This weekend, I really felt like a Food Network Star.
First, the obvious reason. This Saturday I had a cooking demo at Food Network and Cooking Channel’s New York City Wine and Food Festival. I demo-ed before Morimoto, and at the same time as Giada. I had a mainstage with my own signature recipe, a culinary team to assist with prep and navigating the kitchen set … even my very own pump-up entrance music.
But the second reason was more subtle. I get recognized every now and again, but this was a whole other level. The NYCWFF is a necessary pilgrimage for anyone who loves food TV. I was among my people -- not only people who watched Food Network Star and followed my journey, but also people who are simply obsessed with food. As a newbie Food Network Star, people came to me with their stories, recipes, ideas, and dreams. I feel weird calling them fans … they’re more like new friends.
Here are more details from the day.
The day started at my hotel room, where I got my hair and makeup done.
Then we drove a couple blocks to Pier 94. I had some time to review my mise en place and make sure everything was where I wanted. I made curry beef sambos, the recipe that inspired the last dish I made for Star Salvation. I ran through my recipe and make sure I knew my choreography -- here’s where I make the beef, fold the the sambos, where I fry them...
Then came my demo! Here it is in full. Thank you to Jason (also from Season 14 of Food Network Star!) and his husband Tom for capturing this video.
Before I went on stage, Giada asked me if I was nervous. I said, not really. Food Network Star presentations are set up as challenges, filled with pitfalls and surprise twists to test your skills.
No one was testing me here. I wasn’t competing against anyone else. There was a culinary team who could help with any mishaps or confusion. I just got up and had fun.
I had my phone in my pocket, but I totally forgot to take a picture of the crowd. When you see me beaming onstage, it’s because I’m looking at all the faces in the audience. I was afraid no one would attend my demo because Giada was presenting at the same time … but the room was full with happy, excited faces. Faces that knew me and my journey and wanted to be a part of it.
What a special thing.
Afterwards I stuck around the stage and took pictures, signed aprons, and gave hugs. Christian’s demo was a couple hours after mine. He killed it, of course.
I attended other NYCWFF events, which I’ll blog about later. I’ll also post the recipe for my curry beef sambos! But right now I need to wind down with a hot tea and a good book. I’m exhausted, happy, and very very full. :)