First of all- I can’t thank you guys enough for all of your incredible support. The outpouring of liove from friends, family, readers, and total strangers was incredible! I could feel everyone rooting for me and it meant so much to hear from so many of you afterwards! XOXOXOXO
Ok. So now on to a few details about the whole Cutthroat Kitchen Experience!
Sometime in late winter I was contacted and asked if I was interested in being on the show Cutthroat Kitchen. After I got over my initial deep sweating and anxiety attack, I just sort of said yes, and figured I would work through the panic. It’s not that I was scared to be on TV, or to put myself out there- I just felt freaked out at the idea of hard core in the moment competition with strangers! Not to mention that I wasn’t sure that I would be able to keep up with the “in the moment” cooking decisions. It has been years and years since I worked a line or was in a high stress cooking situation- so I felt like that was probably going to put me at a real disadvantage.
So if you remember when I was traveling for like almost a month in April- this is one of the “projects that I was working on.” It was quite the experience!
The most important thing to understand when watching this is what a blur the whole thing was to me. Your brain just SERIOUSLY is not operating on any type of normal level. It is like fight or flight. You are going to culinary war.
Also, let me say that I think that we got more difficult stuff than usual!!! I mean the recipes, not the challenges. The last episode I saw they had to make things like Chinese Chicken Salad and Club Sandwiches and Um, ours were a little more obscure/difficult challenges, don’t you think!? Like there were so many components of these recipes that would traditionally be slow cooked- it was a crazy thing…
So first things first. I wore bootleg jeans with considerable stretch. You never know. I also wore kitchen clogs. I just figured we would be standing all day and they would be the most comfortable. In hind site- I probably should have worn running shoes. I also went full bore red lipstick and mani. Because that is how I always am. I even wear sweat pants and red lipstick at home, you know? But boy did I hear about it from the second I walked in. They wrote me off twice. Once for being a female, and again for being a blogger.
Ok. So the competitors. While being playful, there was a lot of razzing of me- most of which you did not see. Lots of comments about the lipstick and the manicure and me going back to my “sorority house”. Lots of eye rolling about being a “blogger.” (I did not mention at any point that I was a trained chef and published cookbook author). I think that Bloggers are constantly underestimated in the culinary arena, and I knew that they would probably write me off right away because of it. That was ok with me. It even felt like an advantage- because as any good blogger knows, we are innovative…
Let me break it down:
Chef Jason- he was just how he seemed on the show.
Chef Ruddy- is awesome. I am still in touch with him- a truly great guy and side splittingly funny!
Chef Marcus- He was actually nicer than he seemed on the show. A total gentleman in person.
First challenge. The biggest problem was that I didn’t get any mustard because the boys took it all. I also got a big bottle of mirin and I thought it was rice wine vinegar. I had planned to make my own pickled spicy red onions to make up for the lack of mustard. Then I realized that it was mirin. GAH!!!! The whole thing was a blur. I just remember looking at that hideous sandwich in front me just cringing at the presentation- like “seriously Heather!?” I could have done better than that!! But then I scraped through….
Second Round. Stuffed Peppers. I was so elated I can’t even tell you. You guys know I am married to a Greek Man, and I have made stuffed peppers many times. My mother-in-law makes gorgeous stuffed peppers. I really wanted to do her proud. But I was locked in a freaking box. It was so much more chaotic and crazy than it looked- SO MUCH MORE.
But my Greek Pepper won out!!!
And then we were on to our dessert round…. I have never made real Tiramisu. I have never even had it I don’t think!? (sweet cheese is not my thing) Maybe in Culinary School?? Anyways- at least I knew what went into it.
Then came the coffee strainers and stir sticks. Was that not ridiculous? So during the judging I could smell the booze wafting from Chef Marcus’s station. Like it was really strong. Plus I knew he had no sugar in his dessert. On the other hand- for once I knew I had all of the correct components, I had done the best with what I had to work with and I started to let myself believe that it was possible…
Then in the judging it seemed like she didn’t really like mine that much!! And by the way- who ever heard of a too sweet dessert!??
But in the end she was faking me out a little bit! I won Cutthroat Kitchen!!
What they didn’t show was that I started Bawling when they said I won. Like full on ugly cry- totally uncontrollable. I could tell in my final little clips that my face was all sweaty and puffy from crying. Good God what a crazy day that was.
The next day, when I rolled out of bed I almost thought there was something seriously wrong with me. My legs were sore on a whole other level than anything I have ever, ever experienced. Like they were as sore as if I had run a marathon cold with no training. The were so sore that I had to manually cross my legs on the airplane ride home. That means I had to pick up one thigh with my hands and drape it over the other leg- because they didn’t work on their own. Seriously. The only thing I can think of is that I had so much adrenaline and lactic acid built up over the course of the day that it just demolished my muscles! So weird- just like everything else that happened!
I also love how they made it seem like I was all perfectly powdered the whole time. In reality I was like the grossest sweatiest girl ever. My clothes should have been burned afterwards. Just a side note.
OK. At the end of the day I am so happy I did this show. Not because of the money. Not because I can say I won (although that is pretty cool), but because I wanted to represent the food blogging community well.
And the very best part of the whole experience? Watching it unfold with my girls tonight. They were in total suspense and loved every minute of it. I felt proud that I could bring home the win for Team Christo J
Thanks for any of you who tuned in, I have to go now because my eye lids are snapping shut. XOXOPrint Recipe