When we last left our tenderloin related saga, the finalists had just met with the wonderful Anna Olson and were being prepped for the cook off in KRAFT Kitchens later in the day...
After we met with Anna, we were put into a room with two twenty something publicity mavens who were there to teach us how to behave when speaking with the press.
Its a strange thing about the experience, I had gone from being a fully capable - some might even say - highly respected person in my own community, to a nodding and smiling "middle aged person in search of adventure" who was thrilled to partake of their knowledge.
Two young women in stilletto's and mini skirts who weren't even a glimmer in their daddy's eyes while I was flashing my badge and arresting people (albeit badly) were telling me, someone who regularly speaks to the press about topics far more controversial than cream cheese, how to run a media campaign.
I tap danced over all it, though, because I still had stars in my eyes about becoming Canada's Next Great Cooking Star!
It seems to be a theme lately.
But we're talking about the cook off today, and that experience remains a highlight in my life - so before we get into the superstar status that I didn't attain, I invite you to continue onward with an optimistic middle aged woman on the adventure of a life time for the remainder of today's installment.
The afternoon of the cook off we were broken into two groups. Group 1 would be going into KRAFT Foods Kitchens to cook first while Group 2 waited in a holding room.
I was in the second group and will admit now that the wait was excruciating. We sat around and made small talk while the others faced off over appetizers and side dishes - wondering and worrying about what was to come.
Soon enough the first contestants began streaming in, red faced and relieved - the hard part for them was now over - and as the butterflies continued to gain momentum in my stomach I knew there was no turning back!
Luckily for all of us, we were a close knit bunch, and I had the good fortune of sharing a kitchen and cooking off against fellow entree finalist Mandy Cmoc. Mandy's sense of humour and fun were the perfect balance to my trademark anxiety and neurosis and before I knew it we were both pandering to the cameras like old pro's and responding to Anna Olson's on camera questions like Iron Chefs.
There was camaraderie, competition, and drama - I had 60 minutes to butterfly, stuff, sear, and roast a pork tenderloin and the one they purchased for me was far larger than what I usually worked with! I know that may not seem like a big deal to a non foodie contest competitor, but for me, deep in the thick of it, this was make it or break it time!
That's where the sisterhood kicked in - Mandy kept me calm and laughing as she put together her amazing chicken crepes and Danielle Abray, one of the other entree finalists, generously offered to go in front of the judges before me in order to give my tenderloin more time to roast.
The result... pork tenderloin heaven!
Now I had to present my dish to the judges...
Stay tuned next week for the judging...
And for a terrific recipe featuring cream cheese, you've got to try my Cheesy Garlic Shrimp Loaf!
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