New Times: What's your name and how old are you and where do you go to school?
Frankie: Francisco Lopez Jr., 25 years old, Florida Culinary Institute of West Palm Beach Florida
NT: How'd you get involved with the competition and what'd you have to do?
FL: I was chosen by the chefs at Florida Culinary due to winning various in-house and out-of-house competitions, also because of my drive and originality to produce outstanding food.
NT: How's it feel to represent for the South on a national level?
FL: It feels great, I love the South, the craziness of food and culture. I feel that I will represent the South to the fullest, and I think they've chosen a great representative.
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NT: Whats the prize and what will you do with it if you win?
FL: The prize is $25,000, a one year contract with one of the celebrity judges, and a one year contract with Nestle. And there's also the title of being the almost famous chef of the country.
NT: Would you ever be on a reality show?
FL: Yes, if the opportunity arises then of course, the publicity and TV time would be awesome.
NT: Whats your signature dish, your favorite style of cooking, and where do you like to eat in South Florida?
FL: My signature dish is a Chicharron pork duo, my favorite type of cooking is a fusion between Italian and French contemporary, I love to eat everywhere in South Florida, I really can't pick a certain restaurant. I just love the cuisine down here.
NT: What's it like working for Boulud? Do you interact with him at all, and what are you learning?
FL: .I've personally worked with him once at an off-site VIP event. It was one of the greatest experiences of my life, I've learned more about what kind of chef I want to be, and I've been pushed on my way to establishing perfect techniques and flavors.