my huge failure=big success

my huge failure=big success

Rose-colored glasses. Yes, that’s what happens when you think others are like you and want only the best for you, are being genuine and truly have an honorable intent. You’d think I’d learn to clean off my rose colored glasses. I’m talking about reality TV shows.

I was cast on FOX Network’s Master Chef season 2. Imagine my exhilaration finding out that news. I remember exactly where I was when I got that call from the head casting agent saying I was in the Top 100 and headed to Hollywood. I tried to contain my muffled squeals in a J. Crew  dressing room where I had one leg in a pair of trousers and the other leg out. I nearly tangled myself up and broke my neck! Yes, after months and months of the grueling audition process, giving the casting agents everything but my blood type and then signing a 35+ page legal contract assigning everything but my youngens to the network and production company, I felt like Rocky. I was ready to take on the world! Little did I know what lay ahead! Remember, my glasses were really rosey!

I packed my bags and headed to Hollywood where I met 99 other starry eyed hopefuls. We were all of the same ilk–thinking we had what it took to become the next Master Chef. We’d been culled from nearly 38,000+ who auditioned nationwide. We were an elite and special group. We all could cook. We all had personality and something that would appeal to the nationwide millions of viewers. How long did I stay on the show? Well, as my Mama used to say, ‘About as long as Pat stayed in the Army!’ (I’ve never figured out who Pat is or why he was in the Army!)

huge failure=big success
Yes, we look like we’re saying ‘Namaste’ to each other, but Chef Ramsay’s saying he thinks my food stinks & I’m too ‘old’ for the show!

Bottom line of my experience is that I came eye to eye with the tiger and got body slammed by the head tiger himself, Chef Gordon Ramsay. While he didn’t spit out my food, I took the walk of shame. No apron. Yes, Chef Ramsay humiliated me probably hoping for a TV ‘reaction’ but being poised and gracious was my overriding mantra. What happened after that? They whisked me away (and others who were apron’less’) to talk to a shrink to make sure we would live. (Imagine thinking your life is just about getting an apron!)

Now if I’d been the weak kind, if I’d believed what these three judges said to me about my food and cooking, the expressions as they looked me as they tasted my dish, like they’d been weaned on a dill pickle~such looks of disgust, I wouldn’t have ever cooked again in my life. But I didn’t. I remembered again another thing my Mama used to say when you get down and out and body slammed, ‘Keep your tail up horsey!’

So this littl’ philly came home and started cooking and cooking and cooking. I started sharing and sharing and sharing my recipes. I got on this ‘new’ fangled thing called Facebook where I was connecting and connecting and connecting. All of this was done because I refused to let someone who didn’t know me and who took one taste of my food be the master of my destiny.

huge failure=big success
ally is one happy gal!

In 2012, I was exhilarated to have 1,000 FB likes~I was over the moon~I couldn’t believe it. Then in late 2013, I hit 10,000 likes! Now, here it is mid-2015, and Ally’s Kitchen on Facebook is at 100,000+ followers. I reckon it just goes to show you that if you believe in yourself, if you work your bahootie off, if you are kind and supportive and have good things to share, ‘they will come.’

And so it is with gracious and humble gratitude that I thank YOU for  believing in me when the “experts”, aka judges on MC, didn’t think I was worth doodley squat. It just goes to show you that reality shows are really not reality~they’re simply a veil of imagination and all smoke and mirrors much like the Wizard of Oz.

Never let anyone or anything get you down~dreams have no expiration date~I’m living proof! This benchmark calls for a celebration!

For ONE HUNDRED THOUSAND clicks of love, I’m having a random drawing for several gifts! Check these out, my boho foodies and lovers of adventurous living!

1. A personalized cookbook! (Continental US residents only)

COOKBOOK COVER FINAL Allys Kitchen_9781426115464_FULL

2. A one-of-a-kind Boho piece of jewelry! I’m so so excited to be teaming with Ash Hoffman Jewelry to give away this masterpiece designed and made by Ashley! She is debuting 7 August 2015 on JTV ‘Next Jewelry Rock Star’ Be sure and watch! Here’s what Ash designed just for this 100k giveaway!

 my huge failure=big success  my huge failure=big success

3. A special Boho ‘something’! You never know what I’ve got up my sleeve!

Now all you have to do to be ENTERED FOR THE GIVEAWAY is leave a comment below, right here at this blog post, telling me what you’re thinking RIGHT now.
You’ve read this post and listened to me spill my guts! Talk to me. And, I thank you.                     ~peace & namaste~ ally

(Deadline to enter: 30 AUGUST 2015)

Congratulations to the Winners!

Nicole Michaud ~ Jane Asher Reaney ~ Linda Jarrett 


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  1. Hello Ally,

    I am your newbie. Keep on spillin’ your guts, that is my true gut feelin’ and you are truly one of a kind. xo

    1. Carol! Welcome, my luv! I’m so glad another authentic real soul is here! At my age and stage of life, ego is not an issue! So spillin’ one’s gut, in my humble opinion, is a sign of strength. Keep hangin’ out w/me beautiful one! xoxx ally

  2. Anonymous says:

    Hello Ally,

    Keep on spilling’ your guts! That is my true gut feeling. XO

    1. I’m so glad you’re here! And, yes, I’ll continue to spill the gut!! xoxx

  3. Absolutely stunning recipes and plateing.

    1. Shereen! Thank you…I so appreciate your visit…please come back soon! xo ~ally

  4. Your article could not have come to me at a better time than the exact moment I read it today. My day was filled with gut punches and what I felt like was failure. I spent the day questioning “why am I putting myself through this, I need to throw in the towel” along with the other standard self talk that goes along with that. After reading your article, it reminded me that the day is not insurmountable and neither is anything that has happened in it. If you can face the people and events that you did auditioning for that show and not let it effect your drive, then I know I can as well.
    THANK YOU! I do not think that most people understand the impact that they can have just by sharing their story and I am so grateful that you did!

    1. Alyson! I’m overwhelmed reading your comment…thank you!! You’re so so right, reading others’ experiences does help us plow through own dilemmas and doubts. After I left that room having heard the chefs’ snarky remarks, I felt the same way asking myself, why in Sam Hill am I putting myself through this? But, you know what, it was for a reason, a higher power knew what I needed. Had I not done it, this post would never have been written and I’d not be talking to you, angel. Thank you for reading it and all your support! xoxo ~ally

  5. Barb Johnson says:

    Ally, I first followed you (way back then) just to watch a hometown girl make it. I was so not happy with GR over his ‘too old’ comment. Yea, comment on the food, ok, but that? Pfft. But you’re shown him, me, everyone what small town grits are! You go girl!


    1. You’re so so sweet, Barb…I agree, the age remark was a low blow, and he wanted a reaction. I didn’t give one, just smiled, said thank you for the opportunity and walked my walk of ‘shame’…well, I was more disappointed that he hit me w/that then saying my food wasn’t good! Appreciate you so much! xo

  6. Ally, I loved your story, your inspiration, and discovering that we live in the same piece of “God’s country by the sea”!

    1. Yes, Victoria! God’s country by the sea! Thank you, luv…it’s been a journey and b/c of great folks like you, it makes it ALL worthwhile! xo

  7. Oh Ally, I have a pivotal Gordon Ramsey moment in my life also. Although not as harsh and discouraging as yours, it did help propel me to the place I am today. Sometime I will share with you. For now, as I would say, “When you don’t give a hill of beans what others think of you…You are free to be.” Love you girl and the spark of life you bring to everything. You are a fierce example of free to be. XOX

    1. Rebecca! I can’t wait til we share a glass of vino and you tell me all about it! Yes, you are right, when you let go of letting others ‘judge’ and direct you, you are free…’don’t give a hill uh’ beans’ is our WV talkin’! Love it girl and love you! Thank you for making me smile…BIG!! XOX

  8. Wow!What a moment you went through. Head on with the Chef Ramsey. It didn’t stop you, he didn’t make you quit. Great lesson for us all. We all encounter Chef Ramsey’s everywhere; for style, cooking, everything!! We should never give up!! Congrats on the 100,00 likes. Guess we do like you afterall; even Chef Ramsey should give you a like =) Thank You for sharing

    1. Oh, now that would be a BIG LIKE if he’d do that! Thank you, Lisa…yes, it’s a well-earned and learned lesson…thanks for your support and reading! xo ~ally

    2. So very very true, Lisa…we encounter ‘nay sayers’ and those who don’t think you have what it takes for whatever. You just have to believe in yourself, your purpose and mission. Then get out there and work your tootsees off! Thank you for sharing such wise words!! xo ~ally

  9. This is a great story of persistence and faith in a dream. Namaste.

    1. Barb…thank you for coming and reading it…yes, we all have it in us, if we just persevere past the roadblocks, and some are really big!! Come back soon, luv! xo ~peace & namaste~ ally

    2. Barb…thank you so much for coming to visit and reading my story…yes, those two things, perseverance and faith, can move mountains, luv. ~peace & namaste~ ally xo

  10. Loved reading YOUR take on that adventure! Reality shows are first and foremost a show and they are casting for the right mix of contestants to get as many viewers as possible…you are far too refined to kick and scream and swear and put other people down….a true Lady who deserves every bit of success that comes your way!

    1. Kc! I wuzzzzzzzzzz you! I remember your genteel and classy performance. So so glad we had the chance to do this together. Our friendship is the big ‘apron’ prize, luv! Thank you. xo ~peace & love~ ally

  11. Your momma was a smart lady and gave you great advice. So glad you followed it. My ex-mother-in-law had Alzheimer’s disease and started calling me pat toward the end. I don’t know who Pat is either but she thought I was. But I wasn’t in the army either. Lol.

    1. Christy! Thanks for the sweet chuckle! Yeah, “Pat” has some famous followings. Thanks much for swinging by and reading my story…Mama was a tough ol’ gal who survived using the advice she gave. ox ~peace & luv~ ally

  12. Hey Ally! Am truly motivated reading your journey. How you surpassed tough times. You have done and continued doing what your heart says ignoring all nasty people out there. Way to go my friend, Wish you all the very best from bottom of my heart.

    1. Anitha! Thank you, luv, for taking time to read this post and leaving the inspiring comment. We’ve all had these circumstances happen to us, and they either make us better or can do us in. I’m sure you’re just like me~we’re gonna take the obstacle and tame it! xox ~peace & love~ ally

    2. Anitha! Thank you, luv, for taking time from your very busy life to read my post. I know you’ve probably had similar obstacle and setbacks…and, we’re not gonna let them do us in…we’re gonna tackle and tame them! (lol~) Thank you for your sincere and warm well wishes…sending you the same for great success. ~peace & smiles~ ally

  13. Julie Pizzino says:

    Ally, your Boho style and fantastic food keep me coming back to your FB page, and I rejoice with you that your “failure” translated into such a huge success!

    1. Julie! Hearing those special words makes me want to work harder and harder…our greatest accomplishments are sometimes shrouded in many failures…I’ve had my fair share and will have many more, I know…thank you, sweet family! oxx

  14. What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger, right? Hats off for going that far with the show…I’ve been wanting to go to several cooking shows but got discouraged by all the requirements just to apply, never mind participate. Luckily, a small, local TV gave me a chance and that’s where my fame came to a shine. But didn’t go anywhere else. Although it was humiliating, it taught you something about yourself and encouraged you to do more. Congrats on all of your followers, I’m your newest one 🙂 Thanks for linking up with Thursday Favorite Things. Hope your weekend is amazing!

    1. What a beautiful comment!! Thank you for sharing w/me your experience…you know the ‘hoops’ (and many of them flaming) that one must go through to hopefully get cast, and it’s such a long shot. I know I was there for a reason b/c w/o it, I wouldn’t probably be typing this out to you now, my sweet friend…I’m so glad and honored to have you visit my kitchen! Your accomplishment are quite stellar! xox

  15. very is very true, like an exam .failure for an exam cannot evaluate a persons capability ,it just proves that the person could not perform on that particular day of the exam for some reason.
    but kudos to u that u bounced back and did not stop…all the best.I also believe that we should keep going,being first is not important..stopping is death and depression,going on is life 🙂

    1. Oh, Indrani…such wise words…thank you, my friend…you are inspiring and sharing this w/me is a gift. We are made of tough stuff…and, you’re right, no stopping!! Thank you for visiting and don’t be a stranger! Hugs, smiles, peace & namaste ~ally

  16. There is a local gal, here in Minnesota, who had much the same experience. She really put herself out there, only to find that the producers were more interested the drama than the cooking talent. The fact that they have to use psychologists to deal with the aftermath is so telling. We’re all very lucky that you rose above it and have created such an awesome site. You are a great role model for us! ????

    1. Cathy…thank you for sharing that…I’m sure there are many other experiences like mine. It helps those who may be going along this journey for the first time, especially those who are younger, to know what they’re getting into. So glad you shared that xox ~ally

    1. Awwwhhhhh, and I wuzzzz my Kristy! Thank you, angel, for making me have a big ol’ warm smile right now as I typeeeee! xoxox

  17. Robin Rudy says:

    I know you, your grit and tenacity!
    I also have tasted your cooking. This brought tears to my eyes!
    Keep on cookin, girlfriend!

    1. Robin!! It takes a gritty gal to know one. Thank you, my amazing friend. My hide’s gettin’ tougher as a result of this and other experiences, and I have to keep dusting off those rose-colored glasses…xox

  18. Gordon Ramsey most certainly is lacking good taste. I know the 1.000 of us aren’t getting it wrong.

    1. Oh, Sandy!!! You are wonderful!! Thank you, luv! For your support and your spunky sense of humor!! xo

  19. Auntiepatch says:

    I’ve known you for years but who the heck is GORDON RAMSEY? I’m guessing he’s just a man who doesn’t know squat. Congrats on 100K+!

    1. LMBO!!! Oh, Karen!! Thank you angel!! Yes, we’ve known each other since the beginning of history (well, almost)…I so appreciate your sassiness and support!! xox

  20. Terri Hall says:

    After watching numerous episodes of that crazy show with Gordon Ramsey, I would honestly never want to be a contestant on that show, and furthermore, would never let any of his negative comments affect my goals and dreams for cooking!
    Glad you never let that disappointment lure you away from your cooking talents and aspirations! Clearly your on a wonderful road because you love what you do and it shows in the dishes that you create as well as the fabulous presentations. Every foods I dont like appear quite tasty when I view your posts! That says something there! lol

    So glad to have met you and talked and lunched with you. People like you only come along every ‘Blue Moon’! Congratulations on your success and looking forward to reading more!

    1. Awwhhh, Terri…it was all MY pleasure finally getting to meet you! And, we have to follow-through w/some of our ideas for cooking demos! Yes, for some, criticisms that you get from ‘esteemed’ people (doesn’t matter what profession) can sometimes devastate you…I’m so glad I was my age and that I just shrugged it off rather than really believing it. Thank you, so so much for your great support! xox

  21. Sharon Stevens says:

    Ally, you are truly an inspiration to all. The great thing about you having been on Master Chef is that is how I came to know of you. Being a fellow Grand Strander, I was truly excited to follow you and you have inspired me ever since. Someone once said ‘Life’s challenges are there not to paralyze you but to help you discover who you are’. You absolutely know who you are and your passion, strength and love of what you do is a huge inspiration!

    1. Sharon! I love that quote!! Thank you…what a gift. This challenge that appeared to be a failure (and, yes, I was humiliated by his snarky remarks) was, indeed, a door that opened helping me discover more of my cooking passion. I’m so happy to be able to share w/you and others b/c we all rely upon each other for this kind of inspiration and support. xo

  22. Denise Collins says:

    Great article! Dreams have no expiration date. You’re a great chef with an even greater heart.

    1. Thank you, sweet Nene! You’re the bestest!! xo

  23. Ally, you’re beautifully one of a kind. My boho foodie sister. The giveaways are great, but the real prize is knowing you, my friend! ❤️

    1. Awwhhhhh, my saucy gir!! I wuzzzzzzzzzzzz you!! Thank you, thank you. That’s the same way I feel…had I not done MC, been body slammed, I probably wouldn’t have ever started blogging and met you! xox

  24. You’re beautifully one of a kind. A boho foodie sister. The Giveaways are great, but the real prize is knowing you, my friend! ❤️

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