Tuesday, October 30, 2012

The 5 Life Lessons I Learned as a Finalist on Recipe to Riches

This is strange...

Usually I write about life lessons I glean from watching other people on TV -  not myself - but the journey toward getting onto Recipe to Riches, and the unexpected turns my road has taken in the meantime are worth recording for posterity - or at least for myself.

So without further ado, here are my Five Life Lessons...

1.  The best part of any journey involves the experiences you have while you travel.

Much like Dorothy on her way to Oz, I compare the yellow brick road that led me to Recipe to Riches to the road Dorothy traveled in the iconic story The Wizard of Oz. It was the friendships Dorothy made, and the things she learned along the way that shaped her experience.

When I think back over the last two years, from Recipe to Riches, to The Real Women of Philadelphia, and back again, the best moments I had were spent in nervous anticipation, brainstorming recipe possibilities, meeting people who have now become treasured friends, taking chances, and learning how to do new things.

The journey has given me a new found understanding of courage I never thought I had, media and computer skills that have enhanced the way I think and do things, and supportive friendships that have helped a squeaky old heart believe in itself again.

These things, I have come to learn, are a prize package that is real and long lasting and worth more than I could ever explain.

2. Believe in yourself enough to silence the naysayers. 

In the season 2 auditions, despite the overwhelming excitement and enthusiasm I received from the judges, one comment stood out in my mind: The filling in my Asian Snack Wraps was lacking flavour. Bear in mind, this is the same filling all three judges deemed as being delicious, and special during the actual competition.

Despite that, I came away from the auditions, not focusing on the excitement the judges had about my concept but instead, convinced myself my recipe was somehow flawed and in need of fixing.

This is nothing new for me. No matter how much I accomplish or what roads I travel, there is a tiny voice inside my head always at the ready to remind me that I'm not really good enough.

I'll never know for sure if I would have had enough time to roll out 300 scallion pancakes, individually fry, and wrap them, but I will forever wish I'd taken a gamble on myself and given it a try. This is a life lesson I hope I've truly learned so that the next time I'm presented with a situation to cause self doubt, I will rise above it and stand on my own.

3. Never operate under the assumption others know more about your vision than you do.

My concept for Asian Snack Wraps was to to bring street food to people at home. In that respect, this wasn't a concept I designed as something hungry kids would be eating on the way to a soccer game. I envisioned it as a snack that would give people of all ages a "Food Truck" experience at home  - an opportunity to try a lightly salted, chewy, crispy scallion pancake and enjoy the sweet and sour flavours of fresh ginger, sweet Asian chili sauce, crunchy water chestnuts, and savoury Asian pork tucked inside.

However, because of second guessing and a lesson about hindsight I will speak to next, in the heat of battle I fried my snack wraps to a dull, freaked out brown - and even though they were still really delicious, I completely sealed the deal in my own mind that they weren't good enough so that by the time I got to the marketing challenge and agreed on the name "Wrap Attack" and the whole "cool urban vibe" thing, my fate was sealed.

In retrospect, Wrap Attack had nothing to do with bringing a new culinary experience to Canadian homes (cue an ebullient Lyndsay looking into the camera and gushing "they totally get it").


4. Hindsight really is 20/20

You should have been in my mind during the flight back home, and during the six subsequent months I've had to ruminate over this one in silence. In retrospect there are many things I would have done differently if I knew then what I knew now like (a) not deep fry, (b) test one snack wrap for dough quality and thickness prior to rocking out 100 of them, (c) re-think the whole "urban vibe thing" - lets just thank GOD I refrained from rapping.

Oh, and (d) the bun.

Though the wonderful hair and makeup people did a beautiful job at putting my hair up, the bun didn't do a lot for my street cred.

5. Outcome is just another way to say beginning.

The trouble with an adventure is that it doesn't last forever and no matter how much of your heart, soul, and passion you put into an experience, the day eventually comes when you wake up and realize it's over. Life goes back to normal, memories get filed away, and after awhile few people remember that you were someone who once upon a time took a chance on a dream, traveled the yellow brick road, and met The Wizard.

So to anyone out there reading this who is in the process of chasing your own dreams, know that you are in the best place ever - cherish all the ups and downs, notice everything, and be grateful every single moment for the experience.

The outcome will take care of itself.

As for me, I've always said that endings are just another door way to a new beginning. I don't know what my next adventure will be but I have faith that it will be a good one.

For now, though, I'll end by saying, there truly is no place like home.

If you'd like to try making my Snack Wraps yourself, here is a step by step video

The printable recipe can be found HERE.

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  1. Hi sweetie, these are very good life lessons. I cn't believe you actually doubt yourself at times. YOU ARE AMAZING, talented, smart, clever, original, creative, and of course.....FABULOUS!!!!!!!!!!!!! Think about that for awhile:):) XO, Pinky

    1. Awww... thank you so much Pinky :-) I think it's important for people to be able to admit we doubt ourselves because we all do at one time or another. I'm just hoping this particular life experience has given me another notch on the wisdom belt not to do it anymore!

  2. Aw, Lyndsay! Are you saying I'm the Scarecrow?!? lol KIDDING! You know, you are a risk taker and adventure seeker, you've been an inspiration to us all, even when we didn't know you were going to be on the show. Every single stage & adventure in life has to come to an end sometime, that's the only way that the next one can begin! (((HUGS)))
    PS YOU were on Food Network Canada! :D

    1. "I was on Food Network Canada" she says clicking her heels three times. Thanks Jeanine - and you are my Tin Man, someone with one of the BIGGEST hearts I know who has had to steel herself after disappointment, pick up, start over, and triumph. You are an inspiration to me.

  3. Alex and I made your Asian wraps tonight. Everyone thought they were just unique and delicious. I had trouble with the dough - I need practice. The filling was so good and the green onions (we didn't have scallions) in the dough were so imaginative. None of us knew how everything was going to come together actually. We made it for four of us for supper and it was a nice light, but filling meal. So flavourful. I didn't think that the sauce was all that until it was dipped. Neither did Alex get it till he dipped too. Lyndsay - we know know why you were on that show! I wish that we could just buy the pancakes already done to make it lol (we cooked for two hours - two of us!!) We will definetly make them again but do it in stages! You are truly talented.

    1. The dough can be picky :-) An easy alternative is to use wonton wrappers or Phyllo pastry in little mini muffin tins fill, seal like a bundle and bake.

      But the dough really makes it - I love the chewiness.

      Thanks for trying the recipe, love you BIG, and give Alex a big hug for me, I'm so glad he got it!!

    2. Thanks for the alternatives. We have a bit of filling left. I will try the dough again. I think I can do better next time.