After receiving an email from a friend with the new show, Master Chef’s casting call, I decided why not give it a try! What a wild and crazy ride it was. Here’s a peek into the audition process for a reality TV cooking show.
My first round contact with their people was via email. As you can see, I jumped right in! My initial email to the casting directors was something a little different. Nude Food photographs do get one’s attention.
The story, my story. It’s a rich girl/farm girl story. It’s a contemporary Green Acres, if you will. Growing up on a gentleman’s farm in Georgia led to some impressionable childhood memories for me. My parents’ double lives as doctors and farmers posed many interesting and in most cases, opposing views of society, politics and the food chain. The “kill it, eat it, stuff it” mentality displayed by the good ol’ boys gave me a bracing introduction to the culinary arts. Mix in some forced culture outings to Atlanta and the full social calendar of a nouveau-riche Southerner, and you have the makings for a lifetime of food associations. The struggles between competing associations have been a focus of my life and my art. Getting to the “onion” of it, or the truth of it has been my goal. I’m passionate about my food, about the thought of it, the pursuit and appropriation of it, the care and preparation of it, the sight, smell, and taste of it… simply all of it. As a visual artist, the photograph becomes another way to savor, to consume. After all, photographers are skinners of the visible world.
My name is Cristina Hajosy. I’m a Boston-based photographer and serious foodie. I enjoy creating unique food and wine pairings, exploring international flavors and cooking techniques, and the social connections that come with them. My life as an artist has also centered on gastronomy, with all it’s implications. Both as friend and foe, nurturer and destroyer, food is an obsession. Far more complex than mere nutrition or subsistence, food is my muse. With a lifetime of memories, habits, and cultural cues defining our individual preferences, the possibilities are endlessly revealing. My photography series, Nude Food, shows some examples of my food-related art. Body-food connections are everywhere and everything. They’re intimate, humorous, biblical, disturbing… and wonderful.
Gordon Ramsay’s cookbooks and television series have provided much inspiration and entertainment for me over the years. His personal success and passionate drive are amazing in an industry so riff with failure. I would cherish the opportunity to take master classes from the master chef, himself. I believe I have the fortitude to withstand the rigors that his instruction will undoubtedly bring. I embrace the challenge and the creativity, and I have the drive to see it through.
Their replies, even when in the form of a “form letter” were so exciting. Massive application, background checks, waivers, home video…
“Hello and congratulations for making it to the next step of our casting process!”
My winter 2010 flew by, round after round. Alas, it was not meant to be. No worries, Chef Cristina continues to enjoy her home kitchen. Wining (not whining) and dining her friends and family, and there’s always the hope for a chef’s table experience with Gordon in one of his restaurants someday.
Check out my Signature Dish:
Pecan Panko-Breaded Salmon with Meaux Mustard Cream
Roasted Roots and Sugar Snap Peas & Shoots
For the roots: Sweet potatoes, red potatoes, beets, turnips, carrots, parsnips
Peel and large dice all the roots to the same size cube. Roast each, in a separate dish, at 400° for 1 hour, 15-30 minutes in olive oil with ground black pepper and Kosher salt. Stir and turn the roots every 10 minutes. Make certain the roots are roasted to a dry surface, crispy. Allow to cool completely. Combine all the roots, withholding the beets until the very last step after dressing the roots. Try to keep as little pink bleeding as possible. Dress with a light mixture of 1 Tbs. mango chutney (my own!) and 1 Tbs. high quality balsamic vinegar. Season as needed.
For the mustard cream: Combine 1/4 cup Japanese mayo, 1 tsp. Meaux mustard, 2-3 Tbs. light cream (looking for the right consistency! medium runny), white pepper and Kosher salt to taste. Temperature is good after 2 hours. Otherwise, refrigerate.
For the peas and shoots: Sugar snap peas, tipped and blanched in boiling water for 10 seconds, then allow to cool. Pea shoots, trimmed and rinsed. Just prior to plating the dish, toss both in a light dressing for moisture and seasoning. Dressing – combine 1 Tbs. Herb Mint Glaze (my own!), 1 tsp. rice wine vinegar, 8-10 drops lemon juice, 1/2 tsp. olive oil, and a pinch Kosher salt.
For the salmon: Salmon fillets, skinless and trimmed to an even thickness. Blend the dry ingredients (50%/50% mixture Japanese panko breadcrumbs, ground roasted pecans, Kosher salt and white pepper). Blend egg wash (1 egg white, 1 Tbs. water, 1 Tbs. Meaux mustard, Kosher salt and white pepper.
Only the top of the fillet is to be breaded. Dip the top of the fillet in the egg wash, then in the crumbs, back into the egg wash, and once more in the crumbs. Brown in light canola oil on med. high heat until golden. Flip the fillet, crust side up, onto a baking dish for a finish in the oven at 400° for 7-8 minutes. Check the firmness and/or the bottom for doneness. Medium Rare!