Cooks of all ages, gender, and circumstance were assigned numbers and waited nervously in holding rooms - each filled with the hope that opportunity would provide that one big break and every time a cook went before the judges and a coveted golden ticket was given out signifying the lucky cook would be going on, the tension in the air thickened so that by the time it was my turn I had already convinced myself I should have stayed home.
Too late for that, I was instructed to walk into a large studio and stand behind a curtain. My offering would be wheeled into the room ahead of me at which time I would be expected to walk in, stand on my mark, and do whatever I could to make an impression on the three judges: Award winning innovator and ground breaking marketing expert Tony Chapman CEO of the advertising agency Capital C, Dana McCauley, chef, author, food trends expert, and culinary director at Jane's Family Foods, and esteemed celebrity chef, author, Iron Chef Judge and expert in French Cuisine, Laura Calder.
There is something intensely vulnerable about presenting food you have created to a group of people who are there with the sole mission to judge, and though I was convinced I had just fed these three Titans of Taste the worst possible entry in the history of food related contests, I was shocked when they not only said they liked my gobblers, they damn well loved them and I was presented with a gold ticket!
The rest of the day was spent walking on air. We made the last ferry back and I excitedly presented my gold ticket to anyone willing to listen to my ebullient claims that “No matter what happened, I had already won!”
There was, of course, not a shred of truth in the statement. Anyone who has the nerve to enter a competition – and by anyone I mean me - does so with the sole intention of going all the way.
I am being honest.
In our human frailty there lies a need to be recognized for the good things we do, and appreciated for our talents I am no different than anyone else, and certainly, no less fallible.
Two weeks later, I received word that I had made the short list. I was not only in the running for consideration to be on the show, they were serious enough about me to require that I complete a background check!
“This is it,” I thought, and spent the next two days haunting my email and phone, checking, checking, forever checking, waiting for the nod to let me know my ship hadn’t only come in, it was ready to set sail; and finally, that following Wednesday I received the call. It was 8 am BC time. Vaughan answered and then quietly pantomimed that it was them.
“Hello,” I said in the most engaging Food Network Star voice I could muster, “This is Lyndsay...”
It’s funny how quickly everything can change. In one moment I am a person perched on the edge of possibility with open skies and limitless dreams stretched before me, and the next – in one short sentence “We’re sorry but we won’t be asking you to come onto the show” my hopes were dashed into icy stinging shards.
I know there are far worst phone calls I could receive on a random Wednesday - after all my loved ones were all still alive and well - nevertheless, I was crushed, and as I looked over at my husband, his disappointment for me written all over his face, I could feel the tears emerging.
It wasn’t going to happen. My life wasn’t going to change. My dreams were the silly meanderings of a middle aged woman and had no basis in reality.
I wasn’t what they were looking for.
Hell, I wasn’t what anyone was looking for.
Crushed, disappointed, and devastated beyond belief, I vowed never to put myself in a position of that kind of vulnerability again and comforted myself with an economy bag of ripple chips, a tub of dill pickle dip, and a 2 litre bottle of Diet Pepsi because, who needed the extra calories, and proceeded to eat and drink myself into a carbohydrate infused stupor that lasted two days, until my good sense came back and I remembered I’m a fatalist.
I believe that when we look back over the hard times in our lives, the results, in retrospect, are often surprising because it’s usually the things that devastate and disappoint that give us opportunity to learn and to grow and that it isn’t about the situation but rather the way we view the situation that dictates what the outcome might be.
In a burst of the kind of wisdom that comes from twenty five years watching Oprah, I reminded myself that just because the first ball you hit isn’t a home run, it doesn’t mean you should ever stop swinging. This was my first food related contest ever, and in 45 minutes, I came up with an idea that was good enough to almost get me onto a national television show.
Not only does that still make me smile, it begs the very real question: What if this was the best thing that had ever happened to me and I just didn’t know it yet?
Don't ever let defeat define you. When you look at disappointment as a gift and an opportunity and are willing to mold your vision to ride the winds you are currently faced with, all journeys are possible. Don't limit yourself. Take NOTHING personally, and know with your entire being you are brighter than the sun.
That we are even here is a miracle.
Click here for the next installment of our saga and come back tomorrow for a delicious video featuring Asparagus and Sole Packets with an easy Lemony Tarragon Cream Sauce.
And now... would you like my recipe for Gobblers? Just click this link!