This is where I spent my day yesterday, the Delta Halifax Hotel. I was a contestant on Recipe to Riches. A cooking reality show looking for the best recipe in Canada. Top prize is $250.000 and the recipe gets turned into a frozen product for sale nationally by SuperStore grocery chain. The winner of each category(entrees, appetizers etc.) gets $25,00 . I couldn’t resist.
First we spent most of our time in a holding room, waiting for our numbers to be called. I had been asked to arrive at 3:30. I met some great people and the time passed quickly. Here is Dana and his wife. He submitted a killer appetizer of seared scallops on crostini with an AMAZING stilton wine garlic sauce. How do I know? I had a taste of it when I got upstairs.
This is where we waited next. Upstairs in the second holding room after our food was delivered to the kitchen. Quite a few people were let go throughout the day much to their disappointment, but it did say in the info that being at the auditions did not guarantee a tasting. The lucky ones were….
……. handed one of these! Yay.
This meant I next had to go into the final holding room. I was miked and then had to excitedly wait for my turn. Unfortunately I did not bring my camera with me so no pictures of the next few steps.
Once called, I had to go into the kitchen where the culinary team had been preparing my food according to heating specs. Each contestant got to do their own plating and garnish. (this is when I tasted Dana’s scallops, he was upstairs too)
Next, I was then asked to pop to the “Kiss and Cry” to do a pre -judges interview on camera. I have no idea what I said. I’m sure I embarrassed myself but I have no recollection of the words that passed my lips.
Then on to the frontline! My perfectly plated food was taken out to the judges. I had to stand on an x in the wings and then when I was introduced, follow the arrows to stand on a mark precisely front and center of the judging table. EEK! No turning back now. I wish I had asked their names beforehand because I have no idea who they were, only one did looked familiar. * Laura Calder, host of French Food at Home on Food Network Canada, marketer Tony Chapman and cookbook author Dana McCauley.*
They smiled and asked me some questions and then it was taste time. Did I mention that I was the fourth last person to be seen after an entire day of tastings. Amazing they had any taste buds left. I have to say they did look weary but gamely poked forks into my offering and gave it a chew. First impressions good. They liked it!
One judge thought maybe it lacked a “high note”, the other was curious if it was vegan and the marketing man was concerned that it would be too hard to sell. Too many ingredients to put on the box. Too many opportunities people to say they don’t like coconut, another might not like sweet potato etc. Oh well. They did say they liked my “style” I was then whisked out for a post-judging interview. I’m POSITIVE I embarrassed myself again. But we will have to wait until September to see:)
The “winners” got a gold card that said their recipe would be under consideration. Only 3 in each category from across Canada will make it to the final show. Two recipes that got “consideration” status that I know of were a sparkling strawberry pie and a steak sandwich that was served with a shot of Guiness on the side.
This is one of the contestants in the Kiss and Cry. Oh and my recipe? It was a variation of my curried coconut sweet potato soup turned into a stew with a few tweaks!