Everything started with one text message. A friend sent me an SMS asking if I’d like to try and audition for Masterchef Pinoy Edition. Knowing my own capacity, I decline the invitation right away and encouraged her to try out instead. Being a huge fan of my friend, Abby Baino’s mouthwatering and to-die-for dishes, I knew she had a bigger chance to pass the said screening. In the end, I’ve offered to support her in her goal and promised to accompany her to the actual audition.
|The thousands who audition for the Masterchef Pinoy Edition at Oceana.|
The minute we arrived at Oceana, we were surprised to see more than 1,000 people waiting for their turn to be interviewed. Abby was 1,834th applicant! How could that be, the audition was supposed to start from 8AM until 3PM? And when we arrived, it’s only around 9AM—that only meant that as early as say 5AM, there were people lining up already! I wonder what will happen to those applicants whose food spoils while they were waiting for their turn? What about those participants who came all the way from Baguio, Batangas, and Pampanga? What if they finish so late in the evening, how are they going to return home? But just as expected, everyone waited for their turn and chance at the said audition.
|Some lucky applicants were even asked on camera why they wanted to join the contest.|
There were people from all walks of life—simple ones, those that looked like they came out of society pages, “character” ones, and those that were just there for the buzz (well, that includes me, right?)
|Applicants all holding out their specialty dish as they await in line.|
So what were the qualifications of the Masterchef Pinoy Edition:
You must be 18-50 years old
No culinary degree or diploma
No cooking experience in a restaurant (casual and fine dining)
No teaching experience in a cooking class or demo
And bring your specialty dish (any dish will do!)
When Abby saw how many people were there, there was a little voice inside her who wanted to back out. But I told her, since we’re already at the venue, we might as well persevere and try her luck. It’s a whole lot better to have tried than think about later what could’ve been. And we both persevered. We waited from 9AM until past 5PM for Abby’s turn to face the chef judges. We had skipped our lunch and almost dehydrated ourselves to death. We kept our fingers crossed and hoped for the best.
|Ms. Dulce Agrabioso holds her dish with another applicant and my friend Abby ( far right) holding her pasta.|
|Abby proudly holding her specialty and own recipe Italian-inspired pasta dish.|
|Sophia Loren de Al Torno pasta--Abby Baino's gets the judges' nod with this delish recipe.|
My friend Abby brought along with her an Italian-inspired specialty dish called Sophia Loren de Al Torno pasta. It is a fusilli pasta dish infused with the refreshing zest of lemon, chunky tuna with Italian parsley, thyme, garlic and drizzled with olive oil. Abby named it before her favorite Italian actress named Sophia Loren. It looks pretty simple yet when you taste the said dish, it’s really refreshing but never overpowering. It had the perfect balance of flavor, texture and taste. It actually cleanses the palate. And I am not saying this just because Abby is my BFF. I am praising her recipe and specialty dish because it really was delicious and quoting what the judge chef said, “This dish is very refreshing!”
|Abby answers the questionnaire carefully.|
Later, when we heard her number called, I had given her thumbs up sign. Tears had started to well up into my eyes, I’m so happy for my friend. But I had to hold my tears back because I do not want the crowd to see how softie I really am inside.
|Other applicants making finishing touches in their plating before presenting them to the judges.|
Soon, Abby and the rest of those who passed the first screening had to answer several sheets of paper with different questions. Then, they proceeded to a one-on-one interview with someone from Mastercher Pinoy Edition. It’s really a long, tiring process. The next thing I knew, it was already dark and we were able to finish around 9PM.
|Next screening process: one-on-one interview.|
|Past 5PM. It's almost dark, yet Abby's line hasn't moved until 9AM.|
Yes, my friend Abby was able to pass the said grueling screening and audition with flying colors. We did not expect that although we do hoped and prayed for God’s will. But that’s not the end of her journey though, but it’s only the beginning. For in the next few weeks or months, she will again undergo other screening, and hopefully, she could make it until the last where she had to allot 6 to 15 weeks of taping for the Masterchef Pinoy Edition on ABS-CBN to be hosted by Judy Ann Santos-Agoncillo.
To my good friend, Abby, here’s hoping you could make it to the top finalists. I’m with you all the way, dear. Good luck and my prayers are with you! Keep it up and congratulations! I am so happy and proud of you! J