When you see foods like smothered chicken, sweet potato pie, fried catfish and gumbo, you began to get the feeling of home. Louisiana is famous for its good food, fun and family. Louisiana has also produced some of the world’s finest chefs. Lynette Thomas is a great example of a fine chef from Louisiana who demonstrates that love for food. Lynette Thomas beams at showing love for food everyday whether she is feeding her family, students or catering an event. As a former contestant on Food Network’s show “Chopped,” Lynette has been able to take her love for food to the masses. She coined the phrase “we smother, fry or bake” on the show and respectfully came in second place. Area Magazine sat down with the cafeteria manager of St. Martinville Primary School for a down home interview about her passion for cooking, becoming well-known and all the things associated with love.
Dorothy: Hi Lynette! It’s so good to speak to you. How were you able to appear on “Chopped?”
Lynette: AFT (American Federation of Teachers) had a contest for an “Everyday Hero” and my mom and daughter decided to enter me because of everything I do at the school. She submitted it and it went to Washington D.C. AFT and I happened to be chosen. I was the first cafeteria person to be chosen as the “Everyday Hero” in the union. I went to Detroit to receive my award and they decided it would be a good idea to do “Chopped.” And that’s how I ended up on “Chopped.” I was kind of iffy about it, but I decided to do it and we went from there.
Dorothy: How did you enjoy your experience on “Chopped?”
Lynette: It was nice. I really didn’t know anything about the show so they had to send me a DVD. I decided to go and my daughter went with me. We were there from about 8 in the morning to 12 midnight. They showed us what we had to do and I got a chance to meet the other ladies who would be on the show.
Dorothy: Wow, I commend you on that because all your cooking was timed!
Lynette: Yes it was! And they keep up with that time too! (laughs) You can’t touch your baskets until they say so and it’s really fast.
Dorothy: So, how did you feel when you were competing on “Chopped?”
Lynette: When I was on “Chopped” I was very nervous! Don’t get me wrong, I was very excited too! It was a great experience doing it. I was like wow, look where I am! I’m doing this on a show! I had a lot of people rooting for me and I didn’t want to disappoint them. I came in second place.
Dorothy: Oh wow! That’s awesome! You made it to second place. That’s three rounds! You almost won! But in essence, you did win because you won for yourself. You were nervous, but you still went and persevered.
Lynette: And that’s what people said. They were all on Facebook and Twitter saying the lady that won, won the competition, but Miss Lynette won the hearts of millions.
Lynette: People from all over the United States said I was the favorite. That made me feel good!
Dorothy: I admire you for making it through that show. Then, you made it to the finals! You go girl!
Lynette: (Laughs) Thank you!
Lynette’s love for cooking allowed her to be showcased on a national television show. She has demonstrated how talent truly makes room for you. Lynette is currently working on bringing her famous sweet potato cookies to homes all across America. She can also be found cooking meals for the elderly in her community and heading projects that uplift children.