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Food Network Star competitor speaks at Donor Dinner

ALVA, Okla. (Oct. 31, 2018)— Amy Pottinger, Food Network Star competitor from Season 13, was the guest speaker at this year's Donor Appreciation Dinner on Oct. 25 hosted by the Northwestern Foundation & Alumni Association.Amy Pottinger

Hailing from Seattle, Wash., Pottinger later lived in Altus, Okla., with her husband, Patrick. After a year, they moved to Enid where her husband attended pilot training at Vance Air Force Base. While there, she earned an elementary education degree at Northwestern Oklahoma State University's Enid campus.

"My favorite memory at Northwestern was one of my main professors I had in the education department," Pottinger said. "She was just incredible. She really had a heart for what she did. She cared so much about the way she taught us so that we could take those same philosophies and tactics and apply them to our students."

Pottinger's journey to get a degree was a non-linear path as a student at Northwestern.

"I had gone to college off and on, but we got here (Enid) and this is what I needed to finish my degree," Pottinger said. "I had a heavy class load, but I hammered through and graduated. We pulled away in our moving van the day after I finished my student teaching."

Since then, Pottinger began searching for a creative outlet since her military family moved often. She had a passion for food and knew she had a natural talent for it.

"People would always come over for dinner and ask me for recipes," Pottinger said. "After I had my second child (Joshua), I just thought 'What in the world will I do to share this with people?' This was about the time Wix, Squarespace and other do-it-yourself website creators came online. I decided to start a blog."

After creating her food blog called Caviar and Crayons, Pottinger decided to apply for Food Network Star, a reality television series on the Food Network. She described it as being "plucked out of food blog obscurity" when they asked her to be on the show.

Once the show began, Pottinger was surprised at how quickly the time could pass during the competition.

"It sounds silly, but the time goes by so much faster than I could ever portray," Pottinger said. "It's more challenging and intense than it looks."

After eight weeks on set for Food Network Star — making it all the way to the top four finalists — Pottinger later returned to reality television for Comeback Kitchen where she once again made it as one of the finalists.

After the completion of Comeback Kitchen, Pottinger returned to her family in Honolulu, Hawaii. Despite the time she was away from family, she has no regrets for competing. She describes herself as someone who jumps in and commits to new adventures.

"Pursue anything you're passionate about," Pottinger said. "This was the conversation I had with my husband the first time I went on the show because logistically it's tough for me to go. He has a full-time job; we have kids so I can't just pick up and leave. We both knew that if I didn't go, I would always wonder what would've happened. It's like Wayne Gretzky said 'You miss a 100 percent of the shots you don't take.' "

Pottinger recognized there were only "so many balls she could juggle" as a stay-at-home mom, food-blogger and running her catering business, so going on reality television is not in the near future. With Pottinger's experience from Food Network Star, however, she no longer has to wonder 'what if?'. She will continue to pursue her two main passions: her family and food.

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