Profession: Certified personal chef
Cuisine style: Bold twists on traditional dishes, especially those of her Caribbean heritage.
Atlanta work history: Interned at the Ritz-Carlton Buckhead.
Favorite local restaurant: Thai Palate Cuisine in Midtown.
Earliest memories of cooking shows: "When I was 8 or 9, I remember watching on PBS this old guy who used to cook with wine. It was funny watching this guy get drunk and cook. I thought you cooked with wine with everything!"
On what being on the show is like: "It's the most unbelievable roller-coaster ride you can imagine. It really plays with your mind. You're constantly trying to think and strategize. 'Is that guy out to get me?' "
In the first episode: Pessoa's Floribbean shrimp gets mixed reviews. Brown, paraphrasing Dickens, calls it "the best of times, the worst of times" and the shrimp itself "the gatekeeper of badness."
(Her response: "I'm definitely not going to say anything bad about Alton Brown. I love you!")
But she gets a compliment from Giada de Laurentiis: "She has something a lot of Food Network viewers could connect with."