I am not the Next FoodTV Star
I went out for the casting call for the Next Food Network Star. I wanted to try this experience that I have never done before, and it was really fun. I filled out the 11 page application, and got some Walgreens printed headshots as they asked. I left work early to make the 3 pm cut-off time. I got to the Hutton on West End Ave, and was directed to the conference waiting room with a bunch of chairs for applicants. On this day, there were only 123 and I was #121. I finally got to go in for my interview, and it lasted only 2 minutes. I was going for a Farm to Table concept, I tried to be friendly and inviting. I said my name, and then the casting director, "Tell me more about yourself." I talked about jogging, marathon and eating locally, for about 1.5 minutes, and then the casting director politely but firmly said, "Thank you, I will let you know today, after I meet with the last candidate, if we want to call you back." And there I was. What the casting director was politely but firmly telling me was, "You are Not the Next FoodTV Star, Goodbye!"
What I noticed while I was waiting with about 20 other people was how I would pick people to be on TV if I were the casting director. There is the whole package, the face, skin quality, the body shape, the clothes, the smile, the voice, the food concept, the food competency, and the "It" factor that I would be looking for. There were a few people who looked like they rolled out of bed, and put on clothes that were from the dirty pile, and they did not bother to comb their hair. There were people sitting there who looked pissed off, others like slackers, and there were a couple who are like those terrible antagonistic people on reality TV shows, who you love to hate. Yeah, those people are not the ones I want to see on TV trying to teach me how to cook.
But, I met a couple fun people. There was April from CookinUpDreams.com who was actually one of the 40 finalist for last year's Food Network Star, but she got cut at the last minute. She has the package for this show. She is adorable, she dressed appropriately, she combed her hair into a nice hairdo, she has a beautiful smile, and she has that inviting aura about her. April has the "It" factor. I could totally see her on my TV everyday! I immediately wanted to talk to her because she has unspoken thing. I met Lisa aka Hef's Chef. That is correct, I met one of the 15 Hugh Hefner's personal chefs. Lisa was one of the caterers for Kendra's wedding. Lisa also teaches culinary arts at the Arts Institute. She has the technical goods, but as TV goes, they are looking for people who are going to look great on TV, under pressure and in front of a steaming pot of offal. I met one of Lisa's sweet culinary student. He was dressed in his cooking whites, his hair was trimmed just so, and he has great skin quality, and he was bringing his A game. And lastly, I met Vivek who cooks. Vivek, who I am a fan of his foodie website, seems to know quite a bit about cooking from making tomato soup from scratch to making low and slow Southern smoked pork BBQ. Vivek has a nice way about him, he dressed very well, has a nice smile, and a very nice voice. He exactly what you want in a home cook. He is exactly who I want in my kitchen everyday, and I could totally see him do an international version of Rachel Rays' 30 minute meals. And, The Next Food Network Star TV show has never had a man of Indian decent on the show, so my bets were on him. The only problem is that Aarti's Party, who won last season is just a cutie of Indian decent, so it is possible casting will not be looking for another person of Indian decent right now.
It appears that casting has certain stereotypes in mind when they are casting, like a couple young white men, a couple young white women, an African American man, an African American woman, an Asian American man, an Asian American woman, a person Central or South American decent, a European, an Australian, a couple professional chefs or sous chefs, a caterer, a successful soccer mom cook, a hunter, a farmer, the LGBT, the rich bitch, who knows what stereotype they are looking for. But, no matter what type they are looking for, the people have to be approachable, and the audience will want to have them in their living room every week or everyday.
OK, I did not make it to the next level of casting The Next Food Network Star, but I am still holding out hope for some of the wonderful people I met at the casting call.