MARTIE DUNCAN, PRESIDENT & CHIEF PARTY-THROWER, MARTIEKNOWSPARTIES.COM

Martie Duncan is the Chief Party Thrower at MartieKnowsParties.com and was a finalist on Season 8 of Food Network Star. Martie was named the franchise's "Fan Favorite" when she was brought back for the tenth anniversary edition of the show. A passionate cook, writer, party/wedding expert and Alabama girl, Martie wants to help people go back to a time when entertaining was fun.

Martie has thrown parties for her friends and family since her high school days in Birmingham, Alabama.  Over the 20+ years she spent in the wedding industry, Martie worked with some of the best caterers, designers, and event planners around the country and learned how to translate their magnificent creations into affordable ideas for entertaining at home. Now, Martie helps her readers with resources for stress-free get-togethers including delicious but easy to make recipes. These days, Martie spends much of her time on the road, appearing at culinary shows, charity events, and food festivals. In September 2014, she was named to an elite list of "20 Women Making a Difference" in her hometown of Birmingham.

       MARTIE DUNCAN  / PHOTO CREDIT ARDEN PHOTOGRAPY

       MARTIE DUNCAN  / PHOTO CREDIT ARDEN PHOTOGRAPY

Selected by Alton Brown for his team on Season 8 of Food Network Star, Martie was the only person in the cast that season with no formal culinary training or restaurant experience. Out of 15 contestants, Martie came in second to Team Alton teammate Justin Warner after an audience vote. Martie’s cooking style is heavily influenced by her Southern roots with a passion for cooking what’s fresh from the garden or what’s locally available. “When you cook using what is fresh, locally produced, and in season, it’s typically cheaper and certainly tastes better!” she says. She also says hosts shouldn’t feel as if they have to make everything on the menu from scratch. “I like to get some things from the store or a favorite restaurant and make a few things that won’t keep me tied up in the kitchen” says Martie. According to Martie, a great party isn’t measured by the money spent–what makes a party memorable is the fun. Her first gig as an expert party-thrower was for Microsoft in 2008 when she was tapped to create original party ideas for MSN.com. Her how-to videos and party ideas can now be found on MyRecipes.com, the recipe website for Southern Living, Real Simple, Cooking Light, Sunset, Coastal Living and All You magazines. Additionally, a collection of Martie’s recipes can be found on the Microsoft Food & Drink App along with recipes from chefs Tom Colicchio, Michelle Bernstein, Wolfgang Puck, Daniel Boulud, Jacques Pepin, Joel RobuchonMarcus Samuelsson and others.

Martie’s experience includes working on the set of the film My Best Friend’s Wedding starring Julia Roberts. Martie made several appearances on The Oprah Winfrey Show and she’s been interviewed on a variety of food, party planning and wedding topics by the Food Network magazine, New York Times, Chicago Tribune, In Style Weddings, Smart Money, Wall Street Journal, The Birmingham News, Marie Claire along with other national and local publications. She has appeared on local television morning shows in Miami, Philadelphia, Washington DC, Baltimore, Chicago, New York, St. Louis, Dallas, Nashville, Tampa, Memphis as well as segments on nationally syndicated Daytime and BetterTV where her summer entertaining video is consistently a ‘most viewed’ favorite.

Martie is currently at work on her second book. Her first book with co-writer Chanda Temple called Birmingham's Best Bites: A Collection of Recipes from Your Favorite Restaurants which benefits the Birmingham Public Library and has sold thousands of copies.