Ever wonder what it's like to try out for Food Network's Next Food Network Star reality TV show at an Open Call?? Find out! My timeline, commentary and pics from today's NFNS Open Call in New York City...
I am a big fan of Food network. My one wish: more vegan programming. So why not take matters into my own hands, right?
Is it time for a Food Network Star to be... dare I say ... vegan? I think this Subway platform speaks for itself...
...Step aside Giada. Move over bobby. Watch out Rachel. Vegan foodie on a mission here!
I am a loyal NFNS watcher. I even live-blogged it the season that Melissa d'Arabian won. I even posted blogs commentating on Melissa's recipes. Melissa was listening. She emailed me and we even met up for a few sit down meals at one point. I went with her to Pure Food and Wine (raw, vegan, ahem) .. she loved it!
See my Breakfast with Melissa here. So awesome to meet her! She is truly a star. I want that to be ME! ..a little voice inside me said. But first you have to try out...
So why the cheesy pasta cover image? Well, my point: what person (vegan or not) wouldn't want to taste this Cheesy Vegan Pasta w/ Harissa Cashew Cheese spread on sprouted grain toast?...
And vegan food can be elegant too. Check out my Cashew Cheese Stuffed Squash Blossoms with Saffron Rice.
NYC NFNS Open Call Aug 30 2010 - 10am - 3pm
5:30am I awoke startled in my bed to a very vivid dream...
...I was late for the NFNS Open Call and when I finally arrived Bobby Flay, Bob Tuschman and a few other Food Network big wigs were having brunch upstairs at a restaurant. I ran up the steps and Bobby said "You're too late! We've already decided!" He tossed his head back and he laughed and laughed his bright Bobby chuckle. I pleaded with him, but he ignored me and they all just kept laughing! Then I woke up...
Just a dream. Whew! I squinted at the clock which said only 5:38am. Woo Hoo, I'm up! So instead of going back to sleep and risk having my dream become a true nightmare - I got up and took my time getting ready.
6:30am Ready. Should I leave now? The auditions start at 10am. Hmm. I decided to leave at around 7am. My bag was ready and packed. Last year I left the audition early (well after waiting 2-3+ hours) read that sad story here. So this year I was prepared for the worst: a long day. In my NFNS Essentials audition bag...
-Coconut Water? Check!
-Vegan cupcake? Check!
-Raw Cashews. Check!
-Ginger Chews? Check!
-Book to read? Check!
-Big "Vegan Food is Fun" Smile? Check!
I actually only ended up chugging the water, a ginger chew and a few cashews. I never even grabbed my book or IPod. But better safe than sorry.
7am Kissed my husband and kitty a groggy early morning goodbye, ran out the door and walked a few long blocks to Union Square where I hailed a cab to get me the rest of the way uptown.
The Open Call was around 53rd st, East side...
I arrived at Sutton Place, a bar, where the Open Call was held. Last year the Open Call was at a cramped CBS studios. Everyone sprawled out on the floor. At least here there were bar stools!
Hopped out of my cab, and I didn't even have to look at the sign (which was covered by scaffolding) - I knew this was the place by the staggered line of folks. Not too long at all. I cheerfully hopped in line and glanced at the clock. 7:45am. Wowsers. Over 2 hours to go! Pace yourself Kathy.
My view as I waited in line outside...
8am-9:30am Waiting was not fun. But thank goodness the first 20 or so of us in line were under scaffolding so it was super shady and cool. It is predicted to be a 95 degree day here in NYC.
So I stood and leaned against the metal columns with only my blackberry and bag of goodies by my side. A few of the other applicants brought friends, family and even chairs. Smarties. I had my Blackberry - and was able to Tweet and Facebook to my heart's delight.
THANK YOU to everyone who sent me an @reply on Twitter with words of encouragement. I read every single one and they really helped my confidence as I stood there in line dreaming up my "Vegan Pitch" for the interview. Really, thanks guys. Made my morning worth it.
I know it is a one in a million shot that I will get a callback let alone get on the show - but I'm glad I pitched a vegan *POV* point of view to someone special on the Food Network staff.
My goal: I want FN to know that the demand for veg*n recipes is alive and well! Vegan is a healthy, happy choice for kids, adults, families, college students and the planet and the animals on it. *Hops off soapbox*
Many of my HHL blog readers are not and may never be 'vegan' and that's OK! I know in my heart that so many people are vegan curious or as Alicia Silverstone says, "Vegan Flirts". So lets give those flirts what they are craving: easy vegan recipes to give a try. It never hurts to try...
Food Network is ready too. Last night I watched VEG Iron Chef.... a few weeks ago a vegan cupcake won on Cupcake Wars .. and now I hope there is soon a vegan NFNS contestant. *hops off final soapbox*
9:30am OK, so after many minutes of rambling in my head about what I was going to say in the interview - finally we were let inside. I then realized I was #16 on the list. Yippee! 16 is great. I should be home by noon! Glad I arrived early.
I sat down at a stool and overheard the girl in front of me say she worked at Candle 79 at one point. WHaa?!! Am I hearing things? I looked her straight in the eye with a smirk on my face and said...
"Are you vegan?" I asked.
"Excuse me?" she said.
I spoke up, "Are you vegan?!" I may have shouted just a little I was so excited.
"Yes!" She looked at me with big happy eyes.
"Me too!" I replied.
It was total kismet. Her name was Tracy and we were BOTH vegans. Nice. We chatted about vegan dining, vegan reality shows (and lack of them) and all about how we 100% believe a vegan needs to be on the NFNS show. Either one of us would do. Tracy, if you are reading this, I hope your audition went well and I hope they pick us both. :)
So that was fun. There were a few other fun people in line - all with a definite passion for food. And dogs, mind you. Animal lovers and food lovers. I love that.
10am In groups of three, they started calling folks in. Yikes!
10:25am My vegan friend Tracy went in. My group of three was next.
10:30am Called in. up the winding stairs I climbed to a large room where 2 girls sat - both on opposite ends of the room. I was told to walk over to a cheery blonde girl with a big smile and bright eyes.
"Hi!" She said. I sat down, and so it began...
Basically we chatted. My voice was shaking and I started ranting about my website. Then I decided to just take a deep breath and talk from the heart. I did. So no matter what, I hope my passion for vegan food, teaching people and bringing vegan recipes to mainstream kitchens came through. We will see.
At least my voice was heard.
And as quickly as I walked up the stairs, I was out in a flash. Out the door and it was only 11am. Wow. As I left I heard someone by the door say they had #68 and then a #81. And there was still a looooooong line outside wrapping around the building.
My post-Open Call treat?
A smoothie at Pure Food and Wine takeaway of course. I hopped on the 6 train, got off at Union Square and strolled over to OLD for my treat. I also bought some spicy cashews and Cheesy Quackers. Both soooo good. Spicy cashews were new to me. Loved them. Big chunky bag. Bliss.
Best Strawberry Blonde smoothie ever. I think it was gulped down before I even crossed the street.
Moi, well deserved treat smoothie...
Last stop, the Farmer's Market at Union Square...
I grabbed a few goodies at the Farmer's Market, which was bustling. Then I treated myself to a cab home - ran up the steps to my apt and started writing this post.
Good. Busy. Long Day.
Thanks again for sharing in my adventure everyone. I love my blog, my readers and the big wide vegan world ahead of me.
Kathy, NFNS... (a girl can dream, right?)