Well, it’s all over. And, I didn’t win. Womp, womp.
But, hey, it’s ok!
When Bob Tuschman opened the red envelope and announced that I had come in third, Emma immediately ran over and threw her arms around me. If you watch my lips closely, you can see me whisper to her, “It’s all good!”
Because, it really is.
If you asked me a few weeks ago how I would feel coming in third place, my answer would have probably been “devastated.”
But surprisingly to myself, and to many others, I’m not.
Not even close.
Going through this competition was incredibly challenging, and watching the events unfold again each week was just as hard. Which is exactly why now that it’s over, all I feel is a beaming sense of pride and gratitude.
There is just so much for me to be proud of, and grateful for.
Like, dude, I made a PILOT! And it wasn’t half bad!
I’m proud of how I threw caution to the wind, made an audition video, and actually got on the show in the first place.
I’m proud of how I handled myself, and how I brought positive attention to the Jersey shore, Atlantic City, Coastal Cuisine and girls everywhere who suffer from resting bitch face.
I’m proud of how I looked my fears in the eye, faced them, and overcame.
I’m proud of how much I’ve grown, and how much I’ve learned, in such a short amount of time.
I’m proud of how I stayed true to myself, and how I was able to put aside the competition in order to form true, meaningful friendships.
I’m grateful to have had the opportunity to present myself and my food to the world.
And I am so unbelievably grateful for all of my friends, family, fans, clients and community for supporting me all along the way.
How you climb up the mountain is just as important as how you get down the mountain, and, so it is with life, which for many of us becomes one big gigantic test followed by one big gigantic lesson. In the end it all comes down to one word, Grace. It’s how you accept winning and losing, good luck and bad luck, the darkness and the light.
In case you were wondering, yes, that came straight from a perfume bottle.
Philosophy released their fragrance, Amazing Grace, right around the time my mom passed away, and my Aunt Angela, her only sister, gave me a bottle as a gift.
My mom’s name was Grace, and it was fitting, because she was the most graceful woman on the planet. And she was totally amazing, to boot.
The perfume is gentle, elegant and light, just like her. I wear it all the time, and the quote on the bottle is a constant reminder of how to carry one’s self when situations don’t always go in your favor.
Always move forward with Grace.
Losing my mom to ALS was the biggest, most difficult test in my life, but it was followed by the greatest lesson. A lesson that so many people are never fortunate enough to learn:
Life can be gone in a second. So take risks, face fears, and always find the good in everything.
I looked in the mirror Sunday night and asked myself, “Am I better off now than I would have been if I had never done this show?”
The answer, without question, is yes. There is so much good that has come out of this whole thing already, and I am beyond grateful to have had the experience.
Food Network Star was just another test in my life, appropriately followed by yet another life-changing lesson:
Always be yourself, no matter who’s watching. Never be afraid to mess up, or to show your flaws. It’s what makes us human.
And that’s exactly why the gourmet cowboy was able to take this one home. He didn’t win because he was perfect. He won because he allowed America to see his goofy side, his flaws, and his bare, “creamy” chest. Perhaps, if only I had only shown my bare chest, I might have won instead. Sadly, we’ll never know.
But seriously, my cowgirl hat is off to Lenny for winning this whole thing. He is a born entertainer, and a very talented chef. He gave this grueling competition his absolute all, and I couldn’t be happier for him. Congratulations buddy!!
As for Mr. Della Casa, he should be incredibly proud of himself, too. Having been eliminated early on, then battling through Star Salvation, and coming back stronger than ever, Luca proved to everyone that he was more than just dimples and an accent. He is as genuinely charming in person as he is on TV. And his “good guy’ factor goes up even more when he starts talking about how much he loves his wife and 4 dogs at home. And after finally meeting his wife Marcella in person last week, I can totally see why.
So, what’s next for me…
Well, first? A little break. I’m taking some much needed time for myself.
That’s right! Me time = good time, and it’s long overdue. Summers spent working at the Jersey shore are ALWAYS busy, but this summer has been especially nutty. I’m taking some time to center myself, tend to my garden, get back on my paddle board, and spend a few lazy days on the beach with friends.
But after that, I can’t wait to get back to creating new recipes, and of course, sharing them all here on toofullforschool.com. I would love to write a series of cook books, and heck, maybe even one day still land my own show. I have so many ideas and tips that I’m just dying to share. Stay tuned!
But perhaps the most exciting project on the immediate horizon, is our kitchen. In just a few days, my hubs and I will be ripping out all the cabinets, floors, appliances and counter tops that haven’t been updated since 1987. And we’ll be replacing them all with a Chaser Gaffney Architecture design that’s gonna be straight up baller status. I’m pumped.
When the whole project is finished, it’s going to be the perfect back-drop for filming fun and informative how-to cooking videos. And who knows, maybe even Emma Frisch will stop by to cohost.
To all of my fans that have supported me along the way, you know who you are, and I thank you from the bottom of my heart. Don’t be sad! This is only the beginning, and I can’t wait to see what other tests and lessons life has in store.
It’s ALL Good.