Previously, in the MasterChef saga: Gordon Ramsay's Casting Call
Some people sound wise on tape. Some are hilarious. Others are empathetic. Me? I sound like Alvin from Alvin & the Chipmunks on tape, especially when I'm nervous. This is not a realization I am happy with. I mean, if I have to sound like a cartoon character, I'd vote for Storm from the X-Men. Even on the cartoon voice front, I can't catch a break. I am so aware of my Alvin voice that whenever I go to court to review a recording for one of my hearings, I make sure no one is around before playing the tape. I really don't need to be ridiculed at the hands of the court clerks.
Needless to say, I was panicking about stage two of the casting for MasterChef, the on camera interview. It was one thing to have a quick chat with someone about a dish. It was completely another to discuss your life and your food in detail and have the chipmunk voice preserved on video for posterity's sake. By the time I arrived at the lovely Warwick Hotel, the site of the Dallas on camera interviews, I was sweating up a storm. I mentally practiced deepening my voice à la Barry White while waiting in the lobby with other hopefuls. To pass the time, we played the first date game. You know the one where you ask each other questions, hoping to not sound too intrusive but at the same time, wanting to know everything about the other person? These conversations did not help my nervousness. The casting peeps had somehow managed to find the most interesting, well-spoken people in Dallas who also cooked. I mean, what were the odds?
By the time it was my turn, I was pretty much a nervous wreck. Until I met the two lovely casting ladies. Mandy and Karen were quite possibly the nicest girls ever. Chatting with them was like going out to lunch with my girlfriends. Except there was no lunch. And the conversation was being videotaped. And I was still worried about the Alvin voice. So really, it was nothing like going out to lunch with my girlfriends. After they stopped video taping, I gathered my belongings and made some casual remark like, "When something I cook turns out particularly well, I do a dance." Bad move. The girls wanted to see the dance. And they wanted to videotape it. So, somewhere in the musty boxes of TV land video tapes is a video of me, doing a crazy, awkward dance. That is why I can never run for public office.
I went home thinking that was it. I told the hubster it was a cool experience while it lasted. But then, a few days later, I got an email that said I'd made it to stage three. I ran around my apartment excitedly. I did my signature crazy, awkward dance. I called my mom shrieking. That is, until I read the email completely. Round three consisted of making a home tape. As if an hour of the Alvin voice wasn't enough, these people wanted another video of me talking about myself and my food. They wanted to see my pantry, hear about special ingredients I liked to use and see me make my signature dish. Signature what?!? Oh, and they wanted it in two days. Two weekdays. Weekdays where I work until 8:00 p.m. every night. Oh, and did I mention that we don't own a video camera? Needless to say, the next two days were interesting.
I've posted a video at the top of this entry of snippets from my home tape. Don't laugh. See, this was the first video I had ever made (and um, I haven't made a video since). I would have LOVED to see videos of home cooks to get an idea of what was expected but I didn't know there was an entire world of food bloggers who videotaped themselves cooking all the time. My food experience consisted of the fact that I liked to cook and I liked to eat. I figured that made me a pretty solid contestant. And so, I made a video A video of me making chicken biryani. I figured the casting folks would be able to relate since every culture has a chicken and rice dish from arroz con pollo to chicken fried rice.
Confession? I was super nervous making the video even though the hubster was the kindest and most patient videographer ever. Seeing yourself on video is totally daunting, intimidating, and maybe even, kinda cool. So, I'm putting the video out there in hopes it'll help some other nerdy, glasses-wearing, chocolate eating person overcome his or her fear of videotaping. Alvin voice be damned. You can send all thank you letters and presents, preferably baked goods, to my publicist (that is, me).
Next, in the Master Chef saga: Yup, I'm Going to be on Gordon Ramsay's MasterChef!