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Feb272013

MUW graduate and Food Network Star finalist returns

Jasmine Johnson

Reporter

Culinary students were treated to professional cake-decorating tips by Mississippi University for Women’s 2006 graduate and Food Network Star finalist, Linkie Marais, on Thursday, Feb. 21.

Marais has a passion for life and an ability to create beautiful things. This is evident in her work. She has created specialty desserts for noted individuals such as President Barack Obama, Sen. John McCain, singer Frank Vali and former Rep. Patrick Kennedy.

She has cooked alongside prominent chefs Guy Fieri and Giada de Laurentis and of course, her fellow Food Network Stars.

“I’m an artist, and when I merge art with food, I find that wedding cakes emerge,” says Marais.

At the age of 16, Marais emigrated with her family from South Africa to Tupelo, Miss. She attended college at Itawamba Community College and Mississippi University for Women.

Wanting to pursue a career in which she could interact with people, Marais enrolled in college with a major in public relations. After she was awarded a full scholarship to MUW, Marais became a fan of the culinary arts program and changed her major.

“I was already in a food direction with my job. I worked for Billie’s Catering and Flowers, where I helped with the catering and made all of the wedding cakes,” says Marais. “When I saw the culinary arts program at MUW, I fell in love with it and knew that it was what I wanted to do.”

Marais states that her most memorable moment on her road to success was after an episode of Food Network Star with Guy Fieri, when Bobby Flay leaned over and asked if she would give him three dozen of her cookies.

“My advice to you would be to try everything under the sun, food-related, while you are still in school and see what you feel gives you the most satisfaction,” says Marais to culinary students.

Linkie Marais plans to revisit her alma mater again next fall.

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