One of the next steps of the MasterChef process is to write a bio about yourself in the third person. I’m uncomfortable talking about myself period let alone using the royal we! But I did it, the following is me – talking about me.
Bio for MasterChef
Rachel is a 29 year old Accountant from San Francisco, living in Mountain View – the heart of Silicon Valley. Her audition piece is called Juxtaposition Soup. The juxtaposition comes from the clever use of two key ingredients: nasturtium (a common wild flower seldom used by cooks) and white truffle oil (a highly sought-after, expensive, gourmet item). The inspiration for this soup came from an interview in Alice Waters’ biography in which Alice mentions the use of nasturtium in soup, but does not give a recipe. Rachel sought out to reinvent the mystery recipe and quickly ran to her garden to harvest nasturtiums. The result was a unique and complex soup that has become one of her signature dishes.
Rachel has a very diverse cooking repertoire reflecting her own cultural background and that of her surroundings. Rachel believes that food should come from the heart and finds the most joy in cooking for the ones she loves. Rachel strives to create a feeling of warmth, love and belonging in her meals, to inspire a feeling of “home”, no matter where home might be. She examines comfort foods from all over the world, and finds similarities in dishes like soups, pasta and dumplings.
Rachel relishes the ample supply of fresh local ingredients in the Bay Area. She often challenges herself to think outside the box by finding ingredients she has never used, and then creating a mini Iron Chef challenge requiring her to showcase those ingredients in her next dish. This experimental attitude has been a constant in Rachel’s cooking style. She considers herself self-taught, citing inspiration from TV personalities like Martin Yan and Julia Child, and from watching her mother. Rachel started cooking early on, experimenting with ingredients like some children would play with a chemistry set. When her parents separated, Rachel volunteered to take on the responsibility of cooking for the family, applying what she learned from TV and her creative instinct.
Rachel’s first apartment was in San Francisco’s Tenderloin District. The Tenderloin is a notoriously bad part of town, but Rachel joined the close-knit community in her building, and soon, her extended family, friends, lovers and neighbors were all benefiting from her “feed the ones you love” philosophy. The apartment was also only a few blocks away from the San Francisco Culinary Academy. Rachel shared recipes and techniques with the students that lived in her building, and many nights became impromptu potlucks in the hallway, especially around finals time.
Although Rachel considers herself agnostic, she enjoys the tradition of meals in her Jewish heritage. One such tradition is the setting of an extra place at the table for Elijah during the Passover seder. Rachel takes a less literal interpretation of this tradition by keeping an open plate policy for her friends and family.
Rachel has worked in real estate, advertising, education, construction and design. Currently, she is an accountant at a Silicon Valley startup. The trade of accountancy demands very little creativity, so she finds her creative outlet writing her food blog: geekchef.wordpress.com. Recently she started to feel like her job was wasting her creativity, and decided to start focusing more on her artistic pursuits. Rachel has recently begun marketing herself, turning Geek Chef into a brand-name instead of just a hobby. She sells prints, accessories, and epicurean delights in internet marketplaces such as Etsy and Cafepress. The casting call for MasterChef came with fortuitous timing; Rachel has always hoped she could find a career that utilizes her passion for cooking. She hopes MasterChef will teach her the skills she needs to follow her dreams.
When asked what her secret weapon will be if she makes it on the show, she answers with a shrug, “I guess it’s my heart. I love to cook and I want this with all my heart. I appreciate that all the contestants have the same love as me and I have no wish to ‘beat’ them, I want us to grow and learn together, with any luck I will excel and be rewarded.” Her answer fits her personality and comes off charming and genuine.