Reality TV star supervises casting for ‘MasterChef’ auditions in ColumbusWritten by Michael Miller | Editor in Chief Emeritus | firstname.lastname@example.org
Erika Landin found reality TV success through appearances on “Big Brother.” She has parlayed that into a career as a casting producer for the genre’s biggest hits: “Survivor,” “The Amazing Race,” “The Bachelor,” “MasterChef” and several others.
Landin will cast kitchen hopefuls for the FOX cooking competition show “MasterChef” at an open casting call from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Oct. 19 in Columbus. The call will take place at the Hyatt Regency Columbus, 350 N. High St.
In its fifth season, the show, hosted by chefs Gordon Ramsay, Graham Elliot and Joe Bastianich, conducts a nationwide search for the best home cooks in America.
Landin, a former Pilates instructor, has been casting the cooking show since its second season; she also cast the current season of “MasterChef Junior.” She said in Columbus she will look for people with a passion for cooking.
“The easiest part of my job is picking the cast,” she said in an Oct. 15 telephone interview from Los Angeles. “We find people who love to cook and we get lucky when their personalities come along with them.”
With such memorable cast members as Season 3 winner Christine Ha, a blind chef, and Season 4’s Krissi Biasiello, who swore and threatened other contestants on her way to the top 10, “MasterChef” has stayed fresh.
“We’re really lucky because a lot of incredible personalities audition and they are great cooks,” Landin said.
The casting producer said she has a team that tastes the food and a separate team that talks to hopefuls and gathers their back stories.
“We pick a top 100 and then those people meet the three judges; Gordon, Graham and Joe then narrow it down.
“MasterChef” held a casting call in Cleveland last year and is making its first stop in Columbus, on a tour that includes New Orleans, Orlando, Chicago, New York City, Los Angeles and five other cities.
“We’re excited to come to Columbus,” Landin said. “We try to have a cross-section of the country, people from all walks of life. We look for people who have never stepped into a professional kitchen. They became lawyers or they cut your grass or they do something else. ‘MasterChef’ gives them a chance to follow their cooking dreams.”
Landin said she is not a foodie.
“I make great reservations,” she said with a laugh. “I’m not much of a cook but I know how to eat really well.”
Although she casts several reality TV shows, Landin said there is no real cross-pollination.
“When I am casting ‘MasterChef’ I may see someone who could work well for ‘The Bachelor’ or ‘Amazing Race,’ but the people who try out for
‘MasterChef’ have a specific passion for food, and this is really the show for them,” she said.
Landin encouraged people with kitchen aspirations to come to the Columbus auditions.
“It’s not like ‘American Idol’ where 25,000 people try out,” she said. “People get intimidated by the name of our show, but we recognize these are home cooks and the journey is about learning. If you’ve ever wondered if you can fulfill that dream, we want you to come out and try.”
For application, instructions, audition guidelines and details, visit www.masterchefcasting.com.