Wednesday, October 8, 2014
that time I got to audtion for a cooking show
So last summer a very famous cooking show was coming to Canada. Being the huge fan of my cooking that he is, the Frenchman tells me that I should totally "audition for dat". So we write up the application and lo and behold I get a phone call. During said phone call, I have a hysterically funny conversation with the girl who invites me to the closed auditions. The Very VAGUE directions that are sent to us indicate that we'll be judged on originality, knife skills, bj technique, taste, etc. Ok, so one of those might not have been on the form - you can decide which. After much deliberation I decide that my grandmother's perogy recipe is not going to travel well and auditions are 2.5 hours away. I decide on a nice elk lettuce boat. Forgetting that the nicely seared elk is going to be really fragrant shoe leather after 2.5 hours of driving and another 2 hours of waiting. but bygones! So I turn up at a hotel in a town that rhymes with Shmalgary all perky and ready to stun. Cut to me signing my life away about never mentioning the name of this show, never talking about fight club, the first rule is don't talk about fight club yada yada yada. SO, I have to pose for a picture. The lovely little intern proceeds to drop into splits to get low enough to get me into the frame of the picture. I get it. I'm borderline little person material. Seriously. I get it. Stand up and shoot downward, ok?!?! Did you get my shoes? My rack? no?!?! well what was the point of that production!?! So I make my way to a table to wait until it's time to do the 3 minute "VOILA" unveiling of our dishes. A very angry woman wanders in and announces "I'm here. You can start now". I get wanting to make yourself stand out but talking loudly about the young man you bang and about how much you hate your toddlers is really not that impressive. I am amused by the people encouraging you to hold court. I am even more amused by your "I don't care what you think about me" when I gasp at your statement in which you wished your son dead until he was 3. Clearly you don' care what I think. Do the voices in your head care what I think? I'd like to talk to the one in charge of your mental health care. Wow. My table has 4 people at it. 3 of us are normal, hard working, career-minded individuals. The 4th quickly finds a table of wackadoos to hang with. So the 3 of us turn our chairs to face the rest of the room and observe this spectacle. I have now come to the conclusion (at approximately 9 am and 20 minutes into this process) that this is not something I want to do. I have a great career. Aside from wanting to print my Grandmother's kick-ass recipes into a cookbook, I have no designs on being a television personality. I do not want to leer a soul-stealing smile at you (a la Giada) while extolling the virtues of lemon zest. I do not want to say things like "let me throw these guys on the grill" (a la rob rainford) and I certainly don't want to do enough curls to give myself Matt Dunigan's biceps (although I would gladly take a bite out of those bad boys. miaoowwwwww! ps. what does matt dunigan's ass look like? does he have chicken legs? wait. nevermind!) All I want to do is a get a bit of recognition for being a great cook. on tv. While looking good. Since I am a short, chubby dwarf, this really means just shots of my cleavage with my little chipmunk voice in the background. Like Nigella on helium. SO we do our 3 minute demo. One lady has brought samosas. Pre-made. Which she plates and then stands there smiling while everyone else has a heart attack trying to plate and show knife skills and compensate for the lack of kitchen facilities, refrigeration and a heat source. A lovely young girl explains she is between jobs and cancelled a trip to Mexico to be there. Another adorable BC hippie explains that he left his job and that everything in his (DELICIOUS!) sandwich is home made. From bread to sausage to home-grown veggies!. Yet another man explains that he left his job to come to this audition. One young YOUNG girl in her "sexy hipster" costume of short shorts, wedge heels and red lipstick has a beautiful presentation. Then the chef comes through to taste our food. The interns quietly inform us that the day before, he did not even try everyone's food. He wanders through tasting and talking. Seeming unimpressed by everything. We're herded back to the small room where the angry lady starts performing again. Wine is passed. Individual interviews are conducted. The single mom with no job comes back, wiping away tears. She informs us that there was bonding all around and everyone cried. You guys, I work in the oil and gas industry. THERE IS NO CRYING. I had 8 lb children without crying. I'm certainly not going to shed tears over some heirloom tomatoes and a pretty presentation!! I am now doubly convinced that I am in the wrong place and this is a horrible mistake! After an interminable hour, in which samosa lady has her interview and then comes back to sit, stating she "never wants this day to end", it is finally My turn. I walk in and I can tell they're not feeling me anymore than I'm feeling them. I'm handed plastic food and asked what I'd make with it. Apparently a "melted pile of carcinogenic fumes" is not what they want to hear. I'm dismissed after a few nowhere questions such as "where is your family?". Um. My family is at home. 2.5 hours away. Enjoying this beautiful summer day while I sit with a bunch of desperate wannabe Ramsay's (btw, I don't want to be a Ramsay. I want to be Nigella's short, dumpy stunt cook!). Again, this is the wrong answer. I am dismissed. I am thrilled. Until I get out and they call the next interviewee. And I realize I've left my fabulous Kate Spade handbag on the floor in that meeting room. DAMNIT! After another 20 interminable minutes I get my bag and I'm free to go. Months later when the show airs, I see a few familiar faces. I won't say who. I will say that its pretty clear that aside from cooking skills, they want wackadoos. People who WANT this. Who NEED this. I'll never watch reality tv the same way again. I will however, still picture Ramsay shirtless and yelling at me (for staring at his crotch). I will also picture Bastianich curling his nose up at my attempt at homemade pasta (while I picture him shirtless and stare as his crotch). I will also picture that little peanut Graham in his little hipster cuffed jeans. I am also fully aware that the moment the Asian judge who chewed with his mouth full gave me shit, I'd have likely launched across the table at him. So really, everything happens for a reason. I will always enjoy watching the US and Canadian versions of the program. I am grateful for my insight into the process of choosing the cast. and I am even more grateful that I get to drink 2 glasses of wine while watching and talking smack. I may need a bigger glass.