“Back to Reality” 3.21.11: It’s great to see everyone again. We’ve heard through the grapevine who’s in and who’s out of the competition. When I walk into the hotel lobby — a different hotel that we had previously stayed at… I’m immediately greeted by a table of friends. They’re eating lunch and I’m starved, but seeing them is awesome. I sit and order a crappy pizza that takes forever to come… no worries though, we’ve got lots of catching up to do.
Outside of the competition, these are really amazing people. Casting did a great job finding everyone. Now that the pressure of challenges and winning has been removed it’s clear that we all share a very strong bond. Although I have never served in the military (thank you to you if you have) I can only imagine that the bond the former contestants and I share is similar to what soldiers feel. While we didn’t risk our lives for our country, we did place our heart and soul on the chopping block only to be ripped apart by the judges in most cases. It’s umlikely that anyone who wasn’t on the show will ever know this feeling… our loved ones, family, and friends just won’t understand.
After the sub-mediocre lunch, Ben Starr and I finish his bottle of scotch and catch up. It feels good, like we’re re-capping the signature dish days again. I’m happy for my old roomie to have made it further than I did, he’s an amazing guy.
Later that night, most of us go out to dinner at Susan Fenniger’s STREET restaurant. It was REALLY good. The kitchen prepared a 10 course tasting menu for our table, we shared a meal family style and the drinks cost more than the $30 meal. Again, the camaraderie during dinner is amazing. People that I didn’t like while I was competing against them are actually really cool. I suppose that I’m a bit different now too- less guarded, amazing how even the thought of $250,000 can change people:)
That night, one of many late nights that week, everyone meets in Ben’s room for … more drinks… this IS Hollywood after all right?at At about 2pm, it’s Jennie Kelley, Ben, Dustin & Joey, and I in the room. I never really got to know either Dustin or Joey but they have us all laughing hysterically! After all of our stomachs hurt from laughing so much, Dusitn and Joey call it a night leaving the 3 Texans. We discuss the crazy experience we’ve had so far and speculate as to what will happen once the show airs… We’re all hopeful and excited about the opportunities that will come from out 15 minutes. At around 3am, I walk Jennie back to her room and call it a night. Good thing call time isn’t until 1:30am tomorrow!