Jamika's Journal

Don’t Call It a Comeback

Don’t call it a comeback… I’ve been here for years! I have to quote the great rapper LL Cool J, because it is only fitting after my recent appearance on Food Network’s Comeback Kitchen/Food Network Star.

Back in 2009, when I was asked to be a competitor on Food Network Star season 5, I had no idea what I was signing up for. I was off to NYC, thrown into situations I had no control over, and asked to cook on a time clock with the world watching. Even though I had some impressive moments and took six other contestants out of the competition, I was eventually asked to go home with no show of my own. I was devastated; but, I remember saying in my last interview, “This is not the last time you will see me!”, and I meant that. Being sent home on a reality show was not going to be the end of my world.

Looking back on it, being on a reality show was actually good free therapy. It showed me what I needed to work on and taught me a lot about myself. You take away a lot when you have a panel of judges judging you along with the rest of the world. I think one of the most important things I took away from the experience is that no one is made into a superstar overnight. EVERYONE has to go thru a process as they continue to make progress. God does not do microwave leaders. He must oven bake us properly so that we can be served and enjoyed at the appointed time.

I stayed in the grind taking all kinds of jobs from small budget web shows to major network appearances. I knew I had to share the stage in order to hone in on my craft, but sometimes it was frustrating. Every time I wanted to give up, some type of divine intervention refocused me on my goals. May I give you a bit of advice? Don’t be so quick to dismiss little things that cross your path like a compliment from a stranger, or an encouraging song popping up on the radio (Kayne West’s Touch the Sky is my fav) or an unforeseen door opening. All of these things are God’s way of letting you know, He has your back. So keep pressing on!

Fast forward to 2017; when I was asked compete on Comeback Kitchen I was filled with so many uncertainties. Can I be away from my new baby for so long? Do I want to give up so much control again? Can I handle the devastation if I lose? Can I get over the social media trolls? All kinds of thoughts were rushing in and then it hit me.  All of the work I had been doing on myself and my craft over the years has led up to this very moment. I did not have to act secure and confident for the cameras like last time, I am those things right now. This time around was different. I am now a confident, polished, assertive, grown woman, and I am ready to show the world what I have been working on! But, I could not have gotten to that place without time.

Sooooo, if you watched the show, I know you are thinking, Jamika, you went all the way to the finale this time and still did not bring home the crown. I know ☹.  But just because your name is not called as the winner, does not mean you are not called at all. So many people rallied for me that I know my time and show will come. Instead of letting time make me want to quit, time is making me stronger, better, and more fierce.

This whole experience allowed me to perform in front of millions of fans again, create culinary genius under unimaginable constraints, and moreover, do what I do best-Slay & Sauté my competitors. YASSSS!

Remember, the greatness we are all working to create takes time, persistence, and determination. Just because people don’t see you moving does not mean you are not making moves. The more you work on your craft, the more you have to work on yourself. And sometimes you have to lose to win BIG.

I have said it before and I will say it again, “This is not the last time you will see me!”. Having my own TV show and a successful brand is bigger than chasing a dream; it is about fulfilling a destiny. I will fulfill mine while inspiring others to do the same.

Thanks #TeamJamika for all of your love and support. See ya soon!

Posted in: Food, Parties, Press, Television

Chef Jamika currently resides in Atlanta, Ga. She prides her success on pairing her love for cooking and entertaining guests. When she is not in the kitchen, she enjoys spending time with her family and traveling with her husband sampling local cuisines for inspiration.

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