Friday, December 2, 2011

the girl who cried, "tenderloin"...

for two years john, katherine, jacob, and i watched masterchef. i dvr'ed it; we never missed a single episode. secretly, i wanted to be on the show; i thought i could win... REALLY! i have no fear when it comes to cooking. i learned long ago what makes what taste good AND how to turn cooking failures into winning dishes.

so, in august when (as a friend of the show) i received an invite to apply, i jumped at the opportunity and expressed my desire to be a part of masterchef 3. several weeks later i received another email from them asking that i choose two cities from a list of many that i might be able to travel to for a casting call. there were three (nashville, atlanta, and chicago) from the list that were in a 6 hour radius of henderson.

about a month later masterchef sent me the list of cities and dates. one of my choices, chicago, was on the list: chicago, illinois, dec. 3, 2011, le cordon bleu culinary institute @10 am. the only other information i received at the time was that i was to bring a dish (ready to be plated), a head-shot, and my contract. i chose the chicago venue and shared with family and friends that i would be attending. i was super-excited!!!... at first. then i started thinking about the dish situation.

how was i going to prepare a dish to take to this casting call 6+ hours away from my home?

on masterchef's facebook page, i asked if anyone knew what constituted a dish but received no reply. after attempting to get a hotel room at one of the area residence inns with no avail, i decided to take a dessert to plate. i knew exactly what i was going to prepare...
my pink suede cake!

however, as soon as i decided to plate the cake , i started second guessing myself. i had this funky feeling that i was going to be in line with all these people bearing beautifully plated, succulent, savory main dishes, and i was going to be like, "hi, i'm dani from kentucky. here's my (day-old, well-travelled) cake." after expressing my dilemma to john (who thought the whole venture was "screwy" because of my lack of information), we agreed that i would just wait for masterchef to come to a town closer to home preferably nashville.


on tuesday of this week, a dear friend called and totally harassed me when i told her i was choosing not to go;)
"if you don't go, i'm going to be so mad at you! you could totally win! i'm going to come get you on friday after work and take you myself! yadda, yadda, yadda..."
ha! she was killing me.


that very night my brother called. "well, are you going to go this weekend?" he asked.
"i don't know." i continued, "i don't think so."
"i don't think it would be a good idea," he said. "you cannot be away from home that long." he laughed.
"i think i could do it, it's only for a couple of weeks between february and march."
"oh, i thought it was like american idol where you're there for the show's entirety.. like 13 or 14 weeks."
"oh, nah, it's all pre-taped before it airs." (i was sure i'd read that it was a 2 week commitment.)
"that's still a LONG time for you to be away from home, sister!" he laughed.
i laughed, too; but he was right, nonetheless.


on wednesday morning, roy called.
roy, from masterchef!
he called to inquire as to whether or not i would be attending the chicago casting call on saturday
and to ask if i had any questions giving me a link to a faq site.

after going to the site, i had answers to most of my questions and all of john's questions. i called him and shared the information i gathered. "what do you think?" i asked him.
"it's up to you, but i still think you should wait until it comes to nashville," he replied.
"i think i should just go ahead and do it; i may not have this chance again."

i returned roy's call and confirmed i would be there.
i made hotel reservations.
i took a head-shot and sent it to walgreens for prints.
i made a grocery list:
pork tenderloin
green onion
feta cheese


i told everyone i was going to go to the call and asked for prayers that my pork tenderloin would be edible (after standing outside the institute for up to 4 hours in chicago's winter weather conditions). everyone was so supportive and sweet... promising to pray for my tenderloin:)


i uploaded the 11 page contract from the link roy sent me.
i read through the questions.
when i arrived at the question asking if i would be able to make a 7 week commitment between february and march, i started sweating.
i took a picture of the screen and texted it to my aforementioned dear friend and cheerleader.
i received a quick reply, "you are going to have so much fun!!!"

being away from home for a week once or twice a year is fun,
but after 7 days, i'm totally ready to be back at home.
as my brother pointed out, 2 weeks was pushing it (but, i knew i could do it if need be).
being away from home for 7 weeks did not sound a bit FUN to me:(

i emailed the contract to john to read. he did and brought a copy of it home to me yesterday afternoon. "did you see that the time commitment is 7 weeks?" i asked him.
"yep, i thought you said it was only 2 weeks?'
"i thought it was! assuming i would even make it that far, i don't want to be away from home that long, john."
"yeah, that's what i thought when i read it; you'd be homesick after about a week," he responded.
"i'm not going to do it, ok?"
he laughed, "it's up to you."

in the end, it is up to me. i would love to win the $250,000; don't get me wrong. but honestly, i cannot put a price on missing 2 months of my family's life. economically speaking, one of these days i my not have a choice but to travel away from home to monetarily support my family. but, right now, i'm just not that hungry (i am so blessed!). i hope that a person who is that hungry wins the competition.

as for me and my house, we are going to eat a wonderful, HOT, FRESH pork tenderloin at home together on the lane this weekend:)

love and GOD's blessings,
dani xxx


Kathy Cook said...

Dani, I believe you made the RIGHT choice for you and your family. Just being offered the opportunity to compete is amazing in itself. Perhaps the 7 weeks instead of 2 was God's way of helping you make the right decision. Blessings to you and yours.

Tanya said...

You have made the right choice beautiful! You would have won hands down without a doubt! Your family is beyond blessed! ILY xxx

Sally said...

Good for you, girl. You always seem to make the right choices, but what an honor!

Wish I could be there for that scrumptious tenderloin!! :)

Michelle Alley said...

What an opportunity, but family comes first - 7 weeks, would be a lifetime in my kids world. Your dish sounds delish! Take care and enjoy your family :)

Wendi@EveryDayMiracles said...

Aww! What a sweet story. I think you would've done amazing... but I would have done the exact same thing as you. :)