Jen, 30 (Orlando, Fla.), considers herself a modern housewife who loves organization in the kitchen. A sales manager at Orlando's Crowne Plaza Downtown, Jen once worked as a line cook at Walt Disney World. The French Culinary Institute graduate spends Sunday evenings planning menus for the week and always creates tasty, economical meals for her loved ones.
Food specialty: Crowd-pleasing dinners that are planned in advance and don't break the budget
Favorite restaurant: Little Saigon (Vietnamese place) and Dexters in Orlando, Fla.
Three foods you can't live without (other than bread or water): Popcorn, cheese and garlic
Food you won't go near: Organ meats
Weirdest thing you've ever eaten: Tripe
Interests: Hanging out with family and friends. I like doing anything outside in the great Florida weather – minus hurricane season. I like to go out on the boat, wakeboard, wine nights with the girls, shopping, and Sunday grill outs with the boys as we watch NASCAR
Favorite Food Network chef: Ina Garten
Favorite shows (doesn't have to be Food Network): The Next Food Network Star, Barefoot Contessa, Fringe, The Real Housewives (of any city), and American Idol
Favorite food destination: Santorini, Greece – we went for our honeymoon. I wish we could import their tomatoes.
Culinary inspirations: My mom and The Joy of Cooking
Three people, alive or dead, whom you'd like to invite to a dinner party: Jackie O, Ina Garten, and Ben Koon (a friend from culinary school)
Favorite books: Something Borrowed, and Something Blue, Baby Proof and Memoirs of a Geisha
Favorite movies: We do not go to the movies much at all – Gabe thinks he will miss something going on out in the real world – um ok? So the movies I do remember liking are Moulin Rouge, Chances Are and Rudy
Why do you think you should be The Next Food Network Star? There is no one on Food Network like me. There is no one that the 20 somethings and 30 somethings out there can truly identify with. There is a whole age demographic that Food Network is missing the boat with. They need Jen Isham to be on the Food Network to show what real people in that age category would really do on weeknights and weekends and how to cook for those occasions.
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