TUPELO, Miss. (WTVA) -- Her name is Linkie Marais and she certainly has the skills and charisma to do what she does, according to participants in Tupelo on Sunday.
If you've never heard of her, chances are you will in the future.
The South African-born, Saltillo High School graduate almost walked away as the winner of an "American Idol-style" show called Food Network Star.
Although she did not win the contest, her skills are such that she will likely get her own show some day.
At least that's the plan.
"We did compete to win our own show on Food Network," said Marais. "I didn't win. I made it to episode six which is more than halfway, so that's good. It was the most stressful thing I've every done in my life but the most rewarding. If I could do it again, I would do it all over again."
Marais said the show has opened some doors that might land her on television with her own show.
But for now, she's using what she knows to help others across the country and make a living at it as well.
"The biggest thing I'm working on is launching my series of cake-decorating workshops and cooking workshops on the East Coast," Marais said. "As soon as I get done with that hopefully it will go nationwide. And I am working on a cookbook as well."
On this particular day, Marais was sharing some of her finest secrets with local cake enthusiasts.
As mentioned earlier, Marais is no stranger to North Mississippi, having graduated from Saltillo High School in 2004 and later from MUW's famed Culinary Arts Program.
"Her talent needed to be shared and she wanted to host a workshop here. And so we brought her in and just enjoyed her time with us," said workshop sponsor Rose McCoy, who owns Creative Cakes in Tupelo.
"Linkie actually started out with me when she was sixteen and came to Tupelo from South Africa," said Bille Robison, who owns her own catering service in Guntown. "She started working for me at sixteen years old. She worked for me all through high school, for her college years, culinary school, and an internship under me."
Now, others are learning from Linkie.
"I just wanted to follow her. I followed her in Food Network Star and followed her Facebook page and everything to find out what's going on with her,"replied Lynn Barnwell of Corinth.