pottinger, creator of Caviar and Crayons, was a season 13 finalist for Food Network Star. The mom of two made it to the final four combining the adaptability learned as a military spouse with her versatile knowledge of fresh ingredients. Now, she’s back with another opportunity to showcase her skills after successfully competing against previous stars on “Comeback Kitchen.”
She was contacted by Food Network to join seven other hopefuls for redemption. Each of her competitors appeared on previous seasons of Food Network Star, giving them a greater edge on understanding the unique setup of cooking on reality television. Though, Pottinger says, the unpredictable nature of the show leaves little room for prep.
“I know they throw a lot of curveballs at you so there’s not a lot you can do to prepare. So, I know how to cook, I know how to talk, so I just kind of went into it,” she explained.
Her initial appearance on Food Network motivated her to expand her culinary services and grow her blog.
“After airing wrapped, I just really—honestly—not that much changed, but I had a bunch of people ask me if I could start doing catering and private chef services, so I LLC’ed myself and started a company. So, I’ve been pretty busy doing catering and private chef stuff over here (Honolulu, Hawaii),” she said.
The self-proclaimed culinary chameleon has also been working to expand her blog—including posting videos to share her love of cooking with followers. Caviar and Crayons features Pottinger’s recipes, some of which are inspired by use of ingredients from her duty stations. It is one of the ways she married the on-the-go nature of military life with her culinary portfolio. She explores each new location by checking out farmers’ markets, local produce, and items specific to the area.
Overall, Pottinger describes the experience of cooking on a national stage as “very overwhelming,” but she adds that competing on Comeback Kitchen was less stressful than Food Network Star—in part because the latter was a longer number of episodes.
“It’s just more difficult than it looks, and it’s such a high intensity competition that going back to it, I just had to try and stay out of my own head. I tend to be a hyper-perfectionist. I had to be like ‘okay, that’s not perfect. Sell it anyway,’” she explained. “So, Comeback Kitchen was a lot of fun. It was different doing it with a whole group of people who had been through it before and since it was a shorter competition (there’s only 3 episodes), it was a lot of fun because they had been there before and knew what the competition was about. It was less stressful in a way.”
As Pottinger looks ahead, she is considering culinary school in the future and maybe one day opening her own restaurant. However, she says those goals will need to wait until life stabilizes. Her husband is currently serving on active duty with the Air Force which means deployments are still very much a part of their family’s lifestyle.
To see Amy’s return to Food Network, tune in on Sundays starting May 27th at 9 pm EST/ 8 pm CST.
More about Chef and Food Blogger Amy Pottinger –
What age did you start cooking:
I began cooking around 18 or so. I did not grow up in a cooking home.
Favorite meal to cook:
I love octopus, charred octopus. But, my husband isn’t a fan, we cook a lot of really fresh Mexican food.
Ingredients you’re always willing to splurge on:
Cheese, seafood, local produce, quality spices.
Go-to recipe for quick weekday meals:
Name one culinary inspiration in your life:
I love Alex Guarnaschelli’s personality. She is fearless, unapologetic but also kind and funny.
If you were going to recommend one must-have item for a kitchen, what would it be:
A good knife. It makes a world of difference. And of course, a wine opener.