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The Next Rachael Ray?

Photo by sergiosphoto.com

WITH REALITY SHOWS devouring TV ratings shares these days, cable cooking/lifestyle channel the Food Network wants its piece of the pie. The network, which churned out the bubbly-beyond-belief Rachael Ray and gorgeous gourmand Giada De Laurentiis, premieres the third season of its hit reality series, The Next Food Network Star, June 3.

La Mesa’s Amy Finley, 32 (pictured above), was one of 11 finalists flown to Food Network headquarters in New York to compete in a series of challenges testing personality, performance and food knowledge. Guest judges——Ray and De Laurentiis among them——narrowed the field to two contestants. Viewers vote online to select the winner, who gets his or her own six-episode deal. The results will be announced during a live finale July 22.

A stay-at-home mom of two (16 months and 4 years), Finley learned how to cook at a young age from her grandmother. She attended culinary school in France, where she honed her distinct cooking style——“home-style French comfort food.” After returning to San Diego, she landed a pastry chef gig at Laurel; most recently she’s worked as a freelance caterer.

The top chef is yet to be named, but Finley’s already thought out her show concept and name. “I’d call it The Gourmet Next Door,” she says. “I want to demystify gourmet foods and teach people how to create dishes that are sophisticated yet simple.” Sounds like a winning recipe.

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