To catch you up-Friday I was on the season finale of TNT's On The Menu. A new reality show brought to you by Mark Burnett (Survivor, The Voice, The Bible..)
Here is a recap of the details of how all this happen.
In March, I was searching ads for auditions here in Atlanta for Aubrie Kate. It was my push to get her to start reading. When I stumbled upon the ad for the show. Thinking "why not"-I applied. Within 4 weeks, casting agents came to Atlanta from LA and I cooked for them and they video taped me. (I made catfish tacos) a few weeks passed and I had a ton of paper work to do. They have to know all about you, run background checks, etc. Finally, I got the call that out of 5,000 that auditioned I was one of the 40 selected to appear on the show.
I found out a week before the show what restaurant I was cooking for.
I prepared a lot. And I prayed even more.
Let me be honest-I am not an "amazing chef" I am a good cook and i love cooking but I have terrible knife skills (probably because I have terrible knives) and I don't use a lot of salt (bc I don't like it)
I spent a lot of time in prayer asking God that if this was not His will for me-that I would be removed from the show for some reason. I didn't want to do anything that would hinder my witness of Him.
Well, when they called to give me my flight schedule, I took it that I could do this-and he wanted me too.
So I got to LA and began the most insane week of my life. I had a dressing room, a lady that would bring me cokes and bananas anytime I asked, a make up artist, a quiet hotel room....it was just crazy.
I had read Carlos Whittakers book Moment Maker on the flight. He says, "we all have limitations, we all have fears. But JESUS meets us right where we are and he guides us through the steps to overcome them." He then tells a story about when he auditioned for the role as a Disney character-and with no dance experience kept moving forward in auditions because he owned it. He did what he knew and eventually became Eyore. So in my hotel room that night, before our first day on set, I decided I was going to be Eyore. I was going to use the gifts I knew God had granted me to my advantage and If it was meant to be for something to come from this-He would guide me.
For those of you reading this that have never met me, let me give you an insight on my personality. I am a goofball-a nut- a silly SILLY person. I am not immature-i just always try to find joy in circumstances. I love to have fun and to smile. And I am really good at talking to people. Those are my God given strengths. So that was my armour. I woke up the first day of filming-prayed-put on my armour and headed out the door. Whatever was going to happen-God already knew. I was just going to be me. And me I was...for those who haven't watched...I got bleeped for saying "holy crap" when I made it through round one...I used the line "smells like a fart..." On national television and also said "sexiest stank you have ever tasted..." (Yes, my mother was a bit mortified)
Anyway. Each round passed and finally I was in the top 2.
In round 2, I made cornbread with my meal. In California, they use yellow cornmeal, my maw always used Martha White buttermilk cornmeal...totally different textures and flavors.
In round 3 I had to 45 minutes to make my final dish-with the ability to change anything. Without the cornmeal I normally cook with-i chose not to make it. I didn't want to lose because of a weakness in a side dish (although it really does help the meal!) It was a hard decision but yall-that yellow cornbread I served in round two-was not good.
I knew that my meal was perfect for Dickeys BBQ pit because of product cost, southern style and easy prep time.
I wanted to make sure that Mr. dickey knew that too-So I kept the main meal the same and spend most of my third round cooking time preparing my pitch in my head.
When the time came to pitch it to the judges-I was ready. I knew Dickeys facts, I knew how much it cost to make this meal and I wanted the judges to see me as a competitor not the silly homeschool mom that said fart on national TV (and did the sprinkler...it got edited out)
I can tell you God was with me. My producer Karen had on a shirt that said "I can do all things through Christ that gives me strength" that day. When I saw her shirt through the bright gleams of the stage lights I knew...God was meeting me right there and was going to guide me through this Pitch.
After the pitch don and I sat at the bar talking over our meals while the judges deliberated. Then it was time-and within 20 minutes...I was named the winner. When Ty Pennington called my name-I lost it. I cried and cried and cried and it took 2 takes for me to finally talk. (Yes they had to cut for a minute to get me to stop crying so I could breathe and talk)
Yall-I am a mom from Mississippi and things like this don't just happen to people like me. I have always had a wild dream to cook for someone who knew food and could help shape my passion-but I never EVER thought it would happen. And I was okay with that.
But when the moment came to give my HUGE dream a chance-God put me right where I needed to be.
The prize? $25,000 dollars. I can't even fathom...and no, I haven't received it yet...they wait til after your show before you get it. Everyone has asked what I am going to do with it. And I have thought a little about what...I will pay off our debt-it's not much but it's there so it will be nice to have it wiped away-I will donate some & will save some.
Saturday after the show, Mr. dickey came to Georgia and we rolled out the new item and met fans (that is still crazy to me)
With all the attention, I have really sat back and just absorbed what God has done the last few months-none of this would be possible without him.
What's next? Has been the most asked questions-and the truth is-for me, I am satisfied- like I said, this was my wildest dream. I have had people ask if I am getting my own show-and as flattered as I am, I don't think there is a place on cable television for a homeschool mom who compares the smell of her food to farts 😜. I am just going to enjoy this amazing, crazy experience and continue to be mom to 3. Wife to one. And maybe buy myself a new set of kitchen knives :).