Fork in the road
An MBA student searches for the best recipe to become a star TV chef.
Stir together Julia Child, a touch of Amy Poehler and a vintage-apron collector and you have 29-year-old cooking-show hopeful Dora Villarosa. A keen ability to pen goofy rhymes (poems, raps, etc.) not only landed her in the MBA program at the University of Chicago but also in the running for reality TV show The Next Food Network Star.
Three years ago, after receiving a callback for a second round of auditions, completing a 15-page test chock-full of food-related trivia questions such as the proper method of storage for fresh mussels, clocking impromptu camera time and submitting a home video in which she raps with a fork and grill, Villarosa was cut before the final round of auditions.
“They don’t call you or e-mail you or anything to say, ‘Thanks for trying.’ So, there’s always this hope that maybe they’ll call one day. Maybe they’ll need a blond next season,” the former high-end retail associate explains.
Though she’s yet to receive such a call, Villarosa’s dreams have not completely disappeared. “The thing about the [audition] is it gave me the opportunity to get my name and face out there. As someone who doesn’t have professional experience and wants a job talking about food, it gives me a good deal of credibility just to say I was called back.”
Meanwhile, she’s running a small catering business through her website, doravillarosa.com, and plans to put her forthcoming business degree to good use by building her brand as the next big culinary expert. Of course, she still hasn’t given up hope on the reality-show front either. “There’s this new network called the Cooking Channel, so I’ve been e-mailing them and sending them stuff and hoping one day they’ll bite.”