Part II of My Weekend

One minute I was enjoying myself in San Francisco and next I’m searching for groceries in Hollywood.  This is part 2 of my long crazy weekend. MasterChef casting emailed me about attending the casting for MasterChef Season 5 about 1.5 days before I should be there. Now there I was, standing at Hollywood and Vine at 7 o’clock in the morning trying to figure out: what am I going to wear and what dish am I going to present.

Unfortunately, I quickly rushed from work to home, grabbed some clothes and then headed down to Hollywood. That means, I didn’t really grab any clothes and really concentrated on gearing up with my knives and tools.  I guess it made it simple for me to figure out what I’m going to wear–just where what I wore yesterday.  Now the task of what to make as my signature dish…

That was more stressful than picking out an outfit. I had to think long and hard for a dish that best represents me. I quickly went down my list of things I like to eat, make, prepare, and serve. I could not think of anything. Time was ticking down and I the recipes I had in mind would take too long to prepare. Then it dawned on me, what food have I had, that’s really good, and can stand the test of time? I knew I was going to be in line for casting and without a means of reheating? Also, the inner food safety manager was kicking in. With that, I decided to go with what I know best: Island BBQ. For those of you who don’t know, I spent a good chunk of my life on the island of Guam. Guam is the home to great island-style BBQ.

Now for the dish…dishes. I couldn’t have just make BBQ so I made a complete fiesta plate consisting of BBQ short ribs, red rice, chicken kelaguen, and a mango salad. Oh and finadene. Yes, I know mango salad isn’t part of the standard plate but I needed a little more color to the plate.  I quickly bought my ingredients and started marinating the short ribs and baking the chicken for the kelaguen.  After that I made red rice and started to crack the mango salad.  There are reasons why I picked this style but the main point was food safety. I didn’t want the judge to get sick from my dish and my fiesta plate passed that test. I completed this after 2 hours of cooking and then it was time to head over to the casting call.

I arrived promptly at 10 AM and got in line.  There were about to 200 people in front of me.  Some of them were seasoned auditioners because they brought in portable chairs and other necessities of life.  For me, I went dressed up in my dress shoes while holding a cooler (I couldn’t feel my feet at the end of the day).  Great props to the casting crew for their ability to maintain the crowd as if they were in line for a Disneyland ride.  Throughout the line they had many different activities such as filming the little snippets that you will see in the beginning of the show.

I made it into the casting room/judging room about 4 hours later.  By this time I was exhausted and I noticed that other people are exhausted but that did not skew enthusiasm and excitement that everyone had.  Once in the room, we are given 3 minutes to plate our dish to have it ready for judging.  After plating, the next step was a short interview and food tasting.  And that’s where I’ll stop.

The overall voyage was really exciting, nerve-racking, and energizing.  I’m so glad that I have the opportunity to have this experience.  I’m not sure what the future will hold but I’ve decided to leave it open and be willing to accept whatever is handed to me. For now, I’m moving onto my next top secret project.

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