Sunday, March 14, 2010

Ultimte Recipe Showdown

Do did you watch last night? I hope you did! Emily was awesome wasn't she? Such a heartbreak. I am outraged.

She just stands out among her competitors.

It's that cute little way she has of staring.

Hey wait! What's this photo doing here? How did I get involved with this post and what am I doing with Guy Fieri?

Okay. I have a confession to make.

Remember that lunch I had with Sue last fall? Let's just say while we certainly enjoy the pleasure of each other's company, that wasn't the primary reason we had met in the city for lunch that day.

That's as much as the producers would let me take a photo with Emily before the show.

Yep, Sue and I had the pleasure of being in the studio audience for this year's Ultimate Recipe Showdown.

It was quite a day. After our lunch we headed to the elevators in Chelsea Market where audience wranglers herded us to the studio. While we were waiting, we saw Emily's family (whom Sue had met at last year's competition). I had a chance to meet her sweet mother as well as her aunt and uncle who were also there to see the competition. Once we were upstairs, Emily was in her kitchen but I was unfortunately unable to do anything but wave to her.

We didn't watch the first part of the competition. We were only there for the quick round. However, while we were waiting for the quick round to start, they also taped the announcement of the results of signature round. We held our breaths and wished, but had the diappointment of seeing Emily come in third. At least she scored strongly - as everyone did in that round.

We were entertained by an audience warmup guy while we waited for the next round to begin. The man was obsessed with TV theme songs and was giving away prizes for people who could sing his favorites. He was surprised that two white girls were able to rap the entire theme to The Fresh Prince of Bel Air word for word. He then said he wanted someone to sing the theme from All in the Family with him. Who could do a good Edith Bunker impression? Being the ham that I am I couldn't resist showing off my best, "OOOHHHHH ARCHIE!" to him and so we did a duet of "Those Were the Days" together. (I apologize for any shattered eardrums that resulted from my beling out Edith's "And you know who you were then," line.) For my troubles I won four tickets to Dangerfields comedy club. I never used them.

Finally the compeition began. Actually it took about 3 starts and stops on behalf of the crew before the cooking actually started. Poor Emily was putting her stuff on her counter and putting it back each time. Although they made her look frazzled and disorganized on TV, she seemed quite efficient and calm from where I was sitting.

There was just one issue. We saw Emily put her frico chips in the oven. The cooking went on. Judges commented. Audience watched. In the middle of it all, Sue and I began to smell burning cheese. We were so afraid for her. We kept whispering under our breaths, "Emily take your cheese out of the oven," hoping we could psychically get the message to her. After seeing the show on TV, I found the judges noticed it too. Although they were problematic, they weren't terribly burned and the judges' fears that Emily was headed for disaster seemed a little unfounded.

They really edited the judges' comments on TV to increase drama. What they seemed to like and not like as they watched the cooking occasionally had little bearing on what they actually thought of the dishes.

During the judging I thought they were continuing to do a little "increase the drama" effect. Michael Psilakis was raving over Emily, complimenting her, making it seem as if she would be the winner. Clearly both the judging and the editing was angled to make Emily some kind of sentimental favorite. I really don't like they way there were trying to create drama at Emily's expense. It felt as if they were almost building her up to bring her down.

While we waited for the annoucement of the winner, the warmup guy came out again. He asked a lot of movie trivia questions. Many of them were Oscar related. It's funny. I don't watch the Oscars. I shun them. I was also reluctant to answer questions that I knew because I had already won a prize. Nonetheless, when he asked the audience who the youngest person to ever be nominated for an Osacr was, everyone was cluless. I knew the answer. I finally decided to answer. It was Justin Henry for Kramer Vs. Kramer. I may not watch the Oscars, but I have an ironclad memory. When Kramer Vs. Kramer came out, I was in 4th or 5th grade and Justin Henry was around the same age. He was trotted out in kids' events a lot, and as a young talented actor, I guess he was something of a role model for me and my peers. He never left my memory. I won a Food Network cookbook, which I also haven't used. Maybe I will remedy that in my blog soon.

The announcement of the winner was agonizing for Sue and me, so I can't imagine what it must have been like for Emily. They did about three takes before they would finally get around to announcing. Again and again we had to watch Emily and the Cajun Pizza Lady step out into the middle of the floor, have a spotlight on them, and shake hands. JUST TELL US WHO WON ALREADY.

Okay. They told us. Sue and I were outraged. Poor Emily was so heartbroken. We really felt for her. I saw Guy go over and give her a big consolatory hug, which was nice of him. I finally got to actually go over and talk to her. I had hoped to be giving her a hug of victory and not a hug of consolation!

Sue and I headed back to the train to ride to our respective suburban homes. Emily's loss had put a bit of a damper on our fun day, but I was so glad we had gotten together anyway. We had a great lunch. I met Emily in person as well. Not all was lost.

I also don't believe all is lost for Emily. She is so talented. Even though she lost, she is getting herself and her name out there. People are paying attention. I know Emily is headed for greatness. She's already a celebrity in my family. I make so many of her recipes that all I have to do is mention that a recipe is Emily's and everyone knows it's going to be good. No one asks, "Emily Who?" anymore. They all know. In fact, I'm going to be going through Emily's blog to figure out what dessert I want to make for Easter.


Lo said...

Oh, wow! What an experience... and you were SO GOOD at keeping quiet!

While my heart goes out to Emily, she certainly can't be upset for having had the experience of it all. What great exposure!

Are you still in a bit of shock about the whole thing?

Bellini Valli said...

The Food Network here in Canada did not show the show but it will show up at some time just like it did when Emily competed last time. We know how much she deserves to win and realize her dreams.

Peter M said...

You kind of posted a spoiler, as this wasn't televised in Canada (as Val related).

I'm bummed for Emily but she'll fight on ...third time's a charm.

Sue said...

Excellent recap. I'm not sure I would have remembered all that. And I was right next to you!

It is interesting how what was going on in real life wasn't what was necessarily reflected on the show.

You really said it all! Poor Em, but I think she showed she's got the right stuff.

Topher said...

Nothing against Emily, but it seemed at least based on her dishes and the dishes she made and the comments of her dishes by the judges that she didn't deserve to win. I don't take anything away from her but at the same time, you should give a little credit to Gail whose pizza did win. Obviously it had to be good otherwise it wouldn't have beaten all the other dishes. It is possible that the other 3 people there cooking had talent too.

The Blonde Duck said...

What an amazing expierence! It's so sad she lost. I love Emily!

Melissa said...

I'm sorry I'm unfamiliar with the background, but where is Emily's blog? I'd love to take a look.

Oddly enough, though I almost never have FN turned to competition shows, I actually caught half of this one. Sorry Emily lost, but she definitely stands out. Here's to bigger and brighter things!

Also, curious... what did you think of Guy?

DebCarol said...

Great recap. So glad you and Sue were there to support Em in person. Although I'm sure she felt the support from all of us who have followed "Sugar Plum". And with her charm and talent (and growing fan base) - her day will come!

The Short (dis)Order Cook said...

Lo - It was hard to stay quiet because I wanted to blog about it so badly, but I knew better not to. The shock wore off having had a couple of months to sort of forget it, but I did find myself tearing up a bit after watching the show.

Val and Peter - sorry for the spolier, but I think Emily spoiled it for you herself on her FB. ;-)

Sue - Editing made it a whole new show. So glad we shared it together!

Topher- Emily's first dish had some flaws, but she received quite a bit of praise from the judges, particularly on her second dish. I think she may have won if she had cut her chicken into smaller pieces and fried them rather than frying and then cutting so the coating came off and cut back on the hot sauce a little.

I'm not dissing the winner. I thought her pizza was gross because there was crawfish on it and I hate seafood (swampfood?). I'd probably like it if she left it off. I'm not saying she didn't deserve the prize. She just didn't seem to want it as much as Emily did.

Melissa - I'm not a huge fan of Guy. His cooking has some good points, but most of the time it's not my cup of tea and his personality realllly grates on me. However, he came across as quite affable and friendly on URS and did take the time to pose for photos with all audience members.

Deb - I know it will!

Complaint Department Manager said...

If you ever get a chance to hit the Springfield, Mo area for any reason, let me know. It just so happens I live a few miles away from where Emily works. Seems like everytime I've been in there, she ain't workin'.

Emily said...

One of my favorite parts of competing on the show was hearing someone from the audience belting out "Those were the Days" while I was taking pictures with Guy Fieri and the other contestants.

I turned and gazed into the audience to see who was singing... only to see YOU! You were great!

Great review, too. Thank you for all the nice comments/compliments and for coming to the show. It meant a lot to me. I want to see you on the show next! Please?

That's a great picture of you and Guy!

The Blonde Duck said...

I would come visit you in a heartbeat. You just have to extract Ben from the house.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
The Blonde Duck said...

I never thought of a third party candidate!

Patty said...

Wow sounds like an amazing experience, hope Emily wins next time!

Teanna said...

I love Emily's blog! That's so sad that she didn't win!

The Blonde Duck said...

I remember that kid from the cartoons! SO annoying.