Last summer we watched a reality TV show called Food Network Star.
I’m not usually a fan of reality TV shows, however, I do enjoy shows that showcase people’s talents. Although I could do without all the drama! One of the contestants in this particular show was from San Diego, where I live. We didn’t realize it at the time, but she owns a restaurant in the neighborhood I grew up in, called The Trails Eatery. We had actually tried The Trails (before we saw the show) because I was told they offer an extensive gluten-free menu. After trying the gluten-free pancakes I was hooked, and we’ve been back for breakfast many times.
So, imagine our surprise when we discovered this was the restaurant owned by the San Diego Food Network Star contestant, Stacey Poon-Kinney. Apparently she was shooting the show when we visited the restaurant so we never saw her there.
Last week we took my parents there for dinner.
The show has long since wrapped, and to our surprise Stacey delivered us our dinner. She also took the time to chat, and offered to send out any dessert we wanted, as she noticed we were celebrating some birthdays. She was bubbly, friendly, and seemed very genuine. I couldn’t help but think back to the way she was portrayed on the show. She was not made out to be likable. Rather, she was often criticized by the judges for coming off as fake and too “canned.” After meeting her in person, I think she was probably just being herself. She clearly loves running her restaurant, and serving people. She was all smiles the entire time she spoke to us, even when she relayed a story about a series of misfortunes in her restaurant, and her disappointment in not winning the show (although she also said in hindsight it was a blessing).
More proof reality TV isn’t real.
This encounter further solidified for me that the people and situations portrayed on reality TV are manufactured. They’re designed to create a good story line. To create drama. To create “characters” for us to love, and even some to hate.
While Stacey told us she’s glad she experienced the show, she also shared it was one of the hardest things she’s ever done. I imagine part of that difficulty must have been watching herself being portrayed as disingenuous when she was just being who she is.