Nicole Gaffney/ Food Network Star

In the end, Brigantine's Nicole Gaffney came up a few votes short on Food Network Star.

Gaffney, the daughter of a commercial fisherman who grew up in South Jersey, pitched a show centered on coastal cuisine, but voters picked Lenny McNab, the colorful Colorado-based who specialized in elevated chuck wagon fare to get his own Food Network series.

Gaffney placed third on Sunday night's finale. Italian chef Luca Della Casa came in second.

Gaffney told the judges that her Food Network Star experience had been life-changing for her.