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Reality Food TV - Would YOU do it?

I'll admit it. I can't avert my eyes from the train wreck that is reality food tv.

Top Chef, Next Food Network Star, Master Chef - guilty, guilty, guilty.

(But not that show on VH-1. Even I have standards.)

As I'm sure is the case for many Hounds, my friends tell me I should audition for them all the time. But watching them either making asshats of themselves or leaving that task up to production and editing (or some combination of the two) is quite another thing from subjecting myself to the same.

Besides, I'll be a laughing stock if Joe Bastianich makes me cry on national television.

Would you do it?

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  1. without a fake name, extensive cosmetic prostheses and a hefty dose of something or other?

    hell no.

    1. I do not know how it works...nor the talent to compete but are the contestants paid? I know the winner gets the prize and the taxes that go along with it but do the contestants get scale or zip...just interested.

      4 Replies
        1. re: inaplasticcup

          I always imagined expenses and a small stipend. small price for some public humiliation.

          1. re: inaplasticcup

            Not exactly what you're asking inap, but my sister provides a good deal of professional swag to shows out in LA. What I've learned thru her involvement is that most of the celeb and non celeb contestants rec' all sorts of swag, perks, tickets and pay. These shows look for underwriters and sponsors for all sorts of free goods in exchange for show credit. My sister enjoyed it for a while, supplying swag...some of the freebies she provided turned into new clients...but it wore thin over time. However, she said most people love the lavish treatment even if they lose the "game."

            I'd rather audition for my own show (heheheh) than be a contestant. :)

            1. re: HillJ

              Interesting! I guess some people really eat up the special treatment thing. :)

        2. Not a chance. It would take something I love to do and make it stressful. If I worked in the food business or had career aspirations along those lines, maybe so.

          1. I auditioned for Top Chef: Just Desserts under the theory that doing things contrary to my nature makes me grow, plus I hated my job at the time and it would have been a great excuse to leave. But after watching it I was very relieved I didn't get on. I don't want to be the person crying or breaking down or freaking out, and I'm not that competitive anyway. I will not try again.

            5 Replies
            1. re: babette feasts

              Wow! Good on you for trying, though. Was there anything interesting or unusual about the process that you didn't expect?

              1. re: inaplasticcup

                Never done anything like that before, so didn't know what to expect. You did have to sign about a 20 page document before even applying. They seemed interested after the initial interview, said they wanted to 'pitch' me and urged me to get my autobiographical video in, which I did. I'm probably just not egotistical or mean enough : ) The friend who helped me with the video had a cousin or something who was in the running to get on America's Next Top Model, his take on the reason she didn't make it was that her answer to 'have you ever been in a fistfight' was no.

                1. re: babette feasts

                  LOL. I guess lacking in either drama or caricature factor makes you less desirable as a contestant. But it's one of those interesting life experiences you can now check off on that 100 things to do before you die list... :)

              2. re: babette feasts

                But after watching it I was very relieved I didn't get on.
                amen to that. for years my family & friends have been hounding me (ha!) to try out for Food Network Star, Top Chef, Masterchef...but i always resisted because i had no interest in making a fool of myself on national TV. then 3 different people sent me the application for America's Next Great Restaurant, and after weeks of agonizing and soul searching, i finally caved and decided to go to the LA casting. i've been trying to find the $$ to make my restaurant/bakery/catering dream a reality for a VERY long time now, so i figured at the very least i would try out for the show, and if i somehow managed to land a spot i could decide if i was really willing to put myself (and my family) through it.

                needless to say i didn't get cast, and i was bitter at first simply because my idea rocked and the entire casting experience was a NIGHTMARE. but after witnessing the complete and utter train wreck that show - and the winning concept - turned out to be, i'm hugely relieved and grateful that i *wasn't* on the show.

                now whenever someone tells me i "need" to try out for Chopped, or Masterchef, or Food Network Star, i just laugh :)

                1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                  and tell those people to run the numbers on ROI, easy to say "oh you should"

              3. Nope! Gordan Ramsey scares me. I can't even watch him. Nightmares, mommy.

                9 Replies
                1. re: Passadumkeg

                  really? im pretty sure there are a lot of 'contestants' who laugh their butts off when he yells at them and im sure he laughs too and it all gets edited out

                  1. re: kpaxonite

                    Hey, I qualified for Jeopardy, but was never on. Good enough.

                    1. re: Passadumkeg

                      thats one show i would do in second

                      1. re: kpaxonite

                        They took a cute, blond pharmacist from Bangor instead. He lasted 3 shows.

                      2. re: Passadumkeg

                        LOL. I qualified for Win Ben Stein's Money, and I was on, and it was not a good showing. That's all I have to say about that.

                        Oh, and also that I got a Beatles anthology out of it. Very low budget that show. Ben Stein wasn't giving away too much of his money. :P

                    2. re: Passadumkeg

                      He seems to be wearing the neutral hat on Master Chef now, but yeah - I wouldn't want him asking me if I'm a s'choopid cow, well, am I??? when all I can do is say "Yes, Chef." all teary eyed and quivering lipped...

                      1. re: inaplasticcup

                        oh yea I agree but I was thinking hells kitchen

                        if he yelled "donkey i wish you would just hop in the oven- it would save me some time" I would break down....laughing

                        1. re: kpaxonite

                          Seriously. Calling people farm animals is like, the best method of insult ever...

                          1. re: inaplasticcup

                            especially while they are cooking farm animals...

                            (come to think of it there are a lot of insults that involve domesticated animals)

                    3. I'd do top chef (if I was a professional cook), but none of the others.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: twyst

                        agree with this. if i was a pro and wanted to get funding for a bigger endeavor, i'd want the exposure. i THINK. maybe if i actually cooked professionally (instead of the ultra amateur i am), i'd say no way am i putting myself through that.

                      2. I'm Nadia's buff vinophile boyfriend on Bitchin' cooking. Why do I have to cook?

                        10 Replies
                        1. re: Passadumkeg

                          Don't get me started on Bitchin Kitchen... That whole Andrew Dice Clay as hot chick schtick is not workin' for me... :|

                          1. re: inaplasticcup

                            Oh Nadia referred to herself as Joan Jett with an apron right here on good ole CH.

                            1. re: HillJ

                              I wonder if Joan Jett would think that a compliment... ^-

                              1. re: inaplasticcup

                                I just hope Joan Jett managed to keep her lunch down if she did hear it...

                                1. re: EWSflash

                                  yeah she's really more Suzi Quatro and only when playing Leather Tuscadero...

                                    1. re: inaplasticcup

                                      you got it babe </Vegas-Jersey swagger>

                                      1. re: hill food

                                        You got it! Nadia reminds me of the Jersey girls of my youth!!! Ah, the 60's, black leather mini-skirts and bee hive hair do's.
                                        "Leader of the Pack", vrooom, vrooom.

                                        1. re: Passadumkeg

                                          f^^^in' A right dude! and with way too much mascara. there is something sexy about worked cars with bad brakes and somebody yelling nonsense in your ears, memories, just memories.

                                          1. re: hill food

                                            Hey, wattsamattahwitcha, ya talki' 'bout my first car, a '49 Ford?

                        2. Nope.

                          I enjoy cooking as an ends to itself. Not as a means to winning a competition.

                          1. I have to laugh, because as I was watching part of tonites (July 19) Hell's Kitchen where the losing girls had to drink the "meat" milkshakes of the leftovers from the grill, I was yellin' to myself "OH HELLZ NO!" "I better check that contract but this is NOT Survivor or one of those bull &^*& shows. I'm here to cook."

                            I'd tossed the first meat-shake back at the person that served it to me. Then had them make me a second and tossed it at the floor producer.

                            I'd bet you $5k USD that none of the production staff would have wanted it to TOUCH any part of their body much less get it near their mouth.

                            Ironic, no?

                            Good TV. Bad real-life morals and even worse hazing practices.

                            Yea FOX. What's next? Waterboarding? Even better let's make the losers eat an unending belly full of grain via funnels like ducks priming for a final foie gras fattening party. Now THAT would be sweet.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: jjjrfoodie

                              I didn't know HK was still on. Meatshakes. Ewwwwwww...

                            2. The first season of HK, yeah, I thought about applying. After seeing the rest of the seasons.... oh hell no.

                              1. sure, why not? if i cant laugh at myself, i'm up shits creek already

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: thew

                                  thew: agreed but I can do that at home (or online) and still catch my stories and eat what I want to when I want to.

                                2. I know I would never have what it takes to be on any of these shows (real talent, balls..)
                                  but if I thoguht I could handle it, I would do any of these shows in a second!

                                  My reasoning,is that it would be such a unique experience, a real once in a lifetime, experience.
                                  Its like a big game, really isnt it?
                                  I would love to see what i would do confronted with a "secret basket"...or how my eggs benedict would be compared to others...
                                  i, personally, think it would be great fun!
                                  But I would never take it seriously, which is why I'm not cut out for it.
                                  I bet the reality of it, is not as fun as I might think it would be...

                                  I'd not be afraid of looking like a fool....my friends know and love me, and I don't care what starngers think of me, so that wouldnt matter.

                                  1. I'd go on "Chopped," but only because it's the one show where part of the excitement doesn't seem to be the humiliation parade that other shows tend to be strong on. I know the time element would be a freak, but the baskets have never really scared me, and it would be fun to try.

                                    10 Replies
                                    1. re: mamachef

                                      same with Australian Masterchef the judges are always nice and encouraging and more like mentors

                                      1. re: mamachef

                                        I like Chopped, too. What's the time limit again? 20?

                                          1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                            I've done two reality cooking shows. One I was portrayed in not the most entirely flattering light. The second time was more positive. I have no regrets. I received hate mail, someone threatened to slap me in the face if they ever saw me on the street. It was fun

                                            1. re: jamesm

                                              Hate mail and threats of physical violence.

                                              Admit it. The m in your screenname stands for M.arcel...

                                                1. re: inaplasticcup

                                                  hah, nope. Not that high profile. I'm not being coy but the second one hasn't aired yet and I'm bound by confidentiality.

                                                  1. re: jamesm

                                                    It's already set in stone, but I hope it went well for you. :)

                                                    1. re: inaplasticcup

                                                      Thanks! It went very well and it was an exhausting shoot but it's all in good fun and I think there was some pretty entertaining tv created.

                                                      1. re: jamesm

                                                        Ok, but PLEASE can you tell us when you're not bound by confidentiality anymore? I'm a horrible, horrible star****** and I wanna know! I can point, and say, "Hey, I "know" that guy!"

                                      2. HAIL yes I'd love to....but wouldn't. my kids know I'm a schlump under intense pressure ;(

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: iL Divo

                                          Yes i would do it if asked. Last night I was at Zio's (don't judge) and split a pizza (not bad) with a friend and they had paper on the table and crayons (i know, so 90s! ) 2 people came over before we were done and asked to tear off pieces to keep. I guess they thought I was someone....

                                        2. For me, no. But what's really funny is that a friend was on Throwdown (he won) and has been offered his own show many times. He prefers to serve our country in the Marines.

                                          5 Replies
                                          1. re: BubblyOne

                                            I can see that. I know some people find it hard to believe, but there are people out there who choose not to go there even if presented with the opportunity.

                                            1. re: BubblyOne

                                              It was serving as a Navy corpsman w/ the 1 5 Marines in Nam that turned me into a life long Chowhound.
                                              If faced w/ the choice of being w/ Jar Heads or reality TV food folks, I's take the Gyrenes too.
                                              Hoo Ha Keg

                                              1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                of course you would comparing members of our armed services to "Reality TV People" is like the difference between Platinum and Plastic. (though I am sure some are very nice)

                                                1. re: chris2269

                                                  And whom does our society reward?

                                                  Dumkeg the Humble Educator

                                              2. re: BubblyOne

                                                thank your friend from my family, our son served too.

                                              3. They had Master Chef tryouts in my city a few months ago and I was encouraged by some friends and co-workers to try out. I went to the website and it basically said I would need to take a leave of absence from my job for up to six months depending on how well I performed. I imagine I would receive some pay (or maybe not) as a contestant (the website didn't say, if I recall) but I had to ask myself, "Is it worth losing my job for that shot?". The answer for me anyway was "No, it is too big of a risk." If I was retired or independently wealthy, on welfare or had a sugar mama who supported me though- then Hell yeah, I would try! Why not?

                                                5 Replies
                                                1. re: LorenM

                                                  Valid point LorenM. While watching this seasons MasterChef I was surprised to hear how many professionals left their jobs to be there.

                                                  1. re: HillJ

                                                    assuming they had jobs to leave. I remember more than a few were leaving their "profession" for new opportunities - a subtle but important difference and coded shorthand.

                                                  2. re: LorenM

                                                    my husband has offered many a time to send me to culinary school, my choice.
                                                    several years I've said no thank you.
                                                    the pleasure of cooking is just that for me, a pleasure, but if you add stress, someone watching over you, a nervous demeanor when stressed and losing my coveted current career, I have to say no thank you also.
                                                    he's also said he'd do a mom and pop place with me, only my recipes and the kids could join in, a family affair. no to that too, as there is too much pressure to perform no matter what, no matter that you're out of tomatoes for the days special of Caprese salad or the potatoes for your pomme frits with 4 specialty dipping sauces, so who gets in the car and goes to the market? you.........too much pressure....and the fun, relaxation and pure enjoyment that comes with doing everything in the kitchen would lose its' luster

                                                    1. re: iL Divo

                                                      I cooked professionally for a few years and can appreciate the high and rush of pressure- even with an a-hole, ego-maniacal chef riding me the whole time That stress wouldn't bother me too much but definitely isn't for everybody. I think a reality show would be fun as long as I knew I had a regular life to return to. I wouldn't want to return to it as a career as it is a young man's game though the experience really helped to foster a love of food despite the stress.

                                                  3. I would love to, but in reality I probably would not do it. They throw them for a loop - on Chopped the judges even say "those things just don't go together" so why would they have someone else try it. What I would love to see is the judges have to do something with the same ingredients in the same amount of time after the challengers have done it and the challengers get to chop them!

                                                    4 Replies
                                                    1. re: ChattyGourmet

                                                      oh I like that you should shoot off an e-mail to the network

                                                      1. re: hill food

                                                        They did a version of that last season; Aaron Sanchez was the final winner.

                                                        1. re: pine time

                                                          Aaron Sanchez is a seasoned chef that's been on FN for many years. He has a lot of skills, and I think he's great- but he's not a nobody that just happened onto the scene.

                                                          1. re: EWSflash

                                                            I did see that version las season, but as you say Aaron Sanchez is a well seasoned chef and I enjoyed his FN program he had several years ago.

                                                    2. No, as much as I'd love to cook things on camera, I am fat, and fat people should never, ever be on TV.

                                                      7 Replies
                                                      1. re: Aramek

                                                        Paula Deen
                                                        Mario Batali
                                                        Gram Eliot
                                                        Not that I'm insulting those people but they are not on the Top 10% BMI range and all do fine on TV.

                                                        Charisma and Character do not have a weight.

                                                        1. re: chris2269

                                                          Ha! Very true. The America's Test Kitchen crew seems to get fatter every year especially. I didn't start gaining weight until after I stopped working in restaurants.

                                                          1. re: chris2269

                                                            Orson Welles, Jackie Gleason, Dom DeLuise, James Coco - all successful plus size media guys known to love food.

                                                          2. re: Aramek

                                                            Unless you have an ego the size of Mario Batali's. Especially if you're female, I'm sorry, but there is a huge bias there, Paula Deen is too large in personality to let anything like that get her down, but you're right- look at all the FN people- they're all bigger than they were when they started, except for Alton and Tony Bourdain, but he's a different story.

                                                            1. re: EWSflash

                                                              But how 'bout Giada? She's the size of a pre-teen. Hard to believe she eats more than 2 lettuce leaves a day.