I Did What I Came To Do
Goal #5: Find a cute boy (Nope…didn’t happen)
Goal #4: Make it to Top 10 (Check)
Goal #3: Make it to Top 5 (Check)
Goal #2: WIN (Oh so close)
Goal #1: Show Jesus (Check)
There they are, folks. The goals I set out to accomplish before I got on a plane to sacrifice 7 weeks of my life, job, time with friends and family, time with my dogs, and my business. These are the goals I set for myself the moment I found out I made it through the 3-month long audition process for MasterChef.
This journey started almost a year ago when I auditioned on September 26th. I walked into that audition with confidence that I had relearned over the last 4 years. I walked out of the MasterChef Kitchen with validation, confidence, fire, passion, and a deeper faith with The Lord.
You see, about 4 years ago, I was told on a regular basis, that I wasn’t good enough. I was told I wasn’t pretty enough, smart enough, ambitious enough, skinny enough, even that my skin was too dark. Some of these things were only repeats from what I had been told in a more distant past, but all of these things resonated with me louder than ever before. They weren’t told to me by people who didn’t matter. They were told me to me by someone I loved and thought loved me. They were communicated verbally, physically, and through lack of care, neglect, and out right effort to be mean. Worst of all, I believed them.
Prior to that time, I was the super sassy, confident, out spoken, bold, opinionated, smart, witty person that a lot of you know and love and all of you have seen on MasterChef. I was all of those things, but I lacked the confidence in knowing that all of those things were okay. During my time of rediscovering who I was, the one thing that resonated with me was “Show Jesus”. God was telling me to “Show Jesus” through all of the twists and turns my life had taken.
My efforts to “Show Jesus” has taken me places I never thought I’d go. Honestly, I felt it was too hopeless to set out to get to those places. I never thought I would make deep, meaningful, authentic, and raw friendships as I have through my church family at Mercy Road Church. I never thought I’d have the courage to quit my job! Trust me, that was a long time desire that I never thought possible. I never thought I’d get to express my heart for food, non-profits, and diversity so freely and passionately. And, I NEVER…in a million years…think I’d be auditioning for MasterChef and coming out as the Top 4 contestant of season 7! Never! Never! Never!
I want to share a few of my thoughts about where my head was at during these last few challenges.
At this point in the competition I had sized up my competition pretty well and knew I had the flavor composition to win this thing. I would get stuck when it came to plating and thinking far outside the box within our limited time constraints. I always say my culinary muse is my grandmother and my mother. It couldn’t have been more timely to bring my Mom to the show. Just a hug from her was all I needed. I felt inspired. I felt reenergized and refocused. It didn’t matter to me who everyone else was united with (although I had the most delightful time at dinner with David’s daughter, Lili). I wasn’t focused on that. I was focused on making my Mom proud and remembering who I was.
My scripture references from my devotional were all about joy (Psalms 63:7-8 and James 1:2-3). Specifically, joy in the midst of trouble. Looking back at it now, God was reminding me to have joy even if I didn’t meet all of my goals. In other words, even if I didn’t win. He was reminding me of that unexplainable peace I had during the 5 days we filmed the Apron Battles. The peace He gave me from the very beginning.
That peace was to prepare me for the Critics Challenge ahead. I vividly remember the producers making a big deal about who we were cooking for, but not telling us who they were. While I was definitely phased and recognized the impact of this challenge once when we found out who they were. I still had peace. David was my partner. Out of all who was left, I knew David and I would work incredibly well together. I honestly felt like we had it in the bag. Even during our misstep in the sauce and the undercooked duck, I felt like he and I would be best at figuring out a new plan and recovering. We are both strategists. He is far more excelled in that area than I am (he’s a professional poker play for goodness sake!), but we both are, nonetheless. I am confident in saying that David and I both wanted this challenge to get us in the finale, together. We were trying to make history (I’ll let you marinate on that one for a second).
I was incredibly disappointed that we did not win, but still on a high from the fact that Jeffrey Steingarten told me that my polenta cake was delicious and asked for the recipe. #winning
To go up against David in the Pork Pressure Test was honestly, concerning. This was the first time I had to cook 3 different items in a pressure test, and David is the King of Pork! He won the Pork Apron Battle and handled the pork during the Famer’s Challenge like a Boss! I knew I had to stay organized in order to thrive. I really did feel good as I was in the heat of this challenge. Believe it or not, what got me stuck was one of the last times Chef Ramsay came to check in, I forgot to get my pork tenderloin in the pan. I had the pan ready for it. I had even put the oil in the pan and started heating it, but after talking with him I ended up using the pan for something else and forgot about the pork. Once I remembered it, I knew there wasn’t enough time to cook the pork and allow it to rest.
There is no one I’d rather go out against. There is a small part of me who feels like I was releasing my grasshopper into the wild. Ha ha! I say that because I know I taught David a thing or two while on this MasterChef journey. He admired my talent and respected me from the very first time we saw each other cook. David had my back. He looked out for me. He is one of my closest friends from the show. If it isn’t going to be me to win this competition, I truly want that for David.
My devotion that day referenced Psalms 18:30 (NLT) “God’s way is perfect. All the Lord’s promises prove true. He is a shield for all who look to him for protection.” He was preparing me, friends. He was preparing me to walk out of that MasterChef Kitchen with grace, hope, sass, and knowing that He is good, and all of His promises are true. Sure, I didn’t win MasterChef, but that doesn’t mean that God doesn’t have something even more amazing in store for me.
“I want you to realize how utterly secure you are! Even if you falter as you journey through life, I will never let go of your hand.
Knowing that your future is absolutely assured can free you to live abundantly.”
~Jesus Calling, Sarah Young
Thank you for reading every week. Thank you for cheering me on and encouraging me. This is not the end of my journey, so I hope you plan to keep following. I’m not a fan of the phrase “This is only the beginning” because it’s not. This is simply validation for me of God’s goodness and His grace. The close of this journey is confirmation that God has an amazing purpose and plan for my life. He has one for you too!
I hope I showed you Jesus.
I’ll see you guys next week! I can’t wait to tell you all about the finale! In the meantime, Love Deeply, Laugh Often, Eat Really Well!
From #teamtanorria to #teamdavid
Love & Blessings,
“For He satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things.” Psalms 107:9 NLT