So what is it like to audition for the reality TV cooking competition MasterChef? A little over a week ago, I auditioned in downtown San Diego. I never thought that I would try out for a reality TV show! But with the urging of good friends and support from family, I thought, “Why not?” I know that I can cook well enough to impress the judges on the show: Chef Gordon Ramsay, Chef Graham Elliot, and Restauranteur & Wine Expert Joe Bastianich.
After registering online, filling out an 11-page application, and days of practicing a signature dish, I was ready to WOW everyone who tried my food at the casting call.
I definitely brought my personality and culinary point-of-view to the dish that I brought. Above is a picture of my dish: Pan-Seared Sockeye Salmon atop Roasted Adobo Infused Potatoes, Brazillian-style Kale with Crimini Mushrooms and Spicy Soy Red Wine Sauce. I of course it plated it 200% better at the audition, but when I took the picture, it was past our dinner time, so we were hungry and I was rushing.
The audition site! (westinsandiego.com)
On the day of the casting call, I woke up at 7 am to cook my dish. For the tasting portion of the audition, we were required to bring an already prepared dish and were allowed a few minutes of plating. I was told that our dishes did not need to be brought up to temperature, so I did not worry about that. In a past MasterChef season, I heard that the winner auditioned on a really cold day with an almost frozen soup that, of course, got rave reviews from the food experts.
By 9:40 am, 20 minutes early, I got to the 2nd floor of The Westin hotel and was surprised to see only about 100 people in the room, including the production staff. By the end of the day, about 250-300 people had tried out. I guess not that many people new about this open call, compared to other ones such as in Los Angeles where the line was out the door for past seasons. My day was not at all like those audition days pictured on other reality TV shows like American Idol or MTV’s long running The Real World.
It was pretty much stress free, despite a bit of nerves. Just a lot of waiting. The casting staff were really nice and friendly people. Each person auditioning got a number according to when we got there and we all were put into groups to face the food experts and casting staff. Each group took 45 mins-1 hour. While waiting in line, I met a lot of nice people who shared a passion for food. It was fun getting to know the other people auditioning and sharing stories. If you know me well, you know that I love talking about food, so it was refreshing to talk to people who also love to talk about food. The only odd thing I saw was a punk-ish guy who brought his Great Dane. Didn’t have any service dog tag.
When my turn came, my group was brought into another room where we brought our dishes and were critiqued. I immediately recognized a lady with tattoos and asked her, “Hey I think I’ve seen you somewhere like on TV?!” She told me that she was on Top Chef. Realizing that the food experts who were tasting our food are wildly successful chefs in the food industry made me even more excited. My nerves were overshadowed by excitement and confidence that my food is good. I felt at ease, but was eager to show my dish! I felt like the New Year’s Eve Times Square ball waiting and ready to go!
Finally they gave us a few minutes to plate our dish and it was the best plating that I have ever done. Sadly, I was not allowed to take pictures, so I can’t show you how it looked like. My squirt bottle got clogged with some serrano pepper, but I made my sauce work. I was not afraid of anything that could happen. I know what I can do and I made it work. Like when they tell you, “Work it girl! Work it!” That’s what I do with my food. lol
I was so happy with the comments and feedback that I got. One chef said that everything on the plate worked together. It was a nice combination of the sockeye salmon and the sides, especially the Brazilian-style kale. Two of the food experts who were tasting my food really loved the salmon. I could tell with the look in their eyes and a second bite that they loved it. Fish is one of the things that I love cooking! Another chef also gave me a positive review of my sauce, telling me “Good job! …That’s really good sauce.”
Though I did well with the food portion, I guess my personality is not a reality TV personality. I saw that some of the people that got through know someone in the production crew or have some issues in their life that may look good as a character to be edited on screen. Or maybe it is some particular TV look they want. If you have watched past seasons, you will notice a lot of crazy antics and drama. I’m not into exuding drama. I don’t really go through life in a dramatic way when big or the mundane things happen in my life. I just keep moving forward with an appreciation of the past and love and kindness in my heart. I am happy with who I am and what I do have in my life. I am so proud that I auditioned! I learned that I do have a culinary talent and knack for flavors. I am happy with the outcome even if I won’t be on TV to share my cooking. I’ll be looking forward to watching MasterChef Season 4. This experience gave me the confidence to keep on cooking: to learn, share, experiment, and enjoy food.
By the way, for an inside scoop on MasterChef auditions from a casting call chef and taster, this is a nice read from Escape Hatch Dallas.
If you have any questions on food or want to talk about MasterChef, don’t hesitate to comment or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Famed Master Chef Rick Bayless Offers Easy Holiday Cooking Tips In Mexican Cuisine (prweb.com)
- Food on TV, and a love letter to Alton Brown (goldenageoftelevision.wordpress.com)
- Standing Tall With MasterChef Contestant Josh Marks (urbanfoodprint.com)