Friday, April 1, 2011

Bosch University Class Schedule April 2011

Thursday, April 7 – Whole Wheat Bread; Breakfast Edition Come learn how to take our favorite whole wheat bread recipe and turn it into many different breakfast favorites. 10:00 am FREE
Saturday April 9 – SodaStream™ demo and tasting; make your own fresh, fizzy sparkling water and soda in seconds. 11:00 am FREE
Tuesday April 12 – B/R/K Pressure Cooking with Lacey Lee-Berry; please inquire in store for recipes and menu. 2:30 pm $5.00
Wednesday April 13 – Crepes and Fillings; Join Starr Leavitt as she shares her secret crepe recipe with sweet and savory fillings.  3:00 pm $10.00
Thursday April 14 – Vegan Cooking with April Ashcroft; Mushroom & Lentil Stroganoff with Beet and Chocolate Cake and Chocolate Sauce 6:00 pm $10.00
Friday April 15 – L’Equip Stick Blender Demo; Learn how to use your L’Equip stick blender, or come see it in action before you buy one. Voted as Consumer Reports© “Most Versatile Piece of Kitchen Equipment.” 11:00 am FREE
Wednesday April 20 – Whole Wheat Bread; Dinner Edition Come learn how to take our favorite whole wheat bread recipe and turn it into many different lunch and dinner favorites.
Friday April 22 – Blenders; which one is right for you; Bosch, RPM, or Vita-Mix? 4:30 pm FREE
Monday April 25 – Canapés and Appetizers; Join Chef Justin as he shows how to prepare his favorite summer appetizers. 2:00 pm $10.00
Tuesday April 26 – L’Equip Stick Blender Demo; Learn how to use your L’Equip stick blender, or come see it in action before you buy one. Voted as Consumer Reports© “Most Versatile Piece of Kitchen Equipment.” 10:00 am FREE
Wednesday April 27 – Cornaby’s Ultra Gel and Cooking Class. Cornaby’s preserves and Ultra Gel professionals will be in house showing how to use their exclusive Ultra Gel for cooking and baking. Please inquire in store for time and cost of event.
Thursday April 28 – Vegan Cooking with April Ashcroft; Millet Primavera, Spring Asparagus and Oatmeal Cookies 6:00 pm $10.00
Saturday April 30 – Bev “The Bread Lady” Rankin 50 varieties of bread from one basic recipe.  11:00 am $10.00

To register for classes please call or visit the store at 188 N. Bluff St., St. George 84770
or email Chef Justin at

Bosch Kitchen Center hours are Monday to Saturday 9:00 am - 6:00 pm
Cafe Atlas Hours are Tuesday to Saturday 11:00 am - 3:00 pm
Bosch University offers private classes for Young Women's/Young Men's activities, Enrichment Nights, Bachelor and Bachelorette Parties and Many More. For information please contact Chef Justin at the store or by email.

Please visit our chef instructors websites for more information and recipes
April Ashcroft;

Bev Rankin; http;//

Friday, March 4, 2011

Cafe Atlas Review in St. George Spectrum "Where It's @"

I'm going to let you in on a secret: there's a nice little gourmet food eatery located inside the Bosch Kitchen Center in St. George.

It was an ad on The Spectrum's website that first caught my eye. "The best kept secret in St. George has been revealed," the ad stated.

I had never heard about the café before, so it was a revelation to me. On a recent Friday afternoon a friend and I headed over to see if it was as good as it claimed.

The café is located to left, past the registers, as you enter the store. Shelving was arranged so that it was mostly squared off and the large store had an open, bright feel.

The menu includes a variety of sandwiches, soups and salads - such as a roast turkey sandwich, the Monte Cristo or El Diablo paninis or grilled romaine heart or bistecca salads. It offers Roasted Tomato soup and a soup of the day.

I opted for a special of the day - the King of Clubs - while my friend decided to try the buffalo chicken panini. We both got beverages and decided to share one of their cookies for dessert.

The sides included German potato, quinoa, pasta and caponata salads. I opted for the pasta salad and my friend decided on the German potato.

The cashier was friendly, patiently answering all our questions about the menu and directing us to the drink fountain around the corner. She was also quick and efficient at clearing the tables as patrons left.

Our food took a few minutes to arrive but we could watch it being prepared fresh before our eyes.

My sandwich was on three slices of lightly grilled homemade sourdough bread, with large portions of chicken, tomato and more. I was happy they cut the sandwich into four pieces so it was easier to pick up but I still struggled to get my mouth around the thick sandwich. The bread was only lightly toasted so it was warm but still soft. The chicken was tender and delicious.

I also tried a bite of my friend's buffalo chicken sandwich, which had a little kick that was good. It did include a large portion of blue cheese - I love cheese but I'll admit that's not one of my favorites - so if you're not into the strong, sharp taste you'll want to skip that sandwich.

I was surprised at the smaller side dish portions but the size of the sandwich more than made up for it. The cold pasta salad was good, though fairly typical of a pasta salad with a vinaigrette taste. The German potato salad was one I'd never experienced before, with large slices of tomato, bacon and onion, with a strong mustard flavor.

We had to wait a while for the cookie to arrive - they had to put in a fresh batch when we ordered and then we had to wait until it cooled - but that just meant that the oatmeal, chocolate chip and pecan cookie came out warm with melting chocolate that made my mouth water, though I was already full from the meal.

It was a perfect way to end a delicious meal.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

March Bosch University Class Schedule

Tues March 1; Whole Wheat Bread -- Dinner Edition with Lacey Berry 11:00 am FREE
Friday March 4; L'Equip Stick Blender Demo 10:00 am FREE
Saturday March 5; Bev "The Bread Lady" Rankin 11:00 am $10.00
     50 Breads with One Recipe
Monday March 7; B/R/K Pressure Cookery, Irish Favorites with Lacey Berry 2:30 pm $5.00
Thursday March 10; Whole Foods Cooking with April Ashcroft 6:00 pm $10.00
      Mushroom & Lentil Patties with Mushroom Gravy
      Rockin' Moroccan Stew
Monday March 14; Justin's St. Patrick's Day Dinner; Cooking with Irish Liquor 6:00 pm $10.00
     Irish Colcannon
     Dublin Lawyer
     Beef & Guinness Stew
     Bailey's Irish Cream Mousse
Friday March 18; Tea Party Scones & Sandwiches 3:00 pm $10.00
     Please bring your favorite tea cup
Wednesday March 23;  L'Equip Stick Blender Demo 4:00 pm FREE
Thursday March 24; Whole Food Cooking with April Ashcroft 6:00 pm $10.00
     Not-Meat Loaf
     White Bean & Potato Soup
     Bake (or No-Bake) Oatmeal Raisin Cookies
Monday March 28; Kinloch Plantation Pecan Oil; 5:00 pm $10.00
     Learn the benefits of Pecan oil, and how to use them in your cooking
Tuesday March 29; Whole Wheat Bread -- Breakfast Edition with Lacey Berry 11:00 am FREE
Thursday March 31; Southern Favorites with Cheryl Welch 4:00 pm $10.00
     Fried Chicken
     Fried Spinach
     Peach Cobbler

To Register for classes please call or visit the store or e-mail
Please register for classes 24 hours in advance
Bosch University also offers private classes for Young Men/Young Women activities, Enrichment Night, or just for fun! Visit or e-mail Chef Justin at for more information
Please anticipate spending 1.5 to 2 hours for each class.


Friday, February 4, 2011

Bosch University Fabruary 2011 Class Schedule

February 2011
Class Schedule
Tuesday, February 8, 2011; Whole Wheat Bread – Breakfast Edition 10:00 am FREE
Wednesday, February 9, 2011; Holiday Scones – Starr will be making scones perfect
for any holiday.
Starting with Valentines Day, and through St. Patrick’s Day.
Thursday, February 10, 2011; April Ashcroft will be making a Vegas meal 
perfect for you and a loved one.
            Spinach Salad with Red Berry Vinaigrette
            Creamy Cauliflower Soup
            Red Lentil & Rice Loaf
6:00 pm $10.00
Friday, February 11, 2011; L’Equip Stick Blender Demo – 
“The Most Versatile Item in the Kitchen.” 5:00 pm FREE
Saturday, February 12, 2011; Mothers; Heal Your Families with 
Arlene Brumble 10:00 am $10.00
Monday, February 14, 2011; Whole Wheat Bread – Dinner Edition 10:00 am FREE
Tuesday, February 15, 2011; B/R/K Pressure Cookery 1; 
Applesauce and Pork Ribs 2:00 pm $5.00
Wednesday, February 16, 2011; Raw Desserts with Melissa Chappel 
            Lime Mousse with Strawberry Sauce
            Cranberry & Macadamia Nut Cookies with Orange Zest
            Peppermint Fudge
            Cinnamon No-Bake Cookies
Friday, February 18, 2011; Bosch Universal Mixer Demo; Learn about all the 
attachments and what they can do!
3:00 pm FREE
Saturday, February 19, 2011; Foods that Heal with Arlene Brumble 10:00 am $10.00
Monday, February 21, 2011; Mardi Gras Favorites with Cheryl Welch 4:00 pm $10.00
Tuesday, February 22, 2011; Whole Wheat Bread – Breakfast Edition 3:00 pm FREE
Wednesday, February 23, 2011; Nutri-Mill Grain Grinder Demo 3:00 pm FREE
Thursday, February 24, 2011; April Ashcroft is teaching
Green Smoothie; the Green Food,
                      Warm Indian Quinoa Salad
                       Indian Spiced Kale and Chickpeas
           6:00 pm $10.00
Saturday, February 26, 2011; How Handwriting Can Change Your Life, 
with Arlene Brumble 10:00 am $10.00

April Ashcroft
Melissa Chappell

Bosch University offers private classes for Enrichment Nights, 
Young Women’s/Men’s Activities, Birthday and Bachelorette/Bachelor Parties. 
Please call 435.674.1120 or visit the store and ask for Chef Justin for more information

To register for classes please call or visit the store, or you may e-mail 
Chef Justin at

Bosch Kitchen Store ~ 188 N. Bluff St. Saint George Utah ~  

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Bosch University January 2011 Class Schedule

January 2011
Class Schedule

January 4 – Store Closed for Inventory
January 5 – Store Closed for Inventory
January 6 – Whole Wheat Bread – Dinner Edition 3:00 p.m. FREE
January 7 – L’Equip Stick Blender Demo 4:00 p.m. FREE
January 8 – Brain Meditation with Arlene Bramble 10:30 a.m. Atlas Lounge $10.00
January 11 – Whole Wheat Bread – Breakfast & Snack Edition – 3:00 p.m. FREE
January 12 – Nutri-Mill Demo 10:00 a.m. FREE
January 13 –Vegan/Vegetarian Cooking with April Ashcroft 6:00 p.m. $10.00
        Spinach Mushroom Lasagna
     Green Salad with Tofu Feta
     Apple Pecan Salad
January 15 – Finding Your Passion Part 1 (Two Part Series) – Arlene Bramble 10:30 a.m.
        Atlas Lounge $20.00
January 17 – L’Equip Stick Blender Demo – 4:00 p.m. FREE
January 18 – B/R/K Pressure Cookery 101 – Fruit Puree, BBQ Chicken 4:00 p.m. $5.00
January 19 – Gluten-Free Desserts with Melissa Chappell– 3:00 p.m. $10.00 (
     Lime Mousse with Strawberry Sauce
     Cranberry and Macadamia Nut Cookies with Orange Zest
     Peppermint Fudge
     Cinnamon No bake Cookies
January 20 – Whole Wheat Bread – Dinner Edition 10:00 a.m. FREE
January 22 – Finding Your Passion Part 2 (Two Part Series) – Arlene Bramble 10:30 a.m.
       Atlas Lounge
January 24 – Nutri-Mill Demo 10:00 a.m. FREE
January 25 – Whole Wheat Bread – Breakfast & Snacks Edition – 10:00 a.m. FREE
January 26 – L’Equip Stick Blender Class – Halftime Snacks – 5:00 p.m. $5.00
January 27 – Vegan/Vegetarian Cooking with April Ashcroft 6:00 p.m. $10.00
     Very Veggie Enchilada Casserole w/ homemade enchilada sauce
     Tortilla Soup w/Seasoned Tortilla Chips
January 28 – B/R/K Pressure Cookery 202 – Bolognese Sauce, Beef & Bean Chili – 4:00 p.m.
January 29 – Natures 7 "Doctors" – Arlene Bramble 10:30 a.m. Atlas Lounge $10.00
January 31 – L’Equip Food Dehydrator Demo 3:00 p.m. FREE

Bosch University offers private classes for Enrichment Nights, Young Women’s/Men’s Activities, Birthday and Bachelorette/Bachelor Parties. Please call 435.674.1120 or visit the store and ask for Chef Justin for more information

To register for classes please call or visit the store, or you may e-mail Chef Justin at

Bosch Kitchen Store ~ 188 N. Bluff St. Saint George Utah ~ 435.674.1120~ ~

Please visit the websites of our visiting Chefs; April Ashcroft
                                                                     Melissa Chappell

Saturday, November 27, 2010

An electronic cigarette; and what it could do for my career, and my life.

I just ordered an electronic cigarette. I'm hoping to quit smoking for a pseudo-New Year's Resolution. I've tried everything I can think of to quit smoking, except cold turkey. My Mom quit cold turkey quit a few years ago, and it's worked for her. It was 1986 or 1987 when she quit. She just put them down and never picked them back up. I am really impressed with her strength to do that. I wish that I had her will. I admire my Mom for that. With this in mind; my fortitude and determination to do this is going to be in my career. Smoking is a detriment to my career. When I was in culinary school I learned that smokers have a tendency to over season and under salt the food they prepare. As a Chef who is a smoker, I was told that when I salt my food; I need to add the salt that I believe is enough, and then add more. That was within my first month in culinary school. I have followed that "commandment" ever since September of 2007. I loved culinary school. I have never been one for "conventional" college. Sitting in a classroom for hours at a time, listening to someone talk about some random subject concerning something that probably didn't pertain to the subject that I was trying to learn. But culinary school was something different. Even the lecture classes that I had to sit through didn't seem like I was just sitting through them. I was getting to learn about amazing things, well, to me they were amazing. Nutrition, sanitation, wine and beverage, cost control, procurement and inventory management, culinary management etc.etc. etc. it was all interesting to me. It IS all interesting to me. I still have all the books, and believe it or not; I still read them. On a regular basis. I read through chapters one at a time. I could read them sporadically or in order.
That's enough of that tangent.
We are here to talk about an electronic cigarette and what I'm hoping it does for me what it has done for many others. I want to quit smoking. I NEED to quit smoking. For many reasons. Most importantly; health. My health. Obviously. LOL. Like I said, I tried everything to quit. Now that there is one more thing out there, I might as well give it a try too... right? But yes, health. I know that smoking leads to cancer, and even death. But I also know that my quitting smoking (without assistance) could also lead to death. Quite possibly someone else’s death. Secondly; finances. Once again, MY finances. I believe that quitting smoking could save me approximately $45.50 dollars a week. $182.00 a month. $2,400 a year. The $2,400 a year would be the difference between peanut butter with banana sandwiches and beef satay with peanut sauce, sticky rice and followed by mango with coconut milk and well... more sticky rice. It could also mean that filling a fridge with food other than bachelor food would be nice. Bachelor food = frozen pizza, delivery pizza boxes, frozen and/or instant Chinese, Chinese delivery, frozen hamburgers (with buns also frozen as not to allow them to go bad before I eat them) two or three kinds of cheese, various condiments, most of them from various fast food restaurants, frozen chicken breast (which I hope will thaw out before I throw it on my tiny George Foreman Grill.) I know, I know, peanut butter and banana sandwiches... Elvis died eating those... well, his were fried, mine are... George Foreman'd. It's the difference between catsup and ketchup. Morton and Sea. Crab and Krab. And of course the difference between butter and oil. Lastly, needing cologne and wanting cologne. As a chef, I do not wear cologne at work. It would be impractical and irresponsible for someone who works in a kitchen to wear a scent other than garlic, onion, butter, chicken stock and fresh herbs. The smell of the cologne/perfume would cloud the aroma from the food. It would mask the passion that I have for what I do. I know that sounds a little silly, but really... that is why. I love the way that food smells while it's cooking. I love to pick a peach from a tree and smell it; inhale the noxious aroma of the flesh. I inhale deeply as I take the first bite, feeling the juice spray onto the tip of my nose, dribbling down my chin and finally falling to the Earth from which it sprung. But really... the aroma. Sweet, tart, and intoxicating. AMAZING!!!  I have enjoyed this pleasure on more than one occasion. Biting into a peach, feeling the spray on my nose and wiping my chin on my sleeve to clear the way for more fresh peach juice. Once in my Grandparents back yard, well more than once in their back yard. The last time was in San Francisco (see previous post.) Where I'm going with this in terribly simple... being forced to wear cologne when going to meet (or trying to meet) new friends, to hide the smell of the cigarette, is another reason I want to quit smoking. The smell that smacks the new friends in the face when they open the door to my car is rather intoxicating. But not in a good way, like the peach, in the bad way, like 100% humidity in 90 degree weather in South East Georgia in mid-July.
Smoking is not attractive, nor does it make someone look cool. Now, I don't have a need to look cool. I do not need to make friends, nor do I feel that I need to be able to persuade others to like me with or without them knowing that I smoke, or drink, that I swear or that I ride motorcycles with a bunch of rowdy bikers. On the plus side, I have realized that the people that I choose to hang out with do not care that I smoke or drink or swear. Most of them also smoke, drink, and swear; so that's not an issue.
The reason I want to quit smoking is because I know that I have to go on with my life, and that I can't do it without someone else. Meeting the right person for me (in this city) has proven to be difficult. Meeting anyone, really, outside of work and volunteer activities have been rather difficult. I try to tell myself that working 60+ hours a week, six days a week allows me to do what I want to do. And trying to find the right person does not fall within those parameters.
That's why I need to quit smoking:
1. Health
2. Finanaces
3. Natual Aroma vs Artifical Aroma
4. Meeting the "right person" should that person exist...

That's my tangent. That's my reason for wanting to quit smoking. For me.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Culinary Tour of San Francisco

I had written this for a non-fiction piece while I was attending Dixie State College in St. George Ut. It was well received, but too long. I cut it down and changed a few things, but this is the original. I hope you enjoy.

It was going to be a long drive, just me, a carton of Camel Wide Filters, and my
i-pod, all taking the trip from Las Vegas to San Francisco. I left early in the
morning in hopes that if I were to get lost or stuck in California traffic, I
would have more than enough time to check into my hotel, let my family know
that I arrived safely, have dinner and drinks with a friend from Le Cordon Bleu
that now lived and worked in San Francisco, and have enough time to get a good
night’s sleep. I left Las Vegas on a mission, and I wasn’t going to leave San
Francisco until I had achieved my goal. I was going to be “The Next Food
Network Star.”

I was driving through the vineyards and the orchards, watching as the bright colors of the leaves on the apple, orange and avocado trees started to change colors in late July. Being saddened as I saw the newly sanctioned “Dust Bowl” in Southern California. Knowing that hundreds of jobs had been lost, as well as thousands of dollars worth of the California vegetable industry blew away in the wind. Tumbleweeds crashed into my car, my front bumper obliterating them to hundreds of little pines and stems joining the economy in the median of the freeway. Volume up, and windows down, a cool but dry breeze tousled my freshly cut pompadour. Thank goodness for Murphy’s hair oil and my black comb, a simple fix to a possible disaster. I looked good; I felt good. Positivity and exuberance oozed from every pore on my body. The Food Network had no idea what was going to hit them the next morning.

When I arrived at my hotel, The Motel 6 in the middle of San Francisco’s financial district, dinner was
weighing heavily on my mind. Lina and I were getting ready for a night out on the town. I was looking forward to the grand tour I was about to receive from a local, let alone the food, the street food. Succulent kebabs and falafel that is crispy on the outside doughy on the inside. Spicy house made hot dogs and sourdough pretzels are the best on “X” Street.

We tried every kind of food, stopping at bars for a cocktail after the falafel and a beer before and after
the hotdog. Local wines flowed like rainwater gushing down the avenue. The best that Sonoma County and Napa Valley had to offer were all within arms-reach. I was in gastronomic heaven. Our last stop of the night was at a dessert bar aptly named “Candy Bar.” There were low, dark stained cherry wood tables and plush burgundy-colored velvet sofas. Checkers and chess boards, card games and other games are available to play. The drink menu was extensive, domestic and imported beer, wine and inventive cocktails. The dessert menu was simple and eclectic. There were five dessert offerings, which changed almost nightly. Lina and I both enjoyed lavender infused vodka drink, mixed with a local sparkling chardonnay, garnished with a candied lavender flower. We each chose a dessert
from the menu and shared with each other. I chose the beet mousse in a dark chocolate tuile, spearmint ice cream and crumbled chocolate cake. The smooth beet mousse served at room temperature to contrast the icy spearmint ice cream. The crisp chocolate tuile was a wonderful contradiction to the moist crumbled cake. Lina ordered the nachos. Crispy baked puff pastry cut into triangles to
resemble tortilla chips; sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar, topped with strawberries resembling tomatoes, kiwi like jalapeños, mango to look like shredded cheddar cheese. A sour cream sorbet and a local avocado ice cream served on top, finished with a candied jalapeño slice, slightly sweet with a
punch of heat. I still can’t decide which one I liked better. The room-temperature beet mousse was a bit of a turnoff. The nachos were bland and slightly boring. It was a short bus ride to an amicable mid-way close enough for both of us to walk in our separate directions to get to our individual resting
places. I loved to see Lina and to tour this great culinary megalopolis with her.
While taking a shower the next morning, cleaning off the nine hour drive and the four
hour culinary tour of San Francisco, I realize it’s actually the day. The day of the casting call. I should be nervous. I should be a wreck, but I’m not. I’m relaxed. I’m content. I’m happy to be doing this. I stopped at a Starbucks on the way to the casting call where I got a large quad-espresso latte with a
bagel or a muffin, maybe a breakfast sandwich of some sort. I put on my earphones, click over to my “Next Food Network Star” playlist. It had happy music; it had inspirational music with a little Johnny Cash thrown in for good measure. I walked the ten blocks north, and the five blocks east, drinking my
coffee and munching my blueberry muffin. There was nothing that was going to get in my way.
I arrived at the W at 7:30 a.m. there was plenty of time to spare. The casting call is scheduled to begin at 9:00. I stopped outside the W; they had a few comfy couches and a coffee table outside under a balcony. I sat down and lit a cigarette, took in the scenery of the Museum of Modern Art across the street, the people walking to work, people biking or running, getting in their daily
exercise before the heat of the July afternoon. My coffee was running dry and I knew that it was going to be a long day. I looked for another coffee shop. Seattle’s Best is just inside the MoMA. I added another large quad-latte to my relaxed and comfortable state.
I went inside the W and looked for signage, for direction to the casting call. Many people were walking around inside the lobby. Some employees, some guests, some were also auditioning for “The Next Food Network Star”. Up to the fifth floor and to the left. I saw a table with a pretty girl, tired looking, drinking a large Seattle’s Best coffee. Water bottles, stacks of papers and cups overflowing
with pens littered the table. She took a bite of a bagel sandwich, an asiago cheese bagel, with scrambled egg and ham, or maybe bacon. It had cheddar cheese seductively melting over the nooks and crannies of the bacon and the perfectly round scrambled eggs. Yes, it was definitely bacon. Toasted and steaming. She wiped her mouth with a napkin, ridding herself of crumbs and butter. She had a bit of melted cheese stuck to her upper lip. She took a deep breath and blew onto her coffee, cooling the top then taking a big swig. She winced. It burned her tongue. She wiped her mouth again. She smiled prettily as I approached the table. Maybe a forced smile, it seemed too early to be that cheery. Maybe she needed a second coffee, like the one I had in my hand. She gathered one of each
large stack of paperwork and handed them to me, giving me directions for each stack.
“Like this?” I asked. I had printed off all 37 pages of the application and typed my answers in. She seemed intrigued, and yet possibly annoyed that I had done it all without direction.
“Did you remember to bring headshots?” she asked as she grabbed a Polaroid camera from under the table.
“Like these?” I asked, she looked slightly more annoyed.
“Well, I guess you have everything. Sign in here, you are number 27. Have a seat inside the waiting room. We will begin the casting call at 8:00 instead of 9:00.” 
I sat at a table where two women seemed to be having a light-hearted conversation. Slightly laughing with each other, and slightly sizing up each other as competition. Toni and Anne are two very different people. Toni is eclectic; wearing a green “Mario Bro’s” one-up t-shirt with khaki capri pants and a sock monkey beanie. Anne was conservatively dressed in long black pin-striped slacks, shiny red kitten heels, and a black blouse with white polka-dots. Her blonde hair recently dyed and pulled back with a black headband with a large rhinestone flower neatly attached with copper wire.
The three of us talked and people watched, making fun of others in the room. There was the flamboyant queen who stated that he was going to “be the flamboyant one that everyone loves to hate.” The health-nut basketball star in a white chef’s coat and basketball shorts. The recent culinary graduate with a picture taken with Emeril Lagasse, which he was shamelessly using as a headshot. We looked around the room and found the token girl from India, who wants to teach the world Indian cuisine.
Anne was called in first. She quietly gathered her application and headshots.  She stood, straightened her blouse and slacks and a quick swipe of the tongue over her teeth to ensure she doesn’t have any crumbs in the cracks in her gum line. A few minutes passed, Toni and I continued making fun of others who had joined in.
Toni was called in next, Anne hadn’t yet returned. I perused my application, making sure it was in order. Anne returned with a warm smile and a calm demeanor. She gathered her things; bid me farewell and good luck. A warm hug and a silent goodbye, we exchanged emails and Face Book names. Toni returned, slightly angered and a little defeated. She said a curt hello, left me her business card and a quick goodbye. I handed her my card with my Face Book name scribbled on the back.
“Justin. Justin Lewis.” The time had arrived. It was my turn. Gathering my application and headshots, smiled and stood with definition. I followed the woman into the hallway, was asked to sit in a little room off of the hallway, but not yet in the conference room where the interviews were being held. Calm and collected, jittery from the eight shots of espresso, it seemed like an eternity, but was just a few short minutes. The door opened, a mousy girl exited the room. It seemed as if she was going to cry. She had pale skin and hundreds of freckles. I could see her face getting more and more red with every step. A tear began to swell in her left eye, shortly followed by a much larger tear in her right eye.
“Justin. Justin Lewis?” A cheerful woman in her mid-twenties appeared through the large oak door. Her hair pulled back into a loose bun being held by a white Stylo pen. The end had been chewed on, wrinkled and beaten. A nervous habit of the cheerful woman. I followed her to the far end of the large mahogany table. It was a corner room with large windows overlooking the MoMA people still walking to work, running or biking. A single folder sitting at each end of the table with an empty schedule affixed to the outside. I sat to her right, she to my left. She removed the pen from her hair and it fell over her shoulders. A single strand fell on top of her left hand, she didn’t notice it, but I did.
Who am I? What is my culinary passion? Why do I want to have a show on The Food Network? How am I different from the rest of the applicants? Why should they choose me? What is my background, culinary and personal? What is my favorite memory of cooking? She asked a barrage of questions that I was prepared for. I knew the questions that she was going to ask before she asked them. I was in the right mindset, my energy; my emotional and mental state was in complete harmony. She knew it too. I was asked to come back the following day for a callback. I had to prepare a dish and bring it with me. I had to prepare a training technique for video. I had checked out of my hotel when I left for the casting call. My hotel room didn’t have a kitchenette. Not even a coffee pot or a microwave. How would I cook something deserving enough of my own Food Network show? We set up my appointment for 9:00 a.m. the following morning. I walked out of the conference room, down the hall and into the waiting room. I gathered my belongings and left the W for the first time. I would be back the next day.
I called my Mom to tell her the good news. I had to find a place to stay one more night; I had to find a place to cook a meal. Chevy’s Tex-Mex Grill right across the street. They have a kitchen; maybe I could use it. I called Lina to ask for help. I need a place to stay, I need to find groceries. I need to come up with a recipe that inspires them to choose me. But first, Chevy’s.
The front door is unlocked; a manager is standing at the podium talking on the phone. I describe the situation. I ask for help. She chuckles, but humors me and goes to get the Chef. Chef James, a portly man with a goatee and his hair pulled back into a pony-tail, greets me with a coffee cup in his hand, and a pencil stuck behind his ear. The manager described my situation on the way to the front; he half-smiled as he was walking through the restaurant. He looked at me, grinned and without saying a word I knew I could use the kitchen. We discussed a meeting time; he told me about a farmers market close by, handed me his business card, and wished me luck.
I called Lina and she gave me directions to the farmers market that Chef James had told me about, and agreed to meet me there in 30 minutes. The time it would take for her to arrive by bus, and for me to walk there. It would also give me time to come up with a dish to prepare.
The market spanned a city block, fresh fish and smoked meats greeted me as I walked in from the east. Live music was being played somewhere in the middle. I tasted a fresh white peach; the meat of the peach was white as snow with faint yellow-orange fuzz. They were larger than my fist, perfectly round and symmetrical with the dimple of the peach ever so slight, but evident that it was supposed to be there. The aroma was sweet and tart at the same time. I grabbed five of the peaches, a couple jalapeños, and a head of garlic, a bunch of mint, lemons, and onions. Lina and I then headed to China Town.
While in China Town, we had the most wonderful pho, authentically served with Thai basil, sprouts and lime wedges and washed it all down with refreshing Thai iced tea.
I had decided to prepare mojito marinated shrimp, served over lemon pepper fettuccini and topped with white peach salsa for the callback. In China Town I bought a beautiful white bowl with graduating sides, the back of the bowl being higher than the front. A pound of whole prawns and some rum for the mojito marinade. When we arrived at Lina’s house, I prepared the marinade, and made the fettuccini. Lina and I made dinner for ourselves and her roommates, then I retired to bed for the evening, Sunday was going to be a longer day than Saturday had turned out to be since I had to drive back to Vegas after it was all done.
6:00 a.m. Sunday Morning, the day of the callback. I quickly got ready for the day, gathered all my ingredients, and brewed a pot of coffee. I headed back to Chevy’s to meet with Chef James and to start preparing my dish.
Chef James showed me where I could work. I quickly cleaned the prawns and started them marinating. Shrimp doesn’t take too long to marinade or to cook, so I started a pot of water to boil the pasta I had prepared the night before. Chef James checked in on me and brought me some coffee. I diced the peaches, finely minced the jalapeño, and did a quick chiffonade of the mint for the peach salsa. I had saved a couple peaches for my breakfast.
I thanked Chef James for letting me use his kitchen. He wished me luck as I headed out the door. Before going to the W, I went to the MoMA to get some coffee. I crossed back over to the W, sat on the same couches as the day before, lit a cigarette, and people watched. I watched the same people as the day before walking to work running or biking.
I looked at the time; I had just about 15 minutes before I was scheduled to meet with The Food Network Casting Staff, and I lit another cigarette, said a little prayer took a big swig of coffee. I called the casting staff to get directions to the room where the interview was being held. She said she would meet me in the lobby at 9:00, I had five minutes. Do I smoke another cigarette or meditate? I lit another cigarette, three in fifteen minutes I think that’s a record somewhere. I smoke as fast as I can; I put half of it out in the ashtray. There are fewer people inside today, the same staff, fewer guests and me. I meet with Sheri, the pen-chewing girl who interviewed me the day prior; she led me to the elevator and up to the 27th floor down the hall and to the right. It seemed like The Food Network had rented a set of interlocking suites for the casting staff and for the interviews. I was introduced to the rest of the staff, and then we started.
First we filmed the mojito shrimp, lemon pepper fettuccini and white peach salsa that I had prepared. I had to give quick details on how I had made it. I told the story of Chef James and Chevy’s restaurant, the farmers market, the delectable white peach, making pasta without a pasta roller, rolling out the dough with a wine bottle, and of course my trip to China Town. Then I had to do my technique. I decided to show how to make pie dough. I started with flour and salt in a bowl, adding cubes of butter and breaking down the butter with my fingers till they were the size of hazelnuts, slowly adding water a little at a time then mixing and mixing.
“I hate having dirty hands,” I said “my Mom has a picture of me when I was younger standing at the bathroom sink covered from head to toe in mud, washing my hands.” Then we began the question and answer segment. We pulled the table out of the way, and brought in a barstool.
“Sit as comfortably as you can, but with poise.”
“Answer the question like “What is your favorite color?” “My favorite color is blue.” Just like that, okay?”
She asked the same questions as yesterday, and even more new questions. Tell me about your inspiration for cooking, inspiration for wanting to be on Food Network? Who is my favorite Food Network Chef, and why? Tell me about your family, and what they mean to you. Which city would you like to go on a culinary tour of, which foods would you try and why? This one was simple; I had
just done one two days prior. The Q&A session lasted for just about an hour, then I was asked to go into the next room, there is a test on the table, I have 45 minutes to complete it, please wait in the room until they come get me. A test? I had to do a test? The questions were simple, they were all culinary questions, temperatures, major ingredients in “X” cuisine, my favorite dishes and how I prepare them, favorite dishes family made and how they prepared them (being descriptive at all times of course) the test was nine pages long, and I had to write on the back of most of the pages to complete
some of the answers. Sheri opened the door, collected my exam and showed me out. She really liked me, and looked forward to seeing me again.
Next I had two days to email six pictures and ten original recipes to The Food Network. I also had to prepare a video of me cooking something, showing me outside of the kitchen (hobbies, family etc) being energetic and of course, in three minutes or less. That was due in two weeks. I would be contacted by the end of November if I was selected to continue on with the selection committee. I completed my video in ten days with help from my family of motorcycle riders, and from the IT guy at Le Cordon Bleu in Vegas, it was awesome. I was ready to go to New York and show them what I am made of.
I am still waiting for that call. They started filming in the middle of January for season six. I’m going to try again next year, maybe “seven” is my lucky number after all.