Not sure where to start sharing with you about this 2013 WFC competition—I think I’ll just do some streams of consciousness and illuminate random thoughts for you—maybe it’ll make sense, no there’s no sequence or order—it’s just letting you have a seat in the balcony of my brain—and listening to my cerebral cortext and language centers—reflecting on this lifetime experience brings a myriad of emotions as well as insight and thoughts~~grab a cuppah coffee or tea, a glass of wine, a nice stiff drink or whatever your preference & enjoy delving into my mind chatter as I write this flying from Vegas to Atlanta~~
Some of the hardest, most intense work I’ve ever done in 96 hours—unrelenting, stressful, physically super tiring, and, yep, I’m in dang good shape with immense endurance and strength, emotionally a firing squad of thoughts—crazy.
Sleepless nights—rewinding in my brain what I messed up on—how could I be so stupid, how could I let that happen with the pasta in round 2, why didn’t I spring a backup plan, why the hell did the buffalo sauce go from thick to milky thin, why didn’t I catch the problem with the heating of the oven, could kick myself, I know better, way too many little execution errors—pissed.
Why in the devil am I doing this! How the heck could I even have done this without the back breaking, physically demanding help of my sponsor, Dole Packaged Products, hubby, Ben, Rosemary, Jess, Julie, Sandy, Katey, Michael, Barbara, Rich and the untold hours, time, energy, assistance, planning and support that came from them weeks and months leading up to this event & during those 96 hours—grateful.
Exhilaration making the top 10 in my ‘pasta’ category—miffed that my signature dish scored lower than my structure dish—what the heck? I mean it was fabulous, but it looks like my Jamaican Jerk Mac n’ Cheese was spot on killer good—go figure—comfort food scores again. So proud for our Dole Team—this is the diesel fuel in my engine—want to shine because they so believe in me—self-imposed pressure. ~~click here to see my excitement~~
Pushing our rolling cart, toting our many grocery bags, pots and pans, cooking utensils, ingredients, supplies from the Golden Nugget to Kitchen Stadium, dang zip line the first morning blocked off vital passageways, we’re all scrambling—literally this schlepping takes 5 people—how in the name of Sam do others do this without bringing the Duck Dynasty clan with them? We look like clean well-groomed homeless people in a traveling tribe—hilarity.
Shopping, supplies, plating—dang, there is serious money, our own dime, shelled out for this competition—yes, there’s serious money to be won—but, we’re symbolically at the crap table and are rolling the dice—gotta make it to the top 10 and there I’ll at least recoup a minimum of one grand that could cover some of my and Ben’s own personal prep costs—I’m not even counting what Dole folks have spent—this is not a cheap venture—be ready to shell out—big bucks.
On the big snazzy glitzy stage with celebrity-Chef Ben Ford three days for the ‘Dole Delicious Moments’—kinda surreal—yep, he’s a pretty down-to-earth guy, but me? I’m just littl’ ol’ Alice Cook from the coalfields of West by God Virginia sharing the stage with my ‘other’ Ben—never in my wildest—just goes to show ya that ‘dreams are not silenced by age’! Never stop—dreaming.
More intense cooking for round 2—infused ingredient—bison. Dark sets in. My timing’s off with pulling off pasta. Should not have used the oven. Plating gorgeous. Pasta tough—so mortified at myself—I mean I always cook THE best pasta & have done it for decades.
Gulp. Knots in my stomach on stage—please don’t body slam me with criticism judges on national TV, in front of thousands here. Muscle up, girl, this is big time competition…my thinking—if you can’t run with the big dogs, stay on the porch—I know the results in my head—not moving on—low scoring on my dish—disappointed, but ironically—relief.
Seeing foodie friends, sharing high 5s and elation for those who make it to the next rounds then to the final
table—yes, would like to be there myself, don’t focus on what’s not— mind chatter says, it’s not in His plan—accept and know that this is their shining and
defining moment—celebrate the good things. Feel like cinder blocks have been removed from my shoulders, a screaming squeezing painful vice from my head. Nice to be sipping a chilled chardonnay as the stage is being set for the judges. Bask in the revelry of the last day, moments, and supporting, clapping, shouting, screaming and rubbing clammy hands yet for my friends and home cooks who’ve climbed the pinnacle of WFC and are at the Final Table~~the best part of all of this magic carpet adventure—joy.
The final results~~I was surely holding my breath when I went to see the scores for my performance~~talk about clammy hands and racing heart~~I just knew I had bombed the 3rd build~~felt like Ricky Bobby’s words were echoing in my head ‘If you’re not first, you’re last!” Cooking competition was so very intense~~forget ‘Iron Chef’, the WFC ‘Kitchen Coliseum was a hotbed of concentration and creation starting in the daylight hours and lingering into the night~~thank goodness for cell phone lighting as we plated our third build!
To my surprise, I ended up in 5th place in my category…spinning the numbers, like political pundits often do, I make myself feel better knowing that of the 7 categories and the top 5 in each category probably puts me in the top 10% of competitors for the 2013 World Food Championships~~so much thanks and gratitude to my Dole Team and awesome hubster, Ben~~dancing & twirling!