I am often asked how the Food Network found me. I have no idea, but I am glad they did!

Chef-Dell-Silohuette-Food-Network-ChoppedI was working for the esteemed law firm, Marquis Aurbach Coffing, cooking lunch for all of the attorneys and staff, when the phone rang. Needless to say, I was shocked to hear that it was a representative of the Food Network asking me if I would be interested in competing on Chopped. It took me all of half a second to respond with a resounding, “YES!”

After running about like a little kid and jumping around in excitement, I managed to compose myself and finish out the day, barely. That evening, I filled out the application as requested. Right off the following morning, I received a call from the casting team in New York requesting that I make a trip to Los Angeles for an on camera interview the following weekend. After talking to my wife, Leah, we decided we would do anything they asked. I was not about to miss out on this! We packed a couple of bags and made the four-hour drive to Los Angeles. We arrived about an hour early to allow time for me to calm down from all the excitement and compose myself for the interview.

Chef-Dell-Food-Network-Chopped-2My appointment was set in a building full of the offices of famous producers and production companies. It was an awesome feeling to walk through the halls and see the posters of well-known shows and all of the names on the doors and know that I was possibly starting down a path that might one day put my face on one of those posters. When I finally arrived at my assigned room, I was greeted by one of the producers and given some paperwork to fill out.

I had about a fifteen minute wait for my turn, as there were other chefs being interviewed the same day. I could hear some of the interviews happening beyond the doors behind me. As you can imagine, that got my nerves going. While I sat and filled out the paperwork, I prayed. I prayed a lot! Soon the door opened, and the previous chef walked out. I wished him luck as he headed off down the hall. Then, I heard the sweet words I had been waiting for, “Phillip! Come on in; you’re next.”

Game time, I thought to myself. I walked into the room where I saw the camera and audio equipment, a small stool for me to sit on, and two people one was the producer and the other was controlling the audio.

The interview started, and I was asked a series of questions about everything from my personal life to a request for me to describe a couple of food dishes. I remember the producer saying to me, “Wow, you are glowing and are so animated when you talk about food.” What she didn’t know is that I could feel the “Holy Ghost goose bumps” the whole time I was in there. This feeling assured me that God was guiding the interview and that I shouldn’t worry. When the interview was over, the producer explained to me that, unfortunately, she would not be the one making the decision, but a team of producers back in New York would decide on the final lineup. And, it would take more than three months before I would hear anything.

What?! I have to wait that long?! Oh man, this is going to drive me nuts, I thought.

I walked out of that room feeling as though I had done a good job, but that didn’t stop me from analyzing my comments and thinking to myself, I should have said this…I should have said that. But, in the end, I knew it was all in God’s hands.

Weeks and months went by, and I still hadn’t heard a word. Many times I would say to myself and Leah how I wished they would call. What if they don’t choose me? Will I even know? So, I waited…and waited. Then one day, I was once again cooking for clients when I received the coveted email telling me I had been selected.