Tuesday, February 21, 2012

How a Pork Tenderloin Saved My Life - Gobblers!

This is the ongoing saga of my experiences in the world of recipe competitions in 2011. To read last week's installment, click HERE.

We left last week with our cooking Divah, aka yours truly, getting ready to take her fabulous offering to the judges during the Season 1 open call auditions for the Food Network Canada show Recipe to Riches in 2011.

Part 3

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!

10 comments:

  1. U AND I R FOREVER CONNECTED IN HEART, LYNDS, 4 WHEN
    U HURT, I HURT, AND WHEN U SHINE, I FEEL A PART OF
    ME SHINING ON RIGHT BESIDE U.

    U HAVE BEEN A GOD SEND FROM DAY ONE, AS I HAVE TOLD
    U MANY TIMES, AND I WANT U 2 KNOW WHAT A VITAL ROLE
    U HAVE PLAYED IN MY LIFE SINCE 2006, WITH ALL OF YER POSITIVITY, ENCOURAGEMENT, AND MOST OF ALL, YER CARING SPIRIT.

    U HAVE, PERHAPS W/O EVER EVEN REALIZING IT, HELPED 2 KEEP MY HEAD ABOVE THE WATERLINE WHEN LIFE'S TRIALS AND TRIBULATIONS HAVE SET UPON ME 2 DO THEIR BEST 2 DRAG ME UNDER AND KEEP ME THERE 4 GOOD.

    YER STORIES, EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM, IN SUM SHAPE AND/OR FASHION, HAVE TAUGHT ME VERY VALUABLE LIFE LESSONS AND ENCOURAGED ME 2 GATHER MY COURAGE ABOUT
    ME,CLOSE MY EYES, TAKE A DEEP BREATH AND JUMP IN2 EVERY OPPORTUNITY AND CHALLENGE THAT COME MY WAY.

    IF U ONLY KNEW WHAT A BIG CHICKEN I WAS MY WHOLE LIFE LONG, U'D PLAINLY SEE THE SIGNIFICANCE OF U BEING SUCH A VITAL PART OF MY EXISTENCE.

    I SHARE THAT LUMP IN YER THROAT AND THOSE TEARS THAT WELL UP IN YER EYES, BUT MOST OF ALL, I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE THE THOT OF "WHAT IF THIS WAS THE BEST THING THAT HAD EVER HAPPENED 2 ME AND I JUST DIDN'T KNOW IT YET?"

    MY CHAPEAU, NOW AND ALWAYS, IS OFF 2 U, MY DEAR FRIEND.

    THANK U 4 BEING WHO U R IN MY LIFE AND 4 ALLOWING ME 2 B WHO I AM IN YERS.

    I HOPE I NEVER 4GET 2 REMIND U FROM TIME 2 TIME WHAT A HUGE BLESSING U HAVE BEEN, R NOW, AND ALWAYS WILL B 2 ME.

    TOWANDA FROM YER FRIEND THE BEE KEEPER,

    ~IDGY~

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    1. Well now my dear and brilliant friend, you have made two people cry now with your words.

      You're just a bee charmer, that's what you are ;)

      You are also an important part of my life. You matter and you matter to me. Whether you know it or not, you, my dear Idgy, are brighter than the sun.

      To Life!

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  2. Love it! Love that you are taking us through this journey with you. And boy, I feel the disappointment with you over that phone call. I can only imagine (and it's not difficult). Now, looking forward to the next chapter! :)

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    1. I was so excited to share this with friends who know what it is to take a risk, fall down, and get right back up fighting. Jeanine, you are not only one of my dearest kindred spirits in the cooking world, you are also an inspiration to me. You have so much talent. Love you woman!

      (Can't wait until you get to read about yourself in this saga)

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  3. This brought tears to my eyes too! I am desperately trying to convince myself I'm better than just okay.

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    Replies
    1. I can guarantee you are better than just okay. I have known and loved you for years. You are amazing.

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  4. Man, you had my crying with this one! Can't wait to hear your perspective on the RWOP contest!!

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    1. Cindy, I can't wait to get to RWOP. Love you so much!!! I was your fan long before and always saw something special in your recipes and blog. I also see that you have that special certain something on camera and hope that you keep putting yourself out there. You are the kind of person people remember.

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  5. I read this post before auditioning this year for Recipe to Riches. I thought nonchalently, well that would stink getting so close. And here I am.. gold the gold ticket, got the background check and then.. got the rejection. I loved your post and the final words were exactly what I needed to hear!

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  6. From to bottom of my heart, thank you. Your comment has made my day!

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