As a serial reality show contestant, it is my unique opportunity to compare two televised rejections.
In 2008, I was a contestant on The Rachael Ray Show’s “Hey Can You Cook?! 3.” I was booted after over-doing condiments and under-doing bell peppers. It was torture! I know I can cook but I bombed on national television. Painful!
Last night, I was chopped again. I spent almost an entire season schooling college and professional athletes and big, brawny, outdoorsmen in physical challenges. Okay, I was middle of the pack the whole way.
Middle of the pack - until the final five contestants were posed with the challenge of composing a 30 second promo and delivering it in five takes or less. I nailed my second take. Managing to get in another good take, I left knowing I had finally beat the boys at something. I felt good.
So good in fact that when the boys were showering up, getting ready for elimination at the trailhead, I threw on a sweatshirt and rocked out in the hammock.
Later, the judges revealed we were all going to watch each other’s best take. I swelled with pride and excitement. Cameron’s promo was first. Decent, but I felt confident. Tyler was next, and though he took first in the physical challenges, we all knew that promos were not his strong suit. He was told to take a hike.
Although I felt bad for Tyler, I was still wearing blinders just focused on showing off my promo. Jeremy was next. Safe.
My turn. I couldn’t hold back a proud smile. Kristi congratulated me . . . and that was it. No “Safe.” No “Relax, we’re keeping you.” Still, I was not nervous. How could I be after that glittering promo.
Duane’s turn. “You need to relax,” the judges said. I could hear them pounding the nails on his coffin and I felt bad for the guy. He is so knowledgeable and experienced. It was a shame.
Kristi, with a disappointed look on her face turned and said, “Duane . . . you’re safe.”
At this point, we did not know if they were going to eliminate someone or just declare us both safe.
Now it was my turn.
“Lindsey,” said Kristi, “this has been one of the hardest calls we’ve had to make in this competition so far. You’ve been great, but we are going to have to let you go.” A bit confused, I had to ask, “Why?”
Definitely caught off guard, the judges took a little moment to deliberate – a moment you didn’t get to see on the show last night.
Brian Wheeler took the lead and explained that when it comes to experience, I don’t have what it takes. True. Hearing this from someone like Mr. Brian “Tracker” Wheeler, who is the personification of all things outdoors, was easy to swallow.
On day one in front of the judges, to the mini interview with Kristi after putting up the tent earlier that day, I’ve always said that my strength does not lie in vast wells of experience, but in my willingness to jump into northwest adventure like the Average Joe viewer would. That is not the kind of show they were looking for. Fair enough.
Surprisingly, the smile I had upon leaving that night was not forced like the one I wore down the walk of shame on The Rachael Ray Show. I was not disappointed with myself at all.
Watching and reliving that moment again Monday night, I can still say that I am proud of how I competed. I had an absolute blast repelling, navigating, jumping, climbing, kayak rolling, and more. I enjoyed the people. But what I miss most of all was the maid service!
ULTIMATE CHOPPED SLAW
Since being chopped from WANTED: Adventure Host after the Ultimate Challenge, I decided to turn lemons into lemonade. Thus, the Ultimate Chopped Slaw was born – way better than being told to “Take a hike!” This clean eating slaw uses tender, lettuce like Napa Cabbage instead of the traditional green and purple cabbages that we are used to. Instead of a heavy mayo and sugar dressing, this slaw is sweetened with oranges and dried cherries, complimented with the warm crunch of pecans, and finished with a light lemon oil dressing. A sunny slaw to lift your spirits!
1 head Napa Cabbage
4 oranges, peels cut off and cubed
1 cup dried cherries
1 cup pecans, chopped and toasted
3 tbsp olive oil
fresh ground pepper
1. Peel damages leaves from cabbage. Cut cabbage in about ½ inch pieces rather than shredding like traditional slaw, wash and dry. Place in large serving bowl. Add cubed oranges*, dried cherries, and pecans. Squeeze lemons* over salad, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with pepper, and toss to combine.
Serves 4 entrée sized salads
*If serving this salad with pork or chicken, zest oranges and lemons before using for the salad. Sprinkle zest over meat while cooking to carry over the citrus theme and reduce waste.