I love cooking. I love making something good to eat and sharing it with family and friends. Partly because some of my best memories of growing up in the Islands surround the kitchen and food. Gladly getting up early in the morning during summer vacation while in Antigua to purchase fresh bread, butter and cheese. Hopefully, being able to break a piece off before getting back to the yard. My dad making sour sop jam, fresh bread and Sunday breakfast. Mom making pepper pot, saltfish gundy and brown stewed chicken. Hmm. Just thinking of the food brings back the memories of the smell, the laughter and fun making the dishes still warms my heart.
Reading cookbooks and watching cooking shows is a favorite pastime of mine. So when an opportunity arrived to see what could happen if I made it onto a show, I decided to give it a try. Understanding that the worst that could happen is it would be a very short journey of discovery.
So, in October a couple of months after getting my health straight following thyroid cancer, my bloody third cancer by the way, and falling which placed a hole in my Achilles tendon in my left foot. I decided I will audition for “Master Chef” and made my way to Cleveland for the first audition step. No surprise that a lot of folks showed up on the cold and rainy day at the audition spot with food in carriers waiting for their turn to impress the judges. Now, my left foot was still in a boot and getting around was not an easy task but add carrying the food and my personal belongings. Let’s say it was an interesting day.
Plating my dish, which was drunken goat water, to see if I would impress the judges taste bud and not freaking out to allow my fun personality to shine through was created interesting moments. Plus, the people who were waiting also had interesting dishes and were talkers as well. Not a shy bunch in the group! Of course, I’m slightly on the shy side, hmm, not really but I was allowing my food to do the talking until it was time to open my mouth.
I can’t explain the excitement I felt as I continued to move through each round of elimination. How I tried so many different recipes and cooking styles in hopes I would get the opportunity to put it all on display. When I received the call that I made it to California I screamed and danced around in my living room like a nut. I didn’t even come back to earth when I was informed I couldn’t share the news with everyone as yet. I told my family, some very close friends who helped me through the process and my boss. No one else. Since part of being on a reality show is secrecy I couldn’t share with a lot of people who I know care about me, support me and are just good people. The least amount of people I told made it easier for me to know that what I’m doing will not end up with me being sued. Yes. I did have to sign some papers. So, those of you who didn’t know until the reality show announcement, please forgive me and for those of you who knew and didn’t say anything, thank you.
Now, things didn’t get easy for me after learning I was going to be flown out to California for the show. Oh, no! I learned shortly before getting the call that I had torn the meniscus in my right knee. The swelling that my doctor believed was merely the knee reacting to having to do all the work with the left foot in the boot and from the earlier fall. Turned out to be the torn meniscus and boy did I do a number on it. I had to undergo surgery before Christmas which equaled no family holiday travel for me. Everyone was so disappointed and so was I since I was looking forward to watching some dishes being made. I find watching a dish come together is better for my learning curve than just telling me how to make it. Sigh. The other problem would be healing enough to stand and actually cook and that was quite a challenge but I made it.
In my next post I’ll tell you about some of the very interesting people I spent some time with in California.