Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Auditioning for Master Chef: Chicago What's it Like?

I have been a fan of Fox's "Master Chef "since day one. My hubby always tells me that he thinks I can win. I love him! This is the first time I have tried out for the show. My family and I traveled to Chicago via the Metra on Friday and  stayed at the Homewood Suites.  They have a  kitchen in the suites. (Which I later found out didn't have a oven) The auditions were held at the hotel we had our honeymoon at 17 years ago, the Congress. The Congress lobby is beautiful but the rooms need work. There is no place to heat up your food either at the audition..They tell you to bring something that will travel well and not to worry about the temperature of your food. I purchased a insulated bag from Walgreens that I stocked up with goodies. We got in from the Metra and a pretty good walk to the Homewood Suites and then headed off to Whole Foods which was a few blocks away.
chicken roulade with spinach and sun dried tomatoes

I got back to the hotel and could hardly sleep. I ended up getting up at 5:30AM to prepare my dish. One problem, there was no oven to bake my dish  like I practiced. I ended up  poaching my Chicken Roulade wrapped in Saran Wrap. Don't worry! I researched what plastic wraps were BPA free. I put all of my ingredients in Zip loc tubs and into a hot bag and then into the thermal bag.

I was running late!  By the time we got to the Congress, it was 8AM. The line was down the hall but not as bad as I expected. I had to finish my application again because I left the one I had filled out back home. I printed one out at the Business center in my hotel.  Next step was a table where they look over your application and then into a large room to sit and wait. My number was 172. Our group was called to go down to some waiting busses. We weren't sure where we were going. At first I thought the auditions were being held somewhere else. We were being chauffeured to Grant Park right across the street. The crew shot some outside shots where we marched chanting "Master Chef" and held up signs. There were also some chosen people that got to shout out what their professions were. That was judged on unusual looks. There was a paratrooper in a kilt and others with bright colored hair. I was close to the camera and hope to get in some shots. Seriously I was sweating buckets and getting sun burned. I am very fair skinned.

Then back to the auditions. We had to wait again. Our group was about 24 people. I somehow got in the first spot in our group. When our group got called  we waited on a ramp for the room doors to open. The nervousness was palatable. There was much fidgeting and moving around. Finally after a 25 minute or so wait, we were let in the doors.

It was in a beautiful ball room. There were tables in a rectangle and we had to race around to find our spots. I had secured the number one spot. We weren't allowed to take any pictures at all. I did set up my dish again at the hotel so you could see what it looked like. We were given hand sanitizer and told we had three minutes to plate our dish. We were allowed to set up all of our ingredients on the table first. I had forgot my plate and knife back home so I was using hotel borrowed plates. My heart was pounding really hard and then the time was up. A chef came around to taste my food. I couldn't hear him. I think because my heart was pounding in my ears.  He asked me to describe my dish and tasted it. He asked me what methods I used too. Then a casting director, Kristen came around and talked to us. Alas, my number was not called at the end. My number was 172 and they called 171. Another person won for making brownies. I think they were looking more for stories and certain looks. Finally I got to leave around 2PM.

I may not have won but  I feel proud I tried something new. I started cooking at age 12 out of necessity. I, like many, was a latch-key kid.  My first experience cooking something from scratch wasn't a good one. I made green beans. I thought you could us a regular zip loc as a boil bag and I ended up burning my stomach pretty bad. That didn't stop me from cooking though! I moved out when I was 18 and became the cook for my roommates. My grandma was a wonderful cook but very crabby. I learned some of her dishes. My Mom only made about 7 different dishes. I became very adventurous and a food porn addict. I would see something on TV and then try to make it myself. I haven't always been a perfect cook but I never gave up and  keep on learning.  Well, there is always next time! This experience has made me love food even more. I don't need a judge to validate how good my food is. As long as my loved ones and friends love it, that's all that matters!

Tips for Auditioning:

1) Bring something to eat. You will be there 5-8 hours. We only got free water.
2) Show up early. Auditions were at 10AM. Plan on getting there 2-3 hours early. I was told that if you aren't in line by 12 Noon, you won't be seen.
3) Have a story. The guy next to me had a amazing story. I thought mine was amazing too lol
4) Know your food. Don't make something you have never made before. I make mine for about 5 weeks straight. Be sure you know you prepared it.
5) Make some friends. I made a lot of new friends standing in line.
6) Be as perky and bubbly as humanly possible.
7) Have fun! Enjoy the moment. You are lucky to have the chance to audition.
8) Wear comfy clothes. This salesperson was walking in the mud at Grant Park in her heels. She got on TV too! I was smart and wore tennis shoes. You might be standing for a few hours.