Thursday, August 18, 2016

Snooty's Marvelous Reality Cooking TV Show Audition Experience... Or Not

Well, I did it. I finally decided to audition for a reality cooking show in Dallas, Texas in early 2016. It was for a show that is on mainstream network TV. I'd like to say it went well but since I'm writing this, it means I didn't make the cut. On the other hand, I learned a lot more about what the producers are looking for in an audition. I was not in that category(whatever it was) this time.

                                        This is the actual cheesecake I took to the audition:

Honestly, I was not approaching the audition as I would have approached a casting call at the local Community Theater. That was my first mistake because it's really just that... On a Hollywood scale. I thought I would be judged and praised for my cooking expertise so I brought my *A Game*. Only it's not about the food. Not even a little. The dishes other potential cast members brought to the audition were downright disgusting. I know this because toward the end of the audition we were all tasting others dishes, left and right. After the first two samplings, I stuck to my own culinary offering. I seriously had to bite the bullet calm down my gag reflex to keep from spitting it out or throwing it up. However, although I felt ancient among all of those fresh, shiny faces, my dish was as delicious as ever.

I discovered that the team of amazing people that oversees the *whole audition process* teaches each contestant to cook before the competition actually begins in Los Angeles. They teach you the skills you need to be good and it's up to you to perfect those skills. That's when the show begins. So, the show has evolved since its inception, just like any reality show. They aren't necessarily looking for *you* on a plate which is what I was told to bring. What they are looking for is your personality on a plate. And youth. They are looking for youthful personalities to sparkle youthful fairy dust on their show. They are not looking to cast someone who is old and can't remember what she walked into a room for. I've always entertained the idea that I was born too late or too soon, in time. This experience confirmed that theory.

But that got me thinking... Wouldn't it be a hoot if they had an old farts reality cooking show? Baby Boomers would howl with laughter like insane asylum loonies at the Senior Moment Antics, right? It would make the millennials implode from rolling their eyes so much. Just a passing thought, really. It's gone now.

                                This is the extra cheesecake I made in case of emergency:

Anywhoo, while standing in line to enter the audition room (in numerical order), we (those of us who were there to audition) began to talk and get to know each other. In our time slot there were about 22 of us. I found out that most of the other people auditioning had already been to several auditions. I was in awe. They will travel as far as is necessary and everyone has *a story*. The young woman in front of me was a Dallas nurse and part-time yoga instructor, married to a Peruvian whose family had taught her to cook their native dishes. The young woman behind me was from Baton Rouge and was a struggling single mother just reaching for The Golden Ring. Behind her was a 59 year old woman who had lost 100 lbs., learned to cook healthy, and reversed her diabetes 2. The stories were as diverse as they were compelling. I wanted to hurl after tasting their food but they had great stories. I realized I was out of my league and out of my age group, which is 60+.

So. I made my Green Chile Cheesecake, which is to swoon for. Apparently, it confused the Millennial producers (tasters and interviewers) but those auditioning loved it. The taster kept asking me if it was a mousse. If it's baked in a spring-form pan then I call it a cheesecake. Period. Trust me when I tell you it was the best dish there. The taster stabbed a chunk out, tasted it, gave me a look, and moved on. I knew I was toast until I tasted the other dishes presented. At that point I was actually naive enough to think I had a chance. I didn't. I didn't have the story or the presentation they wanted. I wasn't bouncy and/or enthusiastic enough, nor was I funny. I was a nervous wreck. First time jitters I suppose.
                                                       Our rental condo in Dallas:

The call back never came. Fortunately, I was too busy eating my way through Dallas cuisine to care much. By Sunday it began to dawn on me that I was apparently not their girl... Umm, woman. After much contemplation I realized how silly I felt. I guess most artists feel like this at some point, for one reason or another. The feeling of total inadequacy was overwhelming and it intensified my feelings of being too old to be good enough for anything. Don't worry. It was just a passing mood of sorts.

                                               Our Rental Condo in the SMU District:

Because we spent a great deal of money getting ready for this and on the rental condo and the gas to get to and from Dallas, the ingredients to make the test cheesecakes, and the final entry cheesecake... It hardly seemed worth it. Except that I got to do something I had wanted to do since the inception of TV reality shows. So, that's a good thing, right? I still had fun doing it and might even do it again, although probably not... I'm no spring chicken. My time in the limelight has passed me by. I was busy raising kids during a time when there were no cooking reality shows or anything else for that matter... My *hey-day* was before cell phones and digital cameras, so yes, I believe I was born too soon or too late. I would have been a jazz singer had I been born earlier. Like the Roaring Twenties. No lie.


Cathy Monroe said...

I like your idea of a "senior" cooking show. That would be fun and would give us old folks a chance to show our stuff. I once auditioned for Who Wants to be a Millionaire, but also never got the callback. I thought I was really "on" that day, witty but not silly. Oh well.

Betty Crow said...

This is Betty/BJ. You may remember me from Rubbish by Roan. I am now Betty Crow and blogging again, sometimes. I love that you auditioned! Even though you didn't make it, it makes for a good memory. The recipe looks awesome. All those young folks that are in charge and interview us older folks for jobs only see our age and not what we have to offer. In your case, lots of tasty food.


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