Today I went downtown to try and get a spot on a new Food Network show.

For the past few weeks on Food Network Canada, they’ve been advertising a new show called Recipe to Riches. There was an open casting call, but you could apply ahead of time for a spot, and I got one. They liked my recipe for tamale pie, and I was invited to come in for 7:30 a.m. I picked an outfit and made the dish twice, once for practice and the second time for the show. I brought Nick, and my parents came too.

I spent most of the morning in two waiting rooms, the first for pre-registered applicants, and the second for plating, mic-fitting, and the final queue. There I got to chat with a lot of really interesting people, some who’d flown from the Island or from other western provinces just for the audition. Their dishes ranged from brownies to tomato tarts to chicken pot pie, and each was nervous and excited and just really glad to be there. Always a lady, I forgot I was wearing a dress and mooned them all twice when I bent over. Thankfully, it was a full-bum-underwear kind of day.

After three and a half hours, my dish was heated and I got to plate. It smelled good, but I was nervous about the spiciness of the dish; I began to worry that there was something wrong with my tongue, because I like everything with so much zing. It was too late to fret heavily over it, and I was asked to talk about my dish on camera. I assembled my dish and was given directions, and then waited a little bit more. It was my first time auditioning for something, and I wasn’t sure what to do. People kept saying “just be yourself,” probably because they don’t know how annoying I can be.

I talked to someone in the hallway before the set, and she told me they were only going to see 80 people that day, despite the large number of applicants and walk-ins. I felt special.

I helped wheel the cart carrying my dish down to the set and was shown where to stand. I was given my cue, and when they called me I presented my dish to the three judges, one of whom was Laura Calder who’s cooking show I like. She said she liked my shoes. I felt special. She liked my dish, and the other judges liked it as well, but it was too spicy and they thought it would be more marketable as a vegetarian dish. “Refine the spice and try again next year,” they told me, and I was disappointed (oh, delusions of grandeur – why always so seductive?!) but their feedback was useful and I will come back next year, wiser and with an even better recipe. I am grateful that they called me to try out this year, and had fun just being there.

So, there you go. I tried something new today, and if nothing but a new dish comes out of it I still think it was worthwhile. So, stay tuned. I’m going to get right to work on a less fiery, more vegetably tamale pie, and then I’m going to tell you all about it. And, of course, I’ll try again for a spot next year. In the meantime, if you’ve got suggestions for the new version of the dish, let me know. And good luck to you if you’re planning to attend the Toronto or Montreal auditions! I want to know if you go, and how it went!

And for now, don’t worry. I’m not sulking or crying or being unpleasant except for the comfort eating. If you need me, I’ll be sitting around in my footie pajamas watching cooking shows with the cat.

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8 thoughts on “Today I went downtown to try and get a spot on a new Food Network show.

  1. Sorry to hear about the result but it’s fantastic they actually gave you viable advice. I’m so jealous you spoke with Lara Calder, I love her show. You did something awesome today, you should be proud of yourself.

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  2. Proud of you Emily! Next year you’ll nail it. As you said, it’s still super special that you were selected as a pre-registered candidate. xoxo

    PS You look gorgeous in the photo :).

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  3. I’ve always known that you are a bit spicy!

    Just think, they have your audition on film now so when you are super-famous and have published a gazillion cookery books, they will have an oh-so-amusing film clip to show the audience when you’re being interviewed on the “next Oprah” chat show, and you can all share a laugh about the experience.

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  4. Congratulations on getting out there and presenting your dish! I am so excited about next year. And I know in my heart of hearts that you will nail it. (And that for us chile-heads, you nailed it this year, didn’t you?) Good for you!

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