Last summer, in a 36 hour period, I passed through 4 different states, suffered 3 flight delays, wandered through an empty airport in the middle of the night, and finally slept on a bank of chairs in a United Airlines concourse in DC, all to audition for ABC. This weekend, I auditioned for FOX…on my terms. I wore my clothes, baked what I wanted, slept in my own bed, and had a blast.
Over the past year, I’ve realized that trying to emulate another chef isn’t going to get me anywhere. Just because it’s trendy to serve shrimp coconut curry, doesn’t mean that I have to make it. Just because I don’t know what harissa is, doesn’t make me less of a chef. My strength is my knowledge, the foods that I’ve eaten my entire life, the ingredients of central Florida, and the skills I’ve learned through my own trial and error. My strength will be what I learn at every audition, every blog I write, every recipe I test, and every loss I endure.
Who knows if I’ll be selected for MasterChef or any other show, for that matter…it will be great if I am, but if not, I won’t be upset. Yes, cooking and writing is what I want to do with my life, but I’m not going to put on a show or become someone I’m not just to get on a show. I’m not the fool in tomato overalls or the girl with fuscia hair and a fringy nude dress or the loud lady with more holes in her jeans than fabric. No, I’m doing this as me, frizzy “meth hair” and all, cooking my style of food from Florida using craft beer and ingredients that I know. Take it or leave it.
With that, my decision to do this my way may have been the right way. Out of the 30 people in the first round, I was one of only 4 or 5 desserts in the entire room. There were 3 shrimp and coconut curry dishes on my side of the room alone. And, with all the “problems” I overheard the chef/judge critiquing those around me, my dessert received a “that’s good”, a second taste, and no issues or complaints. My Dark Chocolate Espresso Torte with Strawberry Coulis and featuring Coppertail Brewing’s Seasonal Relief Baltic Porter was perfect.