If you're just tuning in, earlier installments of my adventures in the online recipe competition The Real Women of Philadelphia Canada, can be found HERE.
The next few months passed in a blur and though I was excited to have been selected as a finalist in the entree category of the Real Women of Philadelphia Canada, I was sad to see several of the women I had become good friends with - cooks I knew to be just as worthy as me - not going the next step to Toronto.
Although I knew several of them were deeply disappointed - and I fully understood why - none of them ever put me in a position where I was made to feel badly - though, truth be known, I did feel badly because a lot of heart and talent went unacknowledged.
This is the heartbreak of taking chances.
All I could do now was honour the process and give myself permission to be happy. I had worked hard for this and had come a long way since the Philly Nibblers and my "Hello Candice" blunder.
So with my bags packed, and my newly manicured acrylic nails crossed, I got on a plane one early afternoon in July and flew toward what I hoped would be a whole new beginning.
When I arrived in Toronto I made my way to the airport shuttle.
I was told there would be a car waiting for me and, small town girl that I am, assumed that meant my shuttle had been taken care of. However, no one knew anything about it and as I ran back and forth trying to look like a cool and unconcerned traveler, inside I was beginning to panic.
"What if I had been right all along and there had been some kind of colossal mix up?"
"What if I wasn't really a finalist?"
In retrospect I know how crazy that sounds - but ask anyone who lives with anxiety, the mind can be a tricky thing.
However, I managed to pull it together enough to remember that the person in charge of "talent" - Tom - had left me his cell number, and after three fumbling tries at punching it into my blackberry with the acrylic nails on, I made contact!
I can only imagine what I must have sounded like heavy breathing into the phone in the shuttle bay, but somehow he managed to make sense of what I was saying and explained that the car waiting for me was not a shuttle or a taxi but the airport limo.
Further to that, my driver let me know that the hotel I would be staying at "The Thompson" was one of Toronto's premiere locations.
Here is the lobby I walked into as I stepped out of the town car...
And in my beautifully appointed room
KRAFT Foods Canada had left me swag!
It began to dawn on me that I wasn't in Kansas anymore...
Stay tuned next week for the Part 11 - the cook off!
For a little cream cheese inspiration, how about this fabulous recipe for Seafood Lasagna!