Monday, March 30, 2009

Episode #3 - Desperado

Let's Tarantino this episode and start with Panya and Michael getting the chop. I think the confessionals online really capture how I feel about Panya and her attitude ( The woman is a brick wall in the worst sense possible (Not to be confused with a "brick house" which I would definitely give her credit for if she was). It didn't matter what you were saying to her or how you said it she would just continue right on with the handful of phrases she wanted to communicate: "I'm real" "Respect" "Lets be honest" "Excuse Me". On the flip side, her husband Michael was great! He rocked it in the kitchen, he was a team player, and I'll give him some credit, he was pretty funny too (wanting to call the restaurant "A Taste of Thyme" hilarious)! But as we all learned during the course of things, you choose who you are going to compete on the show with, and if you don't choose wisely that person can bring you (and the team) down big time. 

Things that you didn't see. I came in that morning wanting to resolve things with Panya, talk it out so that we could get through the day. She wanted nothing to do with me and I actually had to give up trying to communicate with her because I couldn't get a word in without her jumping down my throat. So I decided that I was going to let her call the shots, run the show, let her 15 years of experience shine. And she still couldn't tolerate it...she had to keep digging deeper and deeper. I'd ask her if she had time to fold the napkins, her response "YES MOTHER" when she asked if anyone would like to go over her table set up and I said yes, her response "Of course Vanessa has to look over it, she has to be in control of everything" the most amazing thing she said to me that I will never forget was "Vanessa, honey, sometimes when you think you are in control you are really out of control" Unbelievable, the definition of that my friends is projecting. Panya was the most out of control, disrespectful, and dishonest person I have ever tried to work with. And if you know me, you know that I like everyone and hate to argue, so this woman really had to nasty. 

Earlier that day our our team and I separately took Michael aside and basically said listen up, we need to be a team, Panya needs to get it together or we aren't going to win this, and he took her aside and had a long talk with her. After that she proceeded to write her tickets the wrong way after several other dinner services of doing them the same way, she never changed her attitude towards me, and we all saw her loose it during elimination. Like she said, she and Michael were ready to do everything it took to stay on the show, even if that meant looking like a desperate fool and pulling the race card. Rediculous! There are a million movie quotes here that I could use to describe my feeling towards all races (Jerry McGuire is the first that comes to mind) but it really doesn't come down to that. 

Last weeks episode came down to teamwork and being a team player. The first advice Marco gave us out at the food trucks was "Work as a team" and at the end of the day its the truth. Trying to run a restaurant is hard. But trying to run an understaffed restaurant where everyone is eating for free and one of your waitresses is insane is much much harder. 

I'd love to close this with a note about next weeks episode, but I have been informed that TCB has been postponed, and we have no idea how long. I guess the heat in the kitchen just wasn't as hot as some of the American Idol contestants. As soon as I know about the show I will be sure to update everyone. Until then...keep your friends close and get your enemies the F out of the kitchen!!!


Thursday, March 19, 2009

Episode #2 - The Crazy

I think the saying is "if you can't stand the heat get out of the kitchen" and I'm pretty sure there is a similar saying that goes something like "if you are front of house get out of the kitchen" or at least there should be. Why Panya thought she had the right so make such strong accusations about the chefs and their performance after not being the kitchen the entire night, except for when she told the chefs to fire the salads that Michael freaked out about, I will never know the answer. 

Another thing I will never know the answer to is why did the Black team think they had a chance at the decor challenge. I mean come on people, we had a gay guy and a set stylist in the front of house, wave your white flag already. 

But all of those things happened and there is nothing that can be done about them. But that is completely unrelated to what can be said about them....which is quite a bit. Because of editing and time soooo many things were left out of the show this week. Where shall I begin, is it with the "I'm Real" or "Excuse me" or the classic "Respect" that I heard over a hundred times from Panya. the women was a brick wall. It didn't matter how you tried to communicate with her, or what you tried saying, she not only didn't hear it at all she would proceed to go on and on about a million fabrications. I mean talk about kicking your team when its down, the last thing anyone should have done after our elimination was start an argument, but she just couldn't resist. And for someone who spent an hour lecturing all of us about "too many ego's" she was real quick to ignore how large and in charge her own was. Anyways, I could rant and rave about this woman's craziness for hours, but what would I talk about next week right (trust me she only gets crazier). I'd love to see what would happen if Angie and Panya were in an argument. I honestly think it would end in a draw after days and days of nonsense. 

Let me note my favorite moment of Week 2..."maybe they had a kitchen fire...or maybe a bunch of bee's" seriously guys bee's?!?! That's hands down one of the funniest things I've ever heard, love the Dane Cook reference!

With all craziness aside this weeks challenge was amazing. When we were told that we were going to be hosting a private event for Nicole Miller, I could not have been more excited. I not only love her shoes, I love fashion, and she's the queen of fashion. All of Nicole's friends were fantastic, I had a blast chatting it up with them and talking shoes. And I could not have been more flattered with the compliments I was getting on my outfit (pleated mini skirt, button up top, tights, knee high socks, and kitchen clogs) from fashionistas of NYC...such a dream!!!

I think I'm going to end this blog with a catchy phrase...a real classic cliche. I'm going to describe the Chopping Block as a bottle of fine only gets better with time! 

Monday, March 16, 2009

Episode #1 - Survival

As I exhale for the first time since last week I have started to realize what has just happened to me. I, Vanessa Henderson, a small town girl from Nor-Cal (hella cool) was just on national television and not on one of those "we'll put anything on the air" channels (no offense E! I'm sure "Hot Chicks in Scary Places" is getting great ratings) but on NBC, one of the big 3!!! 

People called me last week and were shocked that I'd be answering my calls, especially without the help of an assistant. What did they think I was doing, getting a manicure/pedicure while having someone dictate my current political ideas that I want to be sure and include in my Oscar speech if I ever become and actor who ever won an Oscar? Seriously, reality TV is real! Its filmed when its filmed, and it captures a real moment in real peoples lives, and then afterwards we all go back to the lives we were living before the show. But that's not what I created a blog for, I created a blog so I could give you the details and nitty gritty that was left off camera...the good shit if I do say so myself. 

I titled Episode One "survival" mainly because Kelsey and I survived week one and that point in the show that is all that mattered to us. First of all, let me be frank about this entire experience...nothing was scripted, everything was real and everyone felt the pressure. There were soooo many tasks at hand, no time available and a lot of strange personalities we were forced to work with, and by strange I mean completely crazy! 

Day one: We meet the other couples. Kelsey and I immediately wanted to be on a team with exactly who we were put on a team with (all of the letting people cut in front of me on the freeway, giving up parking spots, and volunteer work paid off). Once we met everyone we were giving our first "Great White Challenge" to get everything we can off of a truck and get it into our restaurants because we were going to be opening our restaurants the next night at 7:00pm for dinner. Now to the audience watching the show at 8:00pm on Wednesdays, they think oh well I could open a place in 24 hours...reality check...we had more like 10 hours to clean, unpack dishes and silverware, remember strangers names, cook, chop, prep, shop, etc. Not a lot of time when you factor in NYC traffic, not having resources to find where to shop and not even knowing where we were in NYC. We might as well have been on an island with the survivor teams. Cut to dinner service. Anapol was the bartender, Panya was the hostess and Mikey & I were waiters. I took the back half of the restaurant and Mikey took the front. Things definitely started out rough, the producers and editors made sure America got a look at that. What America didn't see was that after Lisa laid down the law with me I didn't make another mistake, I rocked the house, and ended up taking some of Mikey's tables towards the end. The most important table I picked up.....the Critics table. And thank the Lord that I did because not only did I get every part of his extremely difficult order perfect, I made eating in our restaurant an experience to remember. I brought life and love to the table...and they ate it up! And I didn't even know there was going to be a food critic, and that it was going to be my favorite customer of the night. 

Cut to elimination...the moment the critic walked into the room a huge smile filled my face, I knew we had it, and I hadn't even seen what happened in the black restaurant. Yes, the desserts were an after thought, most things were as we were all scattering to get things ready for the opening. But with Lisa as head chef and Mikey and I as waiters I knew the night would be a success and it was. Our team worked as a team, we respected each others strengths and weaknesses and we work with them, not against them. I was shocked (well not that shocked given the Mama Tyra and Tyra were on the black team) but for the most part shocked at how much no one wanted to work together on the black team. The first advice Marco had given us was to work together, and Marco doesn't say things unless they should be taken into consideration he is a very intense but very amazing man. 

Although we had passed the first test I knew we had a lot more coming our way, a lot more. And all of the excitement and adrenaline and hard work only made Kelsey and I want it more. All I wanted to do was get back in the restaurant and hear the next challenge....stay tuned....we did ;)