Monday, January 11, 2010

Me & Gordon Ramsay, part 5: the audition

OFF THE RECORD: I'm usually not very cold tolerant. I like to keep my house between 70 and 78 degrees. I dress in layers from October to May, and am always thrilled when summer rolls around. So what on earth was I doing standing in line, in the cold yesterday?

Cold does not begin to describe the temperature in Newton, MA yesterday, where auditions were held for Gordon Ramsay's new reality show. The open call was scheduled from 1:00pm - 5:00pm. Hopefuls were instructed to bring their dish ready to serve, at proper serving temperature. I was glad both of my prepared dishes were meant to be served cold, because I and my food waited outside for about 5 hours before going in.

There were approximately 170-180 people in line ahead of me (and I arrived at 1:30!). Some people tired of waiting in the cold and left without auditioning.
Approximately 100 people waited behind me and I'm not confident that everyone got a chance to audition.
I took this photo (of the folks behind me) about 15 minutes before I was admitted into the building for my audition.

Inside, the process was fairly quick and well organized. A casting director separated those of us who had preregisteted and arrived with completed paperwork from those who just showed up with food. Audition-ees were invited into one of two prep rooms, where we plated our dishes and waited for the Food Critic to visit with us.

Fortunately, my sushi survived the 90 minute drive and 5 hours outside. I had wrapped it securely in tin foil but a few pieces did fall over. I spent a few minutes righting the fallen sushi rolls and wiping drips of errant wasabi-almond sauce from the serving plate. I garnished it with fresh cilantro and black sesame seeds, laid out the chopsticks and waved to let the casting director and Food Critic know I was ready.

When the Food Critic arrived, I explained how I had created the raw vegan dish, without rice or fish. She lifted a piece in her fingers and popped it in her mouth. She chewed for what seemed like a very long time while I examined her face for signs of appreciation or repulsion.
Possibly sensing my nervousness, she explained something about her process, and described the taste as unexpected, light and ( music to my ears) REFRESHING. We discussed how the sushi might be served as part of a meal, what other dishes I might include, etc. She asked how I learned to prepare such food (my response: from my family, reading cookbooks, experimenting, and watching cooking shows), and whether I would be willing to prepare cooked food (Yes. I do this for my daughter anyway.)

The fact is, in any other situation, I probably would have gone home after 30 minutes to an hour of waiting outside with temps in the 20s. Something held me there, some feeling that I had gone this far, and needed to get through the process and see if I had a shot. For most of the time, I didn't even mind the cold. In those moments when my body just wouldn't take it, a very nice woman let me warm up in her car. Anyway, it was worth it - I got a call back!

More news tomorrow, after my meeting with the casting directors.

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