that one time I auditioned for Next Food Network Star

Hi friends! How are ya? Hope you’re having a wonderful day! We’re enjoying the week with the fam, and taking madre and nana to some of our favorite places. It’s been raining a ton, so we might head to the movies later today.

Now that the new season of Next Food Network Star has officially begun, I thought it would be fun to talk about that one time I auditioned to be on the show. This happened at the end of last fall, when I received an email from the casting company. It was probably one of the most exciting emails I’ve ever read, especially because I instantly envisioned being BFFs with Giada and MAYBE GETTING TO MEET INA GARTEN.

Best frieeeeeends.

Bffs with famous chefs

They asked to chat with me on the phone -I was shaking the entire time- and then as we were wrapping up the call, they asked me to do a formal video audition.

It’s funny because while I’ve always wanted to be on the show, it never crossed my mind to actively audition. This is because, you know, #notarealchef. The chance was being put into my hands, so I figured I needed to go for it.

Remember the tempeh Rueben and vegan tomato soup I made for a *project* a while ago?

That was it!

Blackened tempeh with vegan tomato soup

They asked me to create a signature dish and be prepared to discuss it on camera. Everything was super specific: no crazy backgrounds, no outside noise, and good sound/lighting. The Pilot came home from work early to help with Liv’s school pickup and to wrangle to girls, and before I knew it, I was Skpe-ing with a member of the casting team. 

Even though I was so nervous, she was so kind and laid-back that I felt my real personality shine through the intense fear. I made the tempeh Rueben because I thought it would be cool to have a show with a health focus, and a different topic for each episode. This recipe is something I would use to talk about the benefits of fermentation and probiotics, and also share an easy homemade kimchi recipe. I made the soup along with it because a good sandwich always needs a dipper, and you don’t always need dairy for a creamy awesome texture. 😉

At first I was like, “YOU’RE MAKING A SANDWICH FOR A SHOW THAT HAS REAL CHEFS ON IT” but when I talked to Kyle (my bro who always gives me great advice and cooking ideas, it was his #1 pick from our brainstorming session). 

While I obviously wasn’t chosen to be on NFNS -and feel like the timing wasn’t great because we were about to move, and I couldn’t be away from the girls for that long- the audition was an awesome experience. I’m really excited to start watching this season! It’s waiting on the DVR. And who knows, maybe you’ll see me on one of those awkward “here are the people who auditioned” reels.

Next food network star logo


Some tips if you’re considering auditioning for Next Food Network Star:

-You can apply via their website. There are application forms for so many of their competition shows, including Next Food Network Star

-Have a clear vision for what you’d want your show to be about. You need to have a mission and message for your show, and something distinct that would set you apart from everything and everyone else.

-Be ready for a video interview to talk about your signature dish and cooking style

-Be ready to talk about everything and anything! Your family, how you started cooking, your hobbies, who you’re most like on the Food Network, etc.

-Embrace the nervousness! A great way to practice talking with an elevated heart rate is to sprint around the block, and practice speaking as soon as you get back home.

So tell me friends: have you ever auditioned for something you really wanted to do? Were you nervous, or did you crush it? I auditioned and participated in a lot of musicals and plays growing up -I was a musical theatre major before I switched to Finance- and never seemed to get that nervous. This was so very different haha.



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  1. Bethany @ Dose of Discovery on June 6, 2017 at 6:37 am

    Such a fun experience to even be considered for the show! The sandwich looks tasty too. 🙂

    • Fitnessista on June 6, 2017 at 11:16 am

      thank you! yes, it was such a fun experience 🙂 xoxo

  2. Lynn on June 6, 2017 at 7:16 am

    What a cool experience! Maybe you’ll get to try again when the timing is a little better. I’d watch!

    • Fitnessista on June 6, 2017 at 11:16 am

      awww, thanks, friend! maybe i’ll try again in the future 🙂

  3. Emily @ Pizza and Pull-ups on June 6, 2017 at 7:16 am

    What a cool experience! That looks like an awesome lunch combo btw.

    • Fitnessista on June 6, 2017 at 11:15 am

      yes, it was a lot of fun to try for it! thanks girl

  4. Erin on June 6, 2017 at 8:36 am

    oh my gosh, this is so cool!!! i want that sandwich now 😉

    • Fitnessista on June 6, 2017 at 11:15 am

      thank you, friend! 🙂

  5. Jamie @ on June 6, 2017 at 8:58 am

    Ummmmm…this is so cool! How exciting (and terrifying) that must have been!

    • Fitnessista on June 6, 2017 at 11:14 am

      it definitely was!

  6. Stephanie Prause on June 6, 2017 at 9:30 am

    Wow, fun! Did they tell you why you weren’t chosen? Just curious!

    • Fitnessista on June 6, 2017 at 11:13 am

      no they didn’t!

  7. Jennifer on June 6, 2017 at 9:37 am

    SO FUN! I love NFNS! I would die of excitement if I had the opportunity to be on Food network! So awesome! And fyi, I would totally love to taste your Tempeh Reuben. 🙂

    • Fitnessista on June 6, 2017 at 11:13 am

      ahhh thanks girl!
      and yes, it was such a fun opportunity!

  8. Jennifer on June 6, 2017 at 10:08 am

    That’s AWESOME that you did that, and I love your graphic at the top. I would so try to be Ina’s friend! Way to go, and that sandwich looks amazing. xo

    • Fitnessista on June 6, 2017 at 11:12 am

      thank you, friend! yes, it was a cool experience just to try for it

  9. Jill on June 6, 2017 at 10:21 am

    This is so cool! I love Food Network Star. I think it’s a compliment that they reached out to you. I once auditioned for the (now defunct series) on VH1 – World Series of Pop Culture. It was HARD. They had auditions in select cities, so we drove from Dallas to Austin. The audition was a test of 50 questions and you had 15 minutes to complete it. The test was ‘fill in the answer’ format, and even though you created and auditioned with a team of 3, each team member took the test individually. On the day we auditioned, there were probably 10 different time slots with 50 teams in each time slot. Only one team from our time slot advanced. They never told us what you needed to score to advance so we have no idea how close or far we were. It was a fun experience though!

    • Fitnessista on June 6, 2017 at 11:12 am

      that sounds so intense!!

  10. Tracy on June 6, 2017 at 10:48 am

    Omg I love that show!! That would’ve been so so fun to get to watch you on it!! Maybe another season? You should go for it! 🙂

    • Fitnessista on June 6, 2017 at 11:12 am

      maybe i’ll try again in the future! honestly, i’m not sure i have the cooking skills hahah

  11. Kelsey Graf on June 6, 2017 at 10:49 am

    So, does that mean the recipe will make its way to the blog? 😉

    • Fitnessista on June 6, 2017 at 11:08 am

      i can definitely remake it and post it!

  12. Megan @ Skinny Fitalicious on June 6, 2017 at 12:14 pm

    Incredible! That would be my dream to be on that show.

  13. Laura on June 6, 2017 at 2:09 pm

    What a super cool experience! I wish we could see the audition video! I’m sure you did great! Can you share the recipe? I’m intrigued!

  14. Bethany on June 6, 2017 at 5:47 pm

    This is amazing! I do not know if I could have done it.

  15. Juliette | Namastay Traveling on June 7, 2017 at 5:28 am

    This is SO AWESOME! And honestly, it’s like the best fact to have when you have to do one of those weird get-to-know-you games ever. Not to mention the sandwich and soup look amazing, and I’m sure taste even better!

  16. Alison @ Daily Moves and Grooves on June 7, 2017 at 7:11 am

    What!? This is such a cool story!! Good for you for taking the leap and auditioning! Food Network is like the only TV I ever watch, and NFNS is a fave 🙂

  17. Kelli @ Hungry Hobby on June 7, 2017 at 7:52 am

    I’ve never auditioned for anything except cheerleading ha Bab but I think it would be cool thanks for sharing your experience!!!

  18. Traci | The Petite Chef on June 7, 2017 at 8:11 am

    Such a cool experience! It’s awesome that you have it a go even though it seemed uncomfortable. Either way, you have a pretty cool story to tell. 🙂

  19. Lauren on June 7, 2017 at 12:26 pm

    OMG I love that show! It would have been so cool to see you on it! 🙂

  20. Danni @ ActiveHabitat on June 7, 2017 at 1:09 pm

    That sandwich and soup looks awesome! How exciting to even have that chance 🙂

  21. Kayla on June 8, 2017 at 6:10 pm

    Theater major or not I always used to get SO nervous before auditions.

  22. Lissy on June 10, 2017 at 1:06 pm

    Neat! Glad you enjoyed the experience. I auditioned for a wedding shoe when I was getting married. They actually picked me, but my venue said no and I think that worked out for the best the way these shows go 😀 was still an interesting experience though

  23. adrianna on June 10, 2017 at 4:04 pm

    i, too, share the dream of being besties w/ Giada and Ina! they (along w/ the Flay) are my absolute FAVORITES. watched them all since they started. would’ve died if i saw you on there 🙂 !!!

  24. Tara | Treble in the Kitchen on June 15, 2017 at 6:35 am

    OMG! This is so stinking cool! You and I have a lot in common. I studied vocal performance in my first college degree (classically trained but my heart is on broadway) and I literally am in LOVE with the next food network star. I think the hardest part for me would be narrowing my ideas down to having a clear topic and message that I want with my show…right now there are SO many ideas floating around in my head. Congrats on getting a phone call from Food Network!! That is a HUGE win in my book! 🙂

    • Fitnessista on June 15, 2017 at 11:42 am

      yes, narrowing it down is so tricky!
      and i feel like you would totally rock it 🙂 you should try for next season!

  25. Tasha on July 1, 2017 at 11:50 am

    Ah yes! Reminds me of my experience on auditioning for Food Network’s cooks vs. Cons. I was lucky to compete in the first episode of season 3, but I cut my finger during the video audition!!

    • Fitnessista on July 2, 2017 at 10:17 pm

      ahhhh no way! that is incredible you made it on, though! (bummer about the cut)

  26. Anthony LoGerfo on August 7, 2017 at 3:19 pm

    I am in the process of making my audition video. I am a chef and culinary instructor and do weelly appearances on the daytime show here in Tampa. I am not shy, but it’s such a big chance to take. I am definitely over thinking everything. How critical are they?

    • Fitnessista on August 7, 2017 at 9:41 pm

      they’re really low key; just have fun with it! i think it depends on whether you’re the personality there looking for, with the story they’re looking for. just have a solid culinary point of view. you’ll rock it!

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