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article imageSF Bay Area home kitchen experts take shot at cooking immortality

By Nathan Salant     Aug 31, 2015 in Food
San Francisco - Feeding the family isn't only about defrosting or drive-through windows — and certainly not for the dozens of amateur cooks who turned out Saturday to compete for a spot on Fox TV's "MasterChef."
Saturday was an open casting call for the popular television program, now in its seventh season, and dozens of home cooks from all over the region turned out to take their shot at culinary glory at the Parc 55 Hotel in downtown San Francisco.
Every hopeful home chef brought their best dish, already prepared, and were called in groups of 29 or 30 for the opening round of taste testing, according to the San Francisco Chronicle newspaper.
Producers of "MasterChef," which was brought to the United States from England by renowned chef Gordon Ramsay, were responsible for the testing to find the best cooks for Ramsay and fellow hosts Christina Tosi and Graham Elliot.
They couldn't have been surprised by the turnout of more than 200, all vying for an appearance on the show, which is seen worldwide.
The line of contestants carrying plastic bags, coolers, metal pots and Tupperware containers filled with their signature creations — pot pies, pork tenderloins, beef tongue and shrimp skewers, cinnamon buns (yes, desserts, too!), etc., stretched on and on.
Everyone had the same dream.
“I think I could make it; I've been cooking my entire life,” Julie Ferrari of San Ramon told the Chronicle.
“But everyone here probably thinks that,” she said.
Everyone everywhere probably thinks that, would probably be more accurate.
Auditions are being held in countries around the world where the program is shown.
In the United States, auditions are scheduled in Chicago, Louisville, Jackson, New York and Los Angeles in September and October but have already happened in San Diego, Minneapolis, Las Vegas, Detroit, Austin and, today, in San Francisco.
Ramsay's ownership group has 25 restaurants worldwide but are only in three U.S. cities -- New York, Las Vegas and Atlantic City, N.J.
“I’m confident it will go OK, but Gordon can be really intense," Ferrari said.
"I know that from watching the show, and I would be anxious to present something to him,” she said.
Amber Johnson of Port Hueneme in Ventura County even brought her own grill in case she couldn't cook in the hotel to prepare her rib eye steak and green spinach salad for the judges.
“It’s beautiful and colorful when put together,” Johnson said.
"This is uniquely different and very mine,” she told the newspaper.
Seth Hodge of Santa Cruz gathered his strength and picked up his container of pork tenderloin and gravy.
“I’m going to do this,” he told the newspaper.
“If it is supposed to be, it will happen . . . I think it’s going to happen,” he said.
Show producers said they would be contacting contestants who qualify for the next round of auditions.
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