Wednesday, July 21, 2010

MasterChef Auditions: The Squeakquel


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 √† 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!

46 comments:

  1. YAY!!!! And, that's about the deepest I've ever heard your voice, so good job :)

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  2. OMG, you are so genuine and hilarious and engaging on camera... no wonder they asked you back for the third round! Keeping my fingers crossed for you.
    BTW, I can totally relate to the frying pan addiction... though, in my defense, I only have seven if you don't count the aebelskiver pan. :)

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  3. you are gonna be awesome on tv...and ur voice...what are u talking about??? it just adds to the whole excited, chirpy you..
    good luck!

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  4. ROUND THREE!!!

    Also, I sound more like a 12-year-old girl than you do! Ha!

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  5. Yay! I hope we keep on hearing about the Alvin voice and the Master Chef Saga to the finish!

    You were really endearing and warm on camera, no need to be nervous, you're a natural!

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  6. Round 3 !!! Wow, congrats. You don't have an Alvin voice , you sound down to earth & NORMAL :) Rooting from you all the way from Paris.

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  7. That is so awesome!!
    You sound great!

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  8. Congratulations! You are so beautiful and you look/sound great on video. I too am painfully shy about videotaping myself, so I admire your courage...it would not be an easy thing for me to do!

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  9. hehe ala Barry White! I love it. You're your worst critic. You did a fantastic job!

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  10. LOL Love it... I hate recordings of myself too.. I either feel like I am a Chipette or on a constant helium high :)

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  11. Ok, yeah, at the beginning you do sound like a Chipmunk, but when you're in the kitchen it comes down to what I'm figuring is normal. Maybe it was the coffee? Did you spike it to calm your nerves? The red's a great color on you and I love how you carried it from the red top to a red apron in the kitchen. The biryani is beautiful! Did the video take it all the way to the finished plate? They'll be impressed.

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  12. awesome! dont worry about the voice---it gets to normal when you are in the kitchen where you seem more comfortable. also, rachel ray has an obnoxious voice and look at her!

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  13. Congrats on making it to Stage 3. You win a lot of points for going out there, making a video and posting it for us to see. I'm very shy in front of cameras so you have my respect! Besides, your video is great. I would have been stuttering and forgetting what I had to say.

    Great job!

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  14. OMG You are awesome!! Congratulations! What are you talking about? You look good on camera and your voice? has your personality in it. I admire your courage as videotaping is out of my comfort zone. Oh hey, you'd better post your crazy dance now! :) Good luck for the next round

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  15. Nice job! I particularly love the frying pans all lined up in a row. :-)

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  16. I'll be back later tonight to comment on your wonderful and exciting news. I can't watch the video cause I'm on my phone right now. Be back tonight :-D

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  17. Very well done indeed! Best of luck for the competition.

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  18. Oh wow!!! This is simple fantastic. Congratulations!! You are so brave to audition and doing extremely well too. All the best!!! Will be rooting for you especially since both of us are located in Dallas!!!

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  19. Oh my gosh Azmina, you need to have your own food show! You are a natural on camera. You held my attention the whole time and when it was finished all I could think of was, "That's it? I want to see more." I totally love that you have 10 frying pans! YOU GO GIRL!!!!!! You're so right, everybody has their vice. If I can have 20 superman shirts, it's definitely ok to have 10 frying pans. lol. Huge Congrats and best of luck in the next round!

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  20. I am in awe of your speaking ability. No serious, I am going to Toastmasters to speak half as good as you do. You don't sound like a Chipmunk at all! But I will admit it is weird hearing oneself on tape. I feel like I sound really depressed. Go figure.

    I love the part of having "an app/frying pan for that." Brillant. Great way to insert pop culture into your audition!

    Um, I didn't see any glasses in your interview?? But from one glasses-wearing chocolate lover nerd to another, I think you rocked the Chicken Biryani!

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  21. Serious = seriously. I need to proofread and yet I am too lazy to continue proofreading the above comment. Please forgive any other errors. :)

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  22. You are so much fun...the video is great. The dish looks yummy and I can't wait for round three :)

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  23. Congrats on Round 3 - that's so awesome! Kind of envious of your frying pan collection ;)

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  24. OH. MY. GOSH.
    AZMINA ABOOBAKER YOU ARE MY MODERN-DAY INDIAN HEROOOOOOOOOOINE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1

    I ACTUALLY LOVE YOU. I LOVE YOU I LOVE YOU I LOVE. At this point you may begin to feel creeped out. I didn't meant to creep you out.

    I actually laughed out loud a total of at least 7 times throughout the entire watching of your video, plus the reading of your entry. (Fortunately, I'm alone in my house.) You're a hilarious on-screen presence and an incredibly gifted writer. Your sincerity, wittiness and humour win me over, big time. Alvin voice be damned indeed! I actually got used to it rather quickly though, and if anything, think it'll set you apart from the rest! In a good way, of course. :-)

    Lots of love,
    Aletheia

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  25. In more succinct terms, your video = THE BEST-SPENT 2 MINUTES AND 20 SECONDS OF MY EVENING.

    <33333333333

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  26. Dear Azmina - You are very you in front of the camera and I cannot give you anhigher complement. Becuase to be you in front of the camera takes a lot of work. You are engaging, you have a story to tell and you do it with style.

    Rooting for you all the way!

    Wish you the very best in your journey. I really enjoyed the video.

    Ciao, Devaki @ weavethousandflavors

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  27. This is great! :) I really hope to see you on the show!!

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  28. Salaam - Very cool! You seem to be a natural in front of the camera :)

    If I had to tape myself making biryani, I'd have to edit out the part where I pour in the Shan Masala mix... (that's one of the only dishes I use it for though ;)

    Good luck with the competition!

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  29. that was an awesome video... you sounded great and confident, looked great and did great! Congrats and Good Luck!

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  30. Oh my! You should have seen my round 3 video. You were meant for TV and camera (far more than I was). It's SO exciting for me to see what others did. Even though I didn't make the show, I feel this special connection! Congrats again!

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  31. Ok! I was sure I left a comment on this in the morning when I read it on my IPhone from the tweet you sent out about it. The only thing is that there is no comment! Tricky phone! I came back because the darn phone wouldn't let me watch you video! Technology! The video is awesome- love the frying pans and while I wasn't focusing on the Alvin voice, I did notice the lawyer courtroom hands- don't even worry- it's a compliment. Fun stuff!

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  32. CONGRATULATIONS! Ooo I am SO excited for you! Can't wait to hear how this story "ends"! You do not have anything near an Alvin voice and I LOVE your frying pan collection. I have a similarly large spice and cookbook collection. And an irrational number of measuring cups. Don't know why.

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  33. Love your pan collection - think I have *mumble mumble count count* 4 pans ....but I have 14 coffee makers *grin* See everyone's nuts in their own way ;)

    Congrats on making it this far! Crossing my fingers for you!

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  34. Is that you on the Fox promotion for this show?
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Kx-KkEgVtI

    Just after Ramsay says "start panicking" and there's a shot of the contestants.

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  35. You only have 10 frying pans! I share your sick obsession! Hope you go all the way!

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  36. Awww...you're so cute! I am loving these posts and can't wait to see what happens next. Dallas is rooting for you!!

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  37. YOU HAVE THE MOST ADORABLE VOICE!!!

    50 to 60 hours a week! oh girl, u definitely deserve ur relaxation time!! <3

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  38. yay!!!!! i'm so happy you got through again! Your vid was awesome as! You're a natural on camera, seriously you should see me, i probably wouldn't even get a word out!

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  39. I like your on camera girl! You soon real!

    Good luck!

    I will anxiously wait for more posts!

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  40. Oh my gosh that is so amazing!! congratulations and I can't wait to hear what happens next!!

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  41. You look awesome and hilarious. I didn't hear Alvin at all. I can't wait on your next post.
    Go Girl!

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  42. Amazing! I think you are a natural, you look so confident. And all your recipes speak for themselves. Good job girl!

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  43. Great job! I can't wait to see you on TV =)
    Kristie

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  44. LOL for the the frying pan part...good luck with the audition :D

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  45. GREAT job!! love love love it... it truly is no wonder they had you back, I would have never guessed you were nervous :)

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