HOLY MACKEREL! (coastal pun completely intended.) I MADE IT TO THE TOP 3!!!!!!
All I can say is, WOW! What a crazy, crazy ride this has been.
Getting up in front of iconic celebrity chefs plus 2.5 million viewers to essentially make a fool out of yourself in pursuit of a life long dream takes, well.. It takes some cojones. (wink wink, that was for you, Reuben!)
Cooking and presenting on a reality tv show is a world different from doing it in real life.
The idea of being vulnerable, in front of millions of people, on national TV… It’s scary.
And there were times when I totally let that fear get the better of me. Remember this precious moment?!
But by the time I got to New York, I was just so sick and tired of being afraid.
My favorite quote of all time is this one from Eleanor Roosevelt:
“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”
Feeling inferior, just like being afraid, is a choice.
No one tells us to be afraid of heights, spiders, people, organ meats, or public speaking. We choose to do it ourselves, whether we realize it or not.
I had some rather irrational fears as a child, which you can read about in a post I wrote last October (killer recipe there, too!). But when you think about it, aren’t all fears irrational?
It’s scary having to make mistakes in front of the world, for everyone to see, judge, and ridicule. But I was tired of letting my fears consume me. I made the choice to rise above, and just go for it. To just let go, relax, and be myself.
And guess what? It worked.
I’ve made a lot of mistakes – on this show, for sure – but also in real life. I mean, LOTS of them.
And really, who hasn’t?
But I’ve learned from those mistakes, and I’ve grown immensely as a result.
If we never made mistakes in life, would we ever learn anything at all?
Making mistakes is essentially how I taught myself to cook, and I always encourage new cooks to not be afraid of making mistakes. Chances are, if you make a mistake and royally screw up dinner, you will be SURE to never do it again. After hundreds of mistakes, just think about how great of a cook you’d be!
Overall, I’m just really proud of how far I’ve come. It’s hard to believe that only a few years ago, I was down and out trying to find my way in the world.
During college, my mom was suffering with ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease), and she passed away two weeks after my graduation, at only 48 years young.
I had no idea what to do with myself. I was completely lost.
But Mom knew I had a profound love of food, and for Christmas the year before she died, she gave me one gift. It was the Culinary Institute of America text book, and she encouraged me to pursue my dream. I read that book cover to cover, and practiced the techniques at home. It took me a few years before I was able to muster up the courage to actually give cooking professionally a shot.
But one day, I decided to face my fear, and just go for it. And look at how far I’ve come.
I can’t help but think about my Mom right now, and just how incredibly proud she would be.
She was the best, most loving, and supportive Mom you could ask for, and I’m so lucky to have had her in my life as long as I did. It’s crazy to think it’s been seven years since she’s been gone, but I feel her watching over me every day.
I have learned so much throughout this process, and I’ve grown immensely. For that experience alone, I am so grateful.
It isn’t over yet, but it’s out of my hands now. It’s now up to YOU, the viewers, to vote for who you want to be the winner.
And hopefully, that winner is ME!
But first, we said goodbye this episode to my beautiful friend Sarah. She made a killer run on the show, and should be equally as proud to have finished where she did.
Sarah seems to have gotten more harsh criticism during our run on FNS than anyone else, so I’d just like to say for the record, that she is one pretty awesome chick. Sarah is a wife, an amazing mom to two adorable boys, a bubbly, fun person to be around, and one hell of a cook. This girl was a private chef for some pretty high profile celebrities, so you know she has some tricks up her sleeve.
Looking forward to reconnecting with Sarah and my 10 other new friends over salted caramel affogatos and cronuts this week during the finale. This girl loves to eat just as much as I do, and that’s precisely why I like her so much.
You can vote two ways, by going to Star.foodnetwork.com (Facebook log-in is required, I believe)
OR dial 855-547-8273.
Each way, you can vote up to 10 times a day, so if you have facebook AND a phone, that’s 20 times! Voting ends Wednesday August 6th at 11am, so get ’em in while you can!
And while your at it, share this with your cousins, your grandma, your best friend, your mom’s best friend, your dad’s drinking buddies, your annoying coworkers, your weird neighbors, your goofy uncle… even your exboyfriends!
I’ve got some tough competition, and can use all the votes I can get!
Tune in next Sunday at the same time, same place, to see if I make it all the way! Food Network, 9pm/8c. Be there!