It all began with this text. It was a
dark and stormy Thursday. I was sitting at my computer writing on this very blog when a text from my 86 year old grandmother popped up. Yes, she texts. She also has emails, has Facebook, and enjoys the occasional BLT. Cookbook competition, I thought to myself. How ironic–as I had just recently become inspired to someday write a book of my own.
The guidelines: no culinary school for more than a year, all original recipes, and no previous cookbook publications. I fit all three.
The rules: Submit a 3 minute video, a 250 word essay, and a 150 word book concept.
I decided to take each aspect of my submission very seriously because, as Bea Bea said, “You never know.” I knew that if I held any chance of making the top 20, I would have to set myself apart from the masses as much as possible. I knew that “Hi, I’m Fanny and I’m standing in my kitchen to make blah blah blah…” wouldn’t get me a spot in this race. I knew I had to be different–and I had to be myself.
So I started out my video like this.
Turns out it’s good to go with your gut. A few months later I received a phone call from a producer telling me I had made the top 20. After a thirty minute interview, she told me that if we didn’t talk again in another month it was a pleasure getting to know me. I silently wished that this wasn’t the end. A month later, I was standing in my kitchen doing dishes when a familiar number appeared on my phone. It was the same kind producer telling me that I had advanced to the top 10.
One minute I was rinsing peanut butter off of a knife, and the next–I was one step closer to my dreams.
I was then asked to submit 10 more full recipes and 10 more recipe titles. I did not take this lightly. Over the next few weeks I put my heart and soul into creating a masterpiece of a mini-cookbook. The producer told me that if I were to hear from them again, it would be on April 1st.
Of course it would be April 1st.
On April 1st, I was outside taking an afternoon walk on the river. I had spent the entire day cursing my phone every time it rang and was the chiropractor or eye doctor reminding me of an appointment. I had accepted the fate that my phone may not ring again. And I decided to walk it off. As I kicked a pebble and rounded the corner, my music suddenly faded and my phone began to ring.
“I hope this isn’t about to be the worst April Fool’s joke that’s ever been played on me!” I jokingly shouted into the phone at the producer.
But it wasn’t the producer.
A familiar scratchy voice came through the other end. “Well I certainly hope not! Hi Fanny, this is Rachael.” I shakily stumbled to a nearby bench and realized that I had just yelled at Rachael Ray. I was caught so off-guard that when she asked me how I was, I immediately responded with “How are you??” I had just answered her question with a question. This wasn’t going well. I had one chance to redeem myself. As Rachael shared that she liked my concept and would I make some time to come on her show?
Well, here’s what happened.
And bring it on–she did.
As soon as we arrived at the hotel, my co-pilot Sasha was immediately captivated by the bright lights of fame. Amateur.
The next morning, the sun came up and I awoke to the first day of the unknown. I threw open the thick hotel curtains and yelled, “Good morning, NEW YORK!” Seriously. I did.
What would I cook? Who would I meet? What would I say on TV? What if I sneezed on TV? I started with something familiar. Little did I know these would not be the only eggs I would encounter that day.
I then met four friends.
We were placed on set and a professional photographer walked by and took individual shots of each of us. That was nice of him, I thought to myself.
The journey began.