My name is Jenny Swaim and I am an overeducated, unemployed, twenty-something foodie who has been forced to move back into my parents’ house while I look for a full-time job. Depressed by the never-ending, excruciating process that is job searching, I decided that I needed a productive hobby to distract myself from the fact that I am, apparently, un-hireable (if that’s even a word).

I have always watched these cooking competition shows and wondered what I would be able to do with similar challenges. So, to fill up my free time until I get a job, I have decided to cook my way through the last four seasons of MasterChef. In order to guide me through this journey (and to frankly hold me accountable), I have set the following ground rules for this adventure:

  • I must watch the episode before starting my own rendition of the challenge.
  • I can do research and look at recipes as guidelines for challenges that I do not have previous experience with. However, I cannot follow a recipe completely and must make every dish my own.
  • I do not have to complete the task within the given time constraints but I will time myself and post it here to show how well (or poorly) I would have done.
  • For team or other challenges that don’t necessarily fit this format, I will adapt in a way that I think makes sense. For example, I’m obviously not going to cook and serve lunch to 200 school children or the cast of Glee. But I will make a dish that meets the requirements of the challenge.
  • For skill and other non-cooking challenges (i.e. ingredient identification), I will use the ingredients included in the challenge to create a dish instead.
  • For challenges in which the competitors are given different ingredients to work with, I will use the ingredient that the most chefs are given to cook with. If every contestant is given a different ingredient, I will use the one the winner picks for him/herself, or if the winner does not cook in the challenge, the ingredient that is given to that episode’s “target.”
  • If a challenge requires ingredients that cannot be found in my small, midwestern town (as, unfortunately, Springfield, OH is not exactly a culinary hot spot), I will adapt the challenge to whatever makes sense.
  • And finally, as MasterChef loves to repeat challenges (soufflés and eggs benedict come to mind), I will only redo the challenges that require different ingredients or requirements.

I will post about my experiences here and I will always include recipes, pictures, tips and any fun stories that come about with each challenge. This blog is mostly to keep me accountable for my mission but I also hope to spread my love of food and cooking while I’m at it. So stay tuned and I hope you enjoy reading about my crazy, little culinary expedition.

In the meantime, feel free to follow me @JennySwaim on Twitter and Instagram. Or contact me using the form below.


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