|Sweet Heat Chefs|
Jasmine and Monica making pear butter
It all began when my grandmother and my mother had me cooking with them in the kitchen at a young age. I was never interested and maybe even lacked enthusiasm in that department. But it wasn't before long, when I had my own kids, it all fell into place. My new journey was about to begin via Twitter! I entered a contest for a mother/daughter cooking competition, filled out some information and included a photo (AT LEFT) and within 30 minutes I received a call from NY which I almost didn't answer because I don't know anyone there! I answered it and it was Melissa from the RR Show (Rachael Ray). They wanted us to submit a video with my daughter and I cooking something. This was back in October of 2011. We never heard back, I emailed a few times and she told me they had extended the deadline for submissions, and nothing had been selected yet. More time goes by and we figured we hadn't been picked. The end of November rolls around and we started receiving calls from Melissa at the RR Show saying we were still in the running, then another week goes by and she says we were in the final selection, then she called and said we were selected to be on the show with 3 other families. I was in shock to say the least. I almost didn't even believe this was a real call from the RR Show. I started telling myself that this was someone creating a scam. However; I called Jasmine's school and had them bring her to the office so I could tell her. She was so excited, we both were. What we were getting: We were getting an all expenses paid trip to NY, where neither of us had been before, an opportunity to appear on National TV on a show I watched every day, and a chance to have some one on one time with my daughter which we never get since there are 5 kids fighting for attention in our home. Through thousands of video submissions, we were one of the lucky 4 that was chosen to appear, cook, and show off our culinary skills on TV for Rachael Ray! What we didn't know, that we found out once we were about to go to the set, was that Guy Fiere was also involved in this show. We found out this was a spoof off a new show Rachael and Guy had been working on called "Rachael vs. Guy Celebrity Cook Off." Our version was called "Rachael vs. Guy viewer edition."
All the staff at RR Show were AMAZING! I can not say enough nice and wonderful things about them. From Melissa the segment coordinator to Jill, Rachael's right hand woman, to the prep kitchen people, to the executive directors. They all were genuinely nice, warm, caring and accommodating people. We had our own dressing rooms, got our hair and makeup done for the show. We fed lunch and dinner and served refreshments in between segments. It was really hard to leave, knowing we had a "regular" life to come back to. We felt like real celebrities there, that is how awesome they all were. And it was not just us they treated that way, they treated the other 3 families the same and I heard the same comments from them about how special they all felt.
The other 3 contestants were amazing wonderful people as well. Very personable and kind people. They were regular everyday people just like us. After spending some time to get to know everyone and talk, I knew right away who our competition was, Alonso and Ray. Ultimately, I was right because it came down to them and us in the finale. Ray, the father, is in culinary school so I was very nervous going up against him and his son. Alonso, the son, is so creative and that is what made me nervous going up against him. Their final dish we were able to taste and I was really worried, it was delicious! In my mind I'm hoping ours get's picked but after that taste, I was thinking WOW this will be close! I guess ours was just a little better though since we won the entire competition. It is nice being the underdog in a competition like this and coming out the winner!