“You should audition for Master Chef,” my mom said.
“Hahaha!” I said.
But she mentioned it a few times, and everyone else began to chime in. O began to nudge gently, surprisingly encouraging of yet another new, strange venture.
“You’d really be great at it. I’ve been thinking about it, and I think it’s a really good idea.”
But being yelled at by a Scottish Klingon (Gordon, if you’re reading this after I’ve won the 6th season of Master Chef, I’m sorry. You intimidated me, but I’m glad we’re best friends now) and made to feel vastly inferior doesn’t sound that, er.. fun to me. Besides, I’m not that good of a cook. There’s so many things I haven’t done, haven’t cooked, haven’t memorized! ERMAGHAD
But I love a good challenge.
So we started watching an episode.. you know, just to see. I was intimidated.. but completely inspired. I can do this.
Wait, no I can’t. He’s yelling at them. Oh my god, I’ve never cooked duck. I’ve hardly cooked lamb. Whoa, I can’t deal.
Next episode.. WHOA, I’m way better than that. Dude, simple. Cinch.
Wait, that dude knows his stuff. I don’t know my stuff. How will I ever..
Wait. I want to own a restaurant. I want to be a chef, but I don’t want to go to culinary school and work my way up chopping crap for other people. I can’t help it, that’s just the way I am.
After this realization, O actually looked at me and said, “That’s awesome. I’m proud of you. I think that’s a great idea. I’m glad you’ve finally figured out what you want to do.”
I know he’s always wanted to own a restaurant, but.. huh? Where is this coming from? He’s glad I’ve “finally figured out what I want to do”? Really? I doubt he’s been listening to me go on and on about how I love so many things and could never pick just the startup or just the burlesque school.. but that’s just O.
And it all rests on me somehow magically winning a cooking reality show? I’m poised for disappointment, it would seem.
But that doesn’t change the fact that I decided that, whether or not I made it on the show, it’d be just flat-out fun to prep for it. Cook everything I’ve never cooked before, perfect techniques, memorized tart recipes. I went to Whole Foods to pick up some Dr. Bronner’s and ended up chatting with the butcher and perusing the meat section like I think most girls look at jewelry. My chest expanded with excitement, and I started making a list of every item I’d never worked with (sea beans, fiddlehead ferns, to name a couple) and every cut of meat I’ve never used. I added to that list every technique I’ve shied away from, never mastered.
To that list I added every basic recipe I should have memorized, from crêpe batter to empanada crust. You can find my ever-evolving Master Chef Prep School syllabus here.
I organized a “Chopped”-style mystery basket dinner party extravaganza with some friends.
I’m in, you guys. I’m gonna do it.
I may not make it past the first round of auditions, but getting there would be good enough. Better yet, I’m going to document my journey, filling my blog with everything I learn about everything I come across.. from the best way to cook a london broil to the real differences between rutabagas, parsnips, and turnips to how to french a rack of lamb. Whether or not Gordon ever reads this, I’ll be creating an absolute go-to for culinary knowledge. Because, you know what? I simply can’t find it anywhere else.
I call it..
Master Chef Prep School.
Coming up next.. carrot purée. Because purées are just damn chic and easy when it comes to plating.0