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'Food Network Star': Meet Jyll Everman of Glendora

June 3, 2011 |  6:00 am

Jill_Everman

Season 7 of "Food Network Star" kicks off Sunday night with three SoCal competitors all vying to be the next Guy Fieri. We chatted with the local finalists in advance of the new show. Today, we meet Jyll Everman of Glendora:

Everman owns Jyllicious Bites, a catering company, and teaches cooking-and-entertaining classes at Village Kitchen Shoppe in Glendora and throughout Southern California. She considers herself a finger food specialist, turning out bite-sized comfort food such as miniature chicken pot pies, baked potato skins and more. So, if she wins the food world's equivalent of "American Idol," that's what her show will focus on as well: "I take all the things you love big and making them small."

That culinary approach is a hit the real world, she said, adding that clients love an all-finger-food spread. But she said it backfired in at least one challenge in the "Food Network Star" kitchens when she applied her "big-to-small" tricks to a featured ingredient: prime rib. The judges "don't want a prime rib bite, they want a prime rib," she said.

Host Bobby Flay said that most of this season's competitors appear to be split into folks who bring personality, versus those who bring cooking chops. Flay said that's bad news for the entertainers because, "If you can't cook, you can't win."

Everman insists: "I feel that I can bring both."

In the season opener, viewers will watch Everman ensnared in a dramatic showdown with a teammate. No spoilers allowed, but she fails to deliver with her own dish because she's too busy being a team player. The judges take her to task for her shortsightedness, and it's a lesson she won't need to learn twice.

"It goes completely against my grain to be 'I'm only in this for myself,' " she said. "I’m not a drama queen in any way. I would be the first to pitch in and get 'er done. But I don't make that mistake again."

Why she decided to try out for the show: "I never thought I would make it, but my mother and my husband wanted me to do it and I did it. They pushed me to do it.”

What surprised her about the experience? "Bobby Flay is very critical and expects perfection. My cooking style isn't his cooking. I'm from Wisconsin, we don't cook with a lot of jalapeños, so he didn’t always get where I was coming from."

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-- Rene Lynch
Twitter / renelynch

Photo: 'Food Network Star' contestant Jyll Everman. Credit: Food Network

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