Read it. Watch it.
Where you can find me when I’m not in the kitchen
Where you can find me when I’m not in the kitchen
*WARNING: This is a long entry so apologies in advance.
First, to address the question everyone’s been asking: my cookbook is slated to hit bookshelves in the spring; I’ve only recently met with the editor and publishing house, and conceptualization of my cookbook has only just begun last week. However, the MasterChef Ultimate Cookbook, which contains recipes from this season’s top 18 and recipes from previous seasons’ contestants, goes on sale TODAY.
On to other matters…
Wow. It’s been a week since I’ve been revealed as the winner of “MasterChef” season 3, and the outpouring of love and support has been overwhelming to say the least. I have been paralyzed in writing this initial entry post-finale because, frankly, I have been overcome with such a spectrum of emotions that I’ve been finding it difficult to articulate. There are joy, anxiety, fear, pride, humility, bashfulness, and relief all coursing through my veins at the same time, every day, all day, since even before the finale aired.
I try my best to be a genuine person and can only hope my candidness is embraced and appreciated. With that being said, I want to share with you first my anxieties followed by my gratitude.
This whole MasterChef” thing has been a crazy journey. I know I say it all the time, but seriously. I can’t believe it. I can’t believe I’ve cooked for Graham Elliot, Joe Bastianich, and Gordon Ramsay. I can’t believe I’m about to cook for Daniel Boulud, Guy Savoy, and Alain Ducasse. I can’t believe I’m cooking like a fiend on national television. I can’t believe I’ve cried so much on national television. I can’t believe so many people around the globe have heard of or read about or watched me on the show. I can’t believe how transformative an experience it has been. Perhaps the top two things I’ve taken away from MasterChef are: (1) confidence in my abilities, and (2) relationships with other contestants.
Even before I’d made it to the top 100, before coming to L.A. To cook for the three judges in the auditions, I’d laughed it off whenever the topic of “MasterChef” came up among my friends. “I don’t have the drama queen personality for TV,” I’d say. “I’m not quirky enough.” Or “I’m just a cook; I’m not a chef.” Or “There’s no way I’m good enough to compete.”
But my making it this far is a testament to the possibility of the impossible. I grew beyond my self-doubt and started believing in my abilities. I would never dare say I’m the best cook in that MasterChef kitchen because, frankly, it’s not in my modest personality to say so, and moreover, I don’t and can’t know anything for sure—I could never see how my fellow competitors handled their knives, what sorts of techniques they employed during cooking, how they plated their finished dishes. I could never see any of it. All I could do was focus on what I was doing, taste my own food, adjust my own seasonings, do the best I can do with what I was given.
The friends I’ve made on the show are the best things I’ve taken away from the experience. The fact that you can throw a bunch of crazies from the most varied walks of life with personalities, interests, and backgrounds covering polar ends of a spectrum and have them bond so magnetically within such a short period of time prove the universality of humankind. I am uplifted every time I think about this phenomenon—how despite so many differences, people can still unite over such basics like food, art, things that sustain us. Our differences make us beautifully colorful, but it is our similarities that make us transcendentally homogenous.
Relationships are what make life worthwhile, and the ones I’ve cemented at “MasterChef” are priceless. That, along with knowing the tremendous positive impact I’ve had on so many perfect strangers, are things I would not trade for the world.
I just want to give a sincere, heartfelt thanks to all those watching the show and who have shown me love and encouragement. It makes getting up every morning so much easier knowing that I have more supporters than haters out there. Onward and upward! xoxo
Now that I’ve cleared up my reputation as a hater of the world’s greatest athletes, let’s move on to more important things (the sarcasm strikes again): MasterChef season 3. It’s coming back with a vengeance this Tuesday, August 14. We get the privilege (torture?) of taking over a Michelin kitchen. Here’s a sneak preview. Yes, Joe likes to play the villain. So before you lovely fans of mine go off and blast him with hateful words, remember that Joe is not an inherently evil man—he just plays one on TV. Or maybe that’s just the must-see-the-good-in-everyone side of me talking. Either way, please tune in to see how we two-left-footed amateurs handle cooking in a fine dining restaurant. Good luck to all; may the best cooks win.
This third season of “MasterChef” is more than half over, and since last night, I’m proud to say I’m still in it. Top 6, baby!
Ever since the show started airing, my life has embarked on a wild ride. If you would’ve told me a few months back while I was still filming the show that all this craziness would ensue, I would’ve rolled my eyes and said, “Yeah, right.” Having lived life in relative anonymity for 30+ years, fame is hard to fathom. But here it is, and I must say, it’s been an incredible experience. I still find it hard to call all my emails and messages “fan mail,” but regardless of what they are, I’m touched that so many people from all over the globe have reached out to tell me their stories, their fears, their struggles, their desires, their accomplishments, their failures. It’s not easy to be vulnerable, and I want to erase the stigma that dependence has. It’s all right to ask for help sometimes. We are all more alike than different, and working together produces exponentially better results.
Speaking of teamwork, it was difficult for me to watch the latest episode where Stacey and I had to tag team making a Japanese platter. People ask me what it’s like to watch these episodes, if we’ve seen them before they air on national TV. The answer is no, all of us cast members watch it for the very first time right alongside America. And, for me, it’s an emotional roller coaster. I find myself cracking up most of the time because it’s like watching a bunch of your best friends acting silly or mucking up dishes on TV. And then sometimes I cry when they’re especially hard moments like when Josh and Stacey leave. It is like reliving those days all over again, and I always need a drink to get me through each episode.
It tickles me to see how fans can be so diehard. Ryan assigned me a live crab, and his head was virtually bitten off over the internet. At the same time, I curse in that kitchen about 500 times more than they’ve let on camera. Naturally, I’ve become the angel and Ryan worse than Satan himself. But honestly, it’s TV, and there is this crazy manipulative thing called editing. While I am very much relieved I’ve been made to look like the heroic underdog on the show, I feel terrible for how some of my friends have been portrayed. I know I can’t speak for everyone, but I myself am the kind of person that tries my best to see the good in everyone. Hate is just poison to our minds, and I’d much rather fill my head and heart with love. Life’s hard enough—why spend it and all your energy on loathing someone?
Anyway, life has been pretty crazy. When people tell me I’ve inspired them to cook, to try out for the high school soccer team, to go to grad school, to go to culinary school, to pursue their dream vocation; it makes it all worth it. I’ve always hoped my past struggles could be used to positively impact at least one or two others that I’d meet in life. And my hopes and prayers have been answered to the nth degree. I just want to tell everyone that I am grateful for the love and support. Know that I do read all of your messages, emails, posts, and tweets; I may not be able to respond, but I do read them. And yes, for the last time, it’s really me on Twitter and Facebook!
Keep on fighting the good fight. Much love. xoxo
It’s all happening so fast, I can barely breathe. Many told me it would be crazy, a roller coaster, that my life would get turned upside down; but my small nugget of a head couldn’t wrap itself around the magnitude of this show. And it’s supposedly only the beginning. I’ve been getting some awesome fan mail that makes it all worthwhile: “You are the most amazing person I’ve ever heard of in life or TV…if I ever met you, I’d embrace you and weep” to “I’d like to write a children’s book with you as a character.” Wow wow wee wow.
The social media has gone through the roof too. After the first night’s premiere (which I believe you can watch on Hulu the day after they’ve aired), my Twitter more than doubled in followers and my Facebook crashed due to high-volume traffic. It’s all a little bizarre—okay, a lot of bizarre—but I’m enjoying the whole bizarreness of it and trying to make sure I stay grounded and humble through it all. Mostly, I hope to use this entire experience to have a positive impact on this world.
Sorry that I haven’t been posting recipes. But, seriously, I barely have time to cook, let alone write or blog. In the meantime, please “like” my Facebook page and follow me on Twitter for all things “MasterChef.”
You can post all things food or MasterChef related and keep up with the latest goings-on in the MasterChef kitchen through these avenues. Thanks for the support, keep watching to see how far I make it, and spread the word.
“MasterChef” airs on Monday and Tuesday nights at 9/8 PM CDT on FOX.
To kick off the season three premiere of “MasterChef,” I’ll be on the Houston FOX morning news at 9 AM CDT doing a short cooking demo of the very same dish I make for Gordon, Joe, and Graham during the audition. Tune in if you want to see a very nervous gal looking awkward while trying to put together a plate and talking about her experience at the same time in less than five minutes.
*Update – Video has been taken down.
My bro-in-law posted this on my Facebook today. You would think I’m completely used to hearing myself on the small screen by now, but no, I am still horrified at the sound of my voice. This clip is funny, though, since it’s got all these dramatic camera angles and music. So crazy how editing can affect the consumer experience; it reinforces the importance of editing my own creative writing. (Ah, you like how I tied together the two passions of my life, food and literature?)
The third and most epic season yet of “MasterChef” premieres Monday and Tuesday, June 4 and 5, at 9/8 PM CDT on FOX. A witch, a pissing horse, a lollipop-sucking monkey–hot stuff…how can you resist?
I’ve been MIA for a while. But not to fear–I had good reason. I promise. During my hiatus, I was cooking my ass off to impress Gordon Ramsay, Graham Elliot, and Joe Bastianich. That’s right, I was cooking for my life to get on season three of the summer hit show “MasterChef” on FOX. After open casting calls in several cities across the U.S., I made it past tens of thousands of contestant hopefuls to land a slot in the top 100 to cook for the three notable judges. Did I impress them enough to get a white apron? Tune in to find out: “MasterChef” season 3 premieres June 4 and 5 on FOX at 9/8 Central. See what craziness ensues! In the meantime, here’s a promo commercial. And yes, that’s yours truly smack dab in the middle of it already crying like a buffoon. Hah!
I don’t know what’s come over me. The older I get, the more daring I become. Or maybe the courage came with the vision loss, an illogical need to overly compensate to feel “normal”—“everything you can do, I can do too.”
Whatever the motivation, it has driven me to skydive two years ago and ski last year. My most recent adventure involves strapping both my feet to a board and skidding down an icy mountain. That’s right, I tried snowboarding last month. A bunch of friends decided to take a trip to Breckenridge again, and again, I called the BOEC to schedule boarding lessons. I was surprised to find that boarding came more naturally to me than skiing. I was less miserable this time and could even say I had fun. I was psyched to be able to go down the green and connect my turns a little from toe to heel by the second day. My teacher insisted that I was better than a lot of sighted beginning boarders. I think the key was the no fear factor—because I couldn’t see how steep a slope was or where the obstacles were, I just had to go with it and fully trust my instructor. I also think I had great instructors who, obviously, are highly trained. Thanks, BOEC, for helping people of all abilities enjoy the outdoors.
Here is a video John got of me snowboarding down the green with Wendy, my instructor. I’m slow as hell, but hey, I can say I carved on my very first trip! I hope this video inspires you—know that you can really do anything if you put your mind to it. Happy New Year, everyone!
Several months ago, a reader contacted me and asked to do an interview for a short piece she was writing about the cook who is visually impaired. I guess with a URL address as obvious as “theblindcook.com,” it was easy for them to stumble upon my page. The inspiration for the piece is rooted in the recent popularity of a Masterpiece Theatre show called “Downton Abbey” where the household’s cook begins losing her vision and has to deal with kitchen mishaps. I had forgotten about the article and interview until a friend recently brought my attention to it; she had found it while searching for my site. How funny is that?
I was also fortunate to have come across a fellow foodie blogger recently and was captivated by her descriptive and honest takes on local eateries. After contacting Ms. Fork to let her know she had another fan, she was generous enough to also write an entry about me.