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Former Food Network star speaks in Trussville

By Gary Lloyd

TRUSSVILLE — Former “Food Network Star” cast member Martie Duncan spoke at the Trussville Rotary Club meeting Wednesday.

Duncan was on Season 8 of the show. Duncan made it to the final four and when America voted for the winner, she finished as the runner-up.

Originally from Roebuck, Duncan had no culinary training prior to auditing for the spot on the show. She found out about the auditions the night before and drove all night to Chicago. Duncan said there were about 3,000 people vying for a spot on the show that day, and driving up at the last minute, she didn’t have to wait long, since most had already left.

Producer Alton Brown checking in with his contestant, Martie Duncan, cooking for the Star Challenge “Culinary Neighborhood of NYC – Lower East Side” as seen on “Food Network’s Star.”
submitted photo

She only spoke a couple words, she said, and was immediately selected for a callback the next day. She hadn’t thought far enough ahead to think of what she might need for the next step, so when told she would need to prepare a themed dish, she frantically began to wonder where she might prepare it. Driving around Chicago, she spotted a fire station, ran inside and in her best Southern drawl, pleaded for a place to cook her dish. She ended up cooking for about 45 firemen in the process.

Duncan said she started her first business when she was 14, acting as a “booking agent” for the band in which her “secret” boyfriend from Hartselle was playing in order to find ways to get him to the Birmingham area. She has since worked as a police officer and then a manager of a pageant store. Duncan recently made a gingerbread house for Gov. Robert Bentley. She’s now working on getting two TV shows and is also writing a book on family traditions.

“God always opens a door for me when I need a job,” she said. “He’s my partner in everything I do.”

Contact Gary Lloyd at and follow him on Twitter @GaryALloyd.

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