The well-deserving Season 8 winner of "
The Next Food Network Star
has arrived to the culinary scene with confidence and rebellious style. We chatted with the Elvis-haired star after his win, and it sounds like he's tackling his next steps head on.
For starters, he's already thinking about his future show plans. Justin assured us that he'd be bringing the same spirit and point of view we saw and loved all season long.
"Every Food Network personality and every chef is really just trying to get people to love food by believing in it, by thinking this is fun, and by saying, 'Look, I'm not afraid to make mistakes. I'm here to make awesome things that makes people's heads and brains and minds jump around a little bit,'" says Warner.
"That's the kind of food I like people to make, because they make it, and there's thinking," he continues. "They're not just saying, 'Mmm, good.' It's not just a drooly, nom nom nom food. It's a cerebral thing, you know?'"
Yet his experiences as a chef and TV personality have been colored by his time on the competition show. Each of the teams came to be known as their high school counterparts, with
Bobby Flay's "jocks" and
Giada De Laurentiis' "cheerleaders." There was evident tension and some bullying in the hopes of intimidation amongst all three. But don't you worry. Justin tells us that he was friends with everyone, particularly growing close to not just
Martie Duncan, but
Philip "Ippy" Aiona and
Yvan Lemoine. And he made sure to have fun with some of the other teams' game tactics: "Prance around the kitchen? Well, guess what? I can prance around the kitchen. You wanna strut? I'll strut. I've got big hair!"
Though perhaps most of all, it was the relationship between Justin and mentor
Alton Brown that was the season's lucky pairing. He says, "You know, you never thought you'd be able to click with somebody who's instantly more famous and well-respected than you are, but sooner or later, you do."
We can't wait to see what "cerebral" food this rebel with a culinary cause will come up with next, though we'll just have to wait until he's back on Food Network under the cover of his own show title. We're counting down already!
And for all of you who have been wondering since the start of the season -- we couldn't pass this opportunity up to ask Justin about his obviously perfect lip care regimen. His answer? Burt's Bees! Folks, this one's definitely a winner!