MasterChef Canada 2017 Audition Day (for real!)
The week started quickly, I am still in the midst of full kitchen reno, with only the island to work on, thankfully a large island! It was decided that I would make one of my family’s favorite dishes, the cassoulet with cheese bread and my iced tea. Ok, that is not how it happened at all, but it was a start.
Just knowing I had been selected to go audition made me happy to no end, literally from my head to my toes. I decided right away when I got the email to get a room with a kitchen in Montreal close to the hotel where the auditions were being held and taking into consideration traffic and that I had to do to get it to the judge on time and hot!
So on Monday, I made my chicken broth, and on Wednesday I made the cassoulet itself, fact is, cassoulet gets better with time like many simmered meals. I was cooking the beans myself and typically I like using different types of beans, but I discovered that soaking black and white beans creates purple beans, not so great. The cassoulet was all made by Thursday morning.
Let’s back up a bit, on Tuesday, in my kitchen, the ceiling started leaking from my bathroom upstairs, again! So, no bathroom for me till Thursday, and on Thursday, they cut the water off completely to fix the plumbing, of all days! All I had had time to make the bread dough! So I went to the hairdressers to get my hair washed, then readied everything I was bringing to the hotel with my outfit and the dishes I would have to serve my dish in.
Off I went!
I get to the hotel and it is nice and almost perfect, however it lacks an oven in my room, big no no. See? My plan was to bake the bread at 6 am in my room the next morning, couldn’t figure out right away how I would deal with that. I left the room, it was 30 degrees Celsius in downtown Montreal, sunny too and I was hungry! I had a nice lunch at Bistro l’Aromate, a restaurant that brings back memories of lunch with my son Levis when he was attending McGill University, more memories with my friend as she was going through chemo treatment at the Queen Victoria and there was this snowstorm, well, nevermind, she will know of that memory.
Lunch there was lovely and afterwards, I went awalkin’ St Catherine’s, Sherbrooke and Rene Levesque, where lo and behold was the hotel where the MasterChef Canada auditions would be held, I looked around, went to see where the auditions would be held, felt the place out and I liked it. I went back to the hotel, no closer on how to solve the bread issue. I rested for a bit and went for supper with one of my sister’s in law, I introduced her to the restaurant Le Poi Penché, I always enjoy going there, it’s an interesting happening restaurant with great oysters and good food, great service too. It was late by the time we were done, I went back to the hotel and thought that maybe I would make flatbread with the dough. Nope, I couldn't, I had no cooking oil or butter. Gah, I shut the light and went to sleep, and did not sleep, I must have dozed at times, maybe I did sleep, I think I did. At 6 am, I was down in the breakfast buffet mezzanine asking the cook if he could bake my bread. Bless the man, he did!
The cassoulet heated and in a thermos I had tested, I pack everything up, get into a taxi and make my way to the auditions, there for 7:30 and on time.
By that time, I was not nervous at all, I was too excited to be nervous, I was so happy, I felt it in every fiber of my being. As such, the day flew by, I met wonderful people, all the contenders were awesome people, whoever moves on to the next step of this competition deserves it for sure. Gosh, the plates they served were so lovely and intricate, mine felt so simple in comparison, the steps to cassoulet are all in the pot, not in the presentation. Anyhow, we had 3 minutes to plate, so with great aplomb, I carefully filled one of my pasta bowls with the wonderfully smelling cassoulet, I added roasted tomatoes for decorations and a dab of lemon herbs for freshness. I was done within a minute. I felt so silly being done ahead of time, others around me were so busy creating the perfect plate, perhaps I had planned it too well, or my food too simple, I had my first moment of insecurity, but it didn’t last, my attitude was, I am presenting myself on a plate, the cassoulet was warm, spicy, smooth, intricate and happy, if happy can apply to food. As for the bread, I did not place it on the plate as it had baked too quickly and not risen as it baked. However, when the nice judge heard that, he still took the time to taste it, which was nice of him. J They judge was great, he did not make me nervous at all, I love speaking about food and the processes to making the cassoulet, so there it was, me on a plate.
Lucky for me, Jenny, Philippe Richer and baby William were with me, it was one of the best part of the day, holding William and having two people I love around me. Later the camera man and interviewer came and we chatted for so many minutes, again, I did not seem to get nervous at all compared to others, and too, they loved seeing William and Jenny, so it was a great time we had under the eye of the rolling camera.
The day ended so quickly, at 4 PM I was home, exhausted from the excitement and not sleeping, but thrilled none the less.
In short, things happen in life and this happened to me, I would do it again, because food is what brings people, family, friends, opponents and even enemies together. Food, cooking, baking, assembling, tasting, and even more important for me, sharing food is truly something that makes my heart sing.
Thank you all for supporting me my friends and subscribers, without you and my family, I would never have discovered so much more about myself.