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Rachael Ray Appearance Recap Post

**This blog post was originally written May 2016 for the One Year Anniversary and posted on my website at the time. Also this post has NOT been edited, even though it needs to be.**

RR Show aired: May 13, 2015



In honor of one of the best weeks of my life, on this anniversary week I will be posting about New York!


This time last year I was packing for a life changing trip (and if I remember correctly, going to Yuki for a congratulatory sushi session with my friend soon after). I was nervous and excited and scared out of my mind. I had come so far and worried so much, cried more tears—out of happiness and anxiousness—than I could possibly imagine (but there’d be many more before the week was over). I was only a few days away from stepping foot onto the first plane I’d ever been on, taking my first steps in New York City and being in the same room with Rachael Ray (and Chef Jacques Pepin, only I didn’t know that at that time).

For those of you that need a little background I will start from the beginning. In 2015 my area was hit with snow, more than the area usually sees. While adults do not usually receive “snow days”, the amount of snow at the time was in fact closing a lot of the town, so I was at home. That day I had gotten up early, and once confirming the fact that I did have a day at home ahead of me, I made some coffee and pulled out the waffle maker! While eating my waffles I turned the television over to The Rachael Ray Show to watch, since I was rarely offered the opportunity. The last of the waffle cleaned from the plate, my coffee cup raised to my lips and as I leaned back on the couch the show paused for a brief announcement from Rachael Ray before going to commercial. She was announcing her collaboration with the International Culinary Center (ICC) for a Culinary Tuition Competition. The short segment went on, as she spoke images changed on the screen from professional kitchens to shots of her stage and kitchen. It wasn’t until the segment was over that I realized I was crying and my heart was racing. A little voice told me I had to do whatever the competition entry was; I had to try.

Me being me, I put it off until the last minute. Part of it was that I didn’t know what to make for my entry. The main part was that, even though I knew I loved cooking, even though I knew I was good at it; If I didn’t make it, what would that do to me? Would it push me forward and urge me to prove that I was good enough? Would it just stamp down the desire of running my own kitchen? Would it crush me? I was scared. In the end, the idea that I was good enough and that I didn’t give it a shot was scarier; so I entered. I tried two recipes that week and after have my neighbor and momma taste them I had my answer. A week before the final submission date, mise en place set and a quick phone video tutorial for my momma later and I was ready to film my entry video. A five minute or less video that included a cooking demonstration and explained why going to Culinary School would change my life. That five minute video took over five hours to film and an amazing friend (Red Serial Fims) a weekend to edit into five minutes. I received the final edit on Monday, three hours before the deadline. I said another prayer and sent it in.

The rules said it would be April 1st before they’d call (yeah the idea of someone calling me telling I’d made it as part of an April Fool’s Day prank, definitely crossed my mind), this was a week after the submission deadline. On March 31st I had an unknown caller and I sent it to voicemail, going on with what I was doing. Less than five minutes later my momma called, I answered telling her I’d call her back in a minute and hung up. After I’d finished my errand I called her back; I was driving and just talking away telling her about my day when I was interrupted by, “Christina, HUSH!” I quickly shut my mouth, “Did you miss a phone call?” My momma asked me. I furrowed my eyebrows and answered that I had, when she told me that someone from the Rachael Ray show called I almost hit my brakes a bit too hard. It was a good thing I gave two contact numbers! I called back and was given the news that I was selected for the first round, after that phone interview I had to wait another week for the second call; this one meant I had to write an essay.

I cried every time she called, but on April 22nd I probably only got out the words, “Oh my goodness”, “Thank you” and “You’re kidding” through the tears. She laughed and said she couldn’t wait to meet me. That day was an absolutely horrible day at work, leading to a huge breakdown once getting home—but that phone call was an amazing way to end the day. I let out a few more tears before making a call to my parents. When my momma answered the phone, I asked her if daddy was around, I heard her smile as she said he was. I took a breath and swallowed, “I’m going to New York…” and I started crying again. I heard her smile as she started to tear up a bit as well, and I can only imagine that she nodded toward my daddy before she actually responded because I heard the recliner pushed back down as he jumped up. While my grandfather always said I could do anything I wanted, he didn’t see a future in culinary; so my daddy went straight to his cell phone to call his dad to tell him the news. The next time I saw my granddaddy he was so excited, talking to me about all the people who had graduated from the ICC.

Looking over all the checklists and packing lists made by both myself and my momma, I was sure I’d forget something. My carry on and personal item bag, both packed tight for the week ahead of me, with television ready outfits carefully picked out by my momma and myself. I’d scoured my recipe books, notebooks and Pinterest since I received the call trying to glean as much culinary knowledge and tips as I could in preparation for the unknown events of the competition.

The day before I was to leave for New York, I had a realization that she used a gas stove on the show, and that I had only cooked on one a few short times. I started to panic quite a bit, but in the end it wouldn’t really matter. I had my nails done in a clear shellac polish (and man, was my foresight spot on with that one; in one of the spots for the episode was my perfectly manicured fingers atop a lemon, as I sliced it), while this was partly for the show, it was for me in two different ways. One, when I get anxious I pick at my nails, but when they are fake, acrylic or manicured I don’t seem to touch them. Two, I wanted to do a bit of pampering for myself. Hey! I was getting a free trip to New York to possibly get a free ride to an amazing culinary school; what’s a better reason than that?

That night my momma came over to help me make sure all my things were packed. My flight was at five in the morning, which meant that I had to leave by two am. My parents drove me to the airport, and watched as I had a small anxiety attack. I had never been on a plane. To top it off, I was making this first plane ride, alone. A lot was at stake with this trip, and the plane…I was scared for a lot of reasons!

The entire time going through security, waiting to board, waiting for take-off my heart was beating out of my chest! Luckily I sat next to a nice gentlemen who was friendly and talked to me until we took off, and it did help relax me. (Interesting side note: he used to be the head of one the local news stations in Nashville and was going to New York to have lunch with “[his] friend, Dan Rather. You’re probably too young to know who that is though.” He chuckled. I did reassure him that I did in fact remember him.)

I was not allowed to tell anyone (aside from my immediate family and my boss) about the reason for my trip so when he asked or when anyone in New York asked why I was there, I said that I was touring culinary schools. Little did I know, that I would end up touring one!

Tomorrow I will post about that first day spent in New York!


Tuesday m