Originally posted Thursday, September 6, 2018 by RODNEY HOfirstname.lastname@example.org on his AJC Radio & TV Talk blog
Atlanta chef Jamika Pessoa finished fourth nearly a decade ago on season five of “Food Network Star.”
As a result, she didn’t get a show on the network.
But the Food Network executives never forgot her. Over the years, they inserted her in numerous shows on both Food Network and sister station the Cooking Channel as a judge on shows such as “Donut Showdown,” “Clash of the Grandmas,” “Chopped Junior,” “Unique Sweets” and “Ultimate Summer Cook-Off.”
She also landed other TV gigs, most notably field correspondence work for ABC’s recently cancelled “The Chew.”
Then last year, she attempted to get back on “Food Network Star” via their “Comeback Kitchen” show. Jamika came in second but in an interview, she said “a lot of people said I should have won. I think the network saw that. They really started looking at me.”
Indeed, they bestowed her a show with two other hosts called “Let’s Eat,” which debuted last month and airs Sunday mornings at 9 a.m. The show, shot in New York, features Jamika, YouTube food star Brandi Milloy and Irish celebrity chef Stuart O’Keeffe discussing popular restaurant trends, food fads and hot recipes, like a younger version of “The Chew.”
“I tell people it’s the most deliciously fun 30 minutes on a Sunday morning you’ll ever have,” she said. “It’s a good mix of personalities. I bring my southern Caribbean flair. I keep it real. I have all the sassiness. I have the one liners and keeps everything going.”
Season one is 13 episodes with each episode a different theme. This past Sunday focused on Labor Day. There will be Halloween and Thanksgiving-themed episodes as well.
Pessoa, who has a two-year-old daughter, is bi-coastal now. splitting time with her engineer husband in Los Angeles and in Atlanta, where she still has a lot of family. “He’s the most supportive person,” Pessoa said. “He’s like my Steadman to his Oprah. He doesn’t want to be in the limelight. That’s not who he wants to be. I appreciate it.”
She is friends some of the other Atlanta “Food Network” alum including David Rose and Jernard Wells. (She has never met season 13 winner Tregaye Fraser but has common friends.)
“Food Network Star” has generated only one huge star: Guy Fieri. Pessoa said she was super impressed with Fieri when she met him on “Guy’s Grocery Games.” “He really embraces the contestants,” she said. “He encourages them, tells them how to work the kitchen.”
“Let’s Eat,” 9 a.m. Sundays, Food Network
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