The Chic Files emailed me a few weeks ago to tell me that ABC’s The Taste was rolling into town and that auditions would be at the Work Bar in Cambridge. I decided to get in on that action. I never auditioned for a reality show before but it wasn’t too different from acting jobs I tried out for in my 20’s. This is how the Taste Auditions went down more or less:
1) You fill out the pre-application. It’s about 20 pages long. You get qs like, whose your favorite chef? Least favorite chef? How would someone describe your personality. My answers? Fav. chef: Batali Least fav. chef: Gordon Ramsey (had a burger at one of his restaurants in Vegas and it was greasy and flavorless and I couldn’t finish it) Personality? Intense (but not in a psycho kind of way!).
2) You brainstorm possible things to make for the judges. Do you make something that will take you half the day? Or do you whip up something quickly? At first I was thinking of making Fennel Corn Chowder, but then I bagged that idea thinking it would take me two days to make. I wasn’t sure where this audition would go and I was pressed for time, so I decided to go with simple but tasty-Rizogolo (rice pudding).
3) You fill out ANOTHER application-another freakin’ 20 pages, sign their contract, then attach a headshot, picture of your dish, and resume. This was starting to feel like a full time job!
4) You bring your dish to the audition and nervously and excitedly wait in line with other VERY interesting, eclectic people who traveled long distances to be there, all with equally great dishes, and some with AMAZING dishes. For example this guy in front of me Ted, a sous chef in Boston, prepared a ginger-scallion sauteed tofu with a homemade pork, chicken broth, delicately garnished with radish and cucumber. After trying Ted’s dish, I was rooting for him to make the show!
5) About an hour of waiting outside, you’re finally called into the audition room. What’s the casting kitchen room like? Clean, organized, uptight and ALL BIZ. First a professional judge and chef from the Cordon Bleu comes to your station. She takes only one bite of your food, and asks you some qs about your dish. For example, she asked what kind of rice I used for the rice pudding. “Carolina”, I said. Who are the next two people to show up at your tasting station? The obsequious casting judges who warn you multiple times that they aren’t there to taste your dish. The casting judges are clearly there to see if got a prime-time TV personality. While taking notes on their notepad, they rapidly fire questions at you such as,”Why should people like your rice pudding?” and “What makes you tick?” …. “YOU make me tick!!!”, (my inside voice said)
6) The judges deliberate for ten minutes then come back to the tasting room and ask four of the eight of us to stay, while the rest of us got dismissed, including me and the lady to my left who made a burrito bigger than my head. I guess she thought the show was called The Mexican Fiesta!
Overall, it was a fun, memorable experience auditioning for ABC’s The Taste. I met some really cool, amazing, passionate chefs, and got to eat the rest of the rice pudding for lunch!