CHOPPED is the #1 Food Network Show. It is the scariest food game on the planet and I got to play! How did I ever get to be a CHOPPED CHAMPION? It started with a resolution to follow in William’s light. To have courage and commit to something so outside the comfort zone that the fight or flight impulse takes over. Luckily the parachute opens and I skillfully float through 3 rounds of the most exciting cook-off of my life all the while celebrating those I love most. The Best Chopped Champion Whoosh Moments begins.
Taking this risk feels like I am jumping out of a plane, but I have my Caitlin’s support all the way. Her confidence in me makes my heart swell. She brings me practice Chopped baskets and encourages me to watch YouTube videos on how to filet a fish and clean a soft-shell crab. She agrees to film with me, which by the way is waaaaay outside her comfort zone. More then ever I am determined to make her proud.
Doing the show is a life-changing event not because I win (although that is pretty bad-ass if I do say so myself), but because it makes me a believer in a spiritual world that will always keep William and I connected. It is a moment in my grief that allows me to take a giant leap forward. Unimaginable, amazing and priceless, it’s all about the WHOOSH.
The first WHOOSH moment happens during my Skype casting interview. As I am showing off my Sweet William’s Spirited Chocolate Chip Cookies and explaining how William comes to me in the shape of a heart, the two interviewers suddenly stop me in mid-sentence and say, “You are not going to believe this, but the way we see you through the computer–right now– there is a reflection off the window over your head in the shape of a heart”. My response—“Oh, that is just William cheering me on!”
Appearing on CHOPPED is an adrenaline rush; my version of extreme sports. Ted Allen is about to say, “Open Your Baskets”. My heart is racing and I feel like I want to throw up, but as the saying goes…”never let them see you sweat”. The competition begins and in an instant a calm comes over me. I am cooking…. just cooking…Zen mode. My therapy! A pressure cooker of fun.
Fast forward to the final round. As I am looking at my dessert WHOOSH moment #2 occurs. Suddenly, I feel a loving bear hug as if someone from behind has wrapped his or her arms around me. I want to cry because I know he is here. I am hugging him back and there is no doubt in my mind that William is with me cheering me on. OMG is this really real? Needless to say I “Willed it” and I CHOPPED it. I feel so very proud of myself.
As I enter the sequester room, there is a young woman seated in the corner who has been “our mom” through out the duration of the competition. She has tended to our every need. Earlier in the day I asked her about the beautiful tattoos on her forearms. I don’t ever see her shoulders until now—as I enter the room as the CHOPPED CHAMPION…she rolls up her sleeve to scratch her shoulder and there it is…the most beautiful tattooed HEART I have ever seen. WHOOSH #3—goose bumps x 100. William is proud of me, too.
Yes, I believe! And for every mom out there who has ever lost a child I hope you believe, too. Find your path. Celebrate all your children. Love them like there is no tomorrow. Happy Mother’s Day.
I read this and cried. There is no stopping you now. And let me tell you how beautiful that picture is of your kids
A giant step forward
Oh Lisa, I want to comment on this but it seems like words will diminish my feelings. The show was a heartstopper. I was on the edge of my seat. Now the world will know the person we’ve been so inspired by for all these years. <3 WHOOSH!
Thank you Ellen. YOU inspire me and your comments mean the world.
As my tears continue to well up..your words are like magic Lisa…you have found your path and your stride; William is by your side. You are a gem who’s shine brings such hope and love to all who know you. I am honored and humble by a person with incredible integrity. You are the star in Williams light.
You are a great friend and very lucky to have you in my life. Can’t wait to bring my shine to Nantucket
We can’t either…we are so honored you will be there for us.
In the Cathy Olsen dictionary there is a notation with the definitions of “courage” “strength” “grace” “class” that says “see Lisa Keys” and for the definition of “Whoosh” it says “see William Keys”. I am proud to be your friend. Pennies and Hearts give us Peace and Hope…
Thanks, my friend
Just wanted to say congratulations! We cheered you on from our living room, but you had wonderful competition, too, and we were kind of rooting for everyone (which doesn’t happen all that often). Thank you for the inspiration and bravery, Lisa. You totally rock.
Thanks for such kind words. I very much appreciate it.
You’re my hero, and I know William is your light. My mother is my angel and my connection and my inspiration in my cooking – I lost her when I was a very young woman, and she was 52. When I turned 52 it was as if she told me to “go find your dreams” and “use me for your inspiration.” And so I did. Always looking for the signs, my eyes and heart wide open. I always get them in every single moment, like the heart. Mine are in forms of numbers on a clock and butterflies and random pieces of handwritten paper, etc. You know what I mean. In loving spirits of William and Earline, we cook on and forge on. Love you Lisa! You are not only my Chopped Hero, but you are my hero in life, following William’s lead.
I think William and Earline are holding hands up in the air cheering us on!
Louis Matino (@LouMatino)
You were awesome last night! Can’t wait to watch it again after work!
Thanks–really was a blast
You are amazing! Loved watching you and so proud and happy for you! I know William is proud of you too! You are truly an inspiration. Hugs to you my friend! 🙂
Thanks, Lisa. Hugs back at ya.
You leave me speechless, Lisa. Congrats on your win. And thank you for your inspiration.
means a lot coming from you
Dear Lisa, I am so proud of you and there’re no words to describe how much your words touched my heart. Miss you in this corner of Connecticut.
Hi Nikoo-so happy you found me. Best to your family!
Oh Lisa, I am so proud of you. Though we have never met I know you through the cooking competitions and Facebook. I hope you experience a lifetime of Woosh”es
Thanks, Nadine. Whoosh moments are the best!
Marion Hart (Mary's Mom)
Congratulations Lisa! Watched you on Chopped last night and you were fabulous! You took command right from the start, truly as your son used to say, that you were a “bad ass” in the kitchen. He had to be watching you from Heaven above and feeling all of your love. Wishing you all the best and hope you have a wonderful time in Italy with your family.
Thanks for watching and for taking the time to stop by and visit here. Your grandchildren, Abby and Martin bring such joy into my life and yes, Paul and Mary, too 🙂
This is beautiful Lisa. Congratulations again! It was so exciting seeing you do your thing and win!
Thanks Kadija–it is great to be supported by my best foodie friends
Tears are streaming down my cheeks. Bravo to you, Lisa. Bravo to Caitlin and Will. I can picture him running around my yard in Maine when you came for a visit. Hope you can come again.
Oh for the good old days–I miss him very much and would love to see you some time
You are one amazing lady, Lisa! You are a class act and multi talented lady! I had chills as I watched you win from under the covers of my bed….you were so inspiring! Enjoy your moment of fame, and your family trip to Italy! I will look forward to seeing the photos!
Thanks for staying up so late and glad you enjoyed the show. I really had fu Italy is not until 2015
Congratulations on your Chopped win! How wonderful!
Thanks so much-it was a blast
Lisa, Lisa, you are a strong woman, I am so proud of you. Again, congrats on your win, you have wonderful opportunities, grab them cause we’re all rooting for you and you are ripe for more!
Well I sometimes believe that I am stronger than I think–and hearing William’s voice telling me to be brave–don’t know what the next hurdle will be but I am jumping over it
Maureen McMenaman Keys
Lisa, you have a gift you must continue to share. We, – Adam, Heather, and Jared, all watched the show and relived many precious memories of family get togethers… congratulations! You soo deserve it!!!
so glad you all gathered together to watch your old auntie—fun times!
You freakin’ rock, you Bad Ass! XXXOOO XXXOOO
Again, congrats to you, Lisa, and Happy Mother’s Day to you.
Thanks and Happy Mom’s day to you, too
I think you , me and Cat would make a bad-ass cooking team
Congratulations Lisa! Ev gave me your info. I am Carmine’s girlfriend. Watched Chopped for the first time last night to see you become the well deserved Champion :). So happy for you and inspired by your bravery and spirit. Enjoy your blog – Tks for sharing
Thanks Carol. Glad you enjoyed the show
Who knew that little Lisa Marie Matino Keys had the “chops” to be such a champion?
Of course Bill, Cait and William always believed. Now all of us have been inspired to believe that facing our challenges makes us stronger. You CHOSE a path… without looking back… laid out your fears, hopes, dreams, failures and success (as well as some darn good recipes). And that path you took is, and will continue to be, life changing. So cheers to you, my sweet Italian ass kicker…. forever a Chopped Champion! Happy Mother’s Day.
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference
(from The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost)
PS: Caitlin, Thank you for holding your mama up and being on camera. You looked absolutely gorgeous, the camera loves you and I think you should apply for a job at CNN.
Oh, boy you are making me cry, but it is true–facing our fears is the way to get through the adversity. The strength comes from friends like you that make us believe we can do it. Happy Mother’s Day back at you.
love from Katrina
What a beautiful story. I love the Skype story!
I know very little about technology so when they said there was a heart over my head I actually looked up to find it (LOL). WHOOSH!
Congratulations, Lisa! I was rooting for you the whole way. (Cookies are a dessert!). I still use some of your recipes from the Cooks Forum.
Oh, my Goodness–Shirley is it really you!!! Thanks for being here and glad you enjoyed the show. xoxo
What a blessing to have those Whoosh moments. It was wonderful watching how you reached out to the women you were competing with. What an inspiration. God bless you, Lisa.
Yes…without the Whoosh…don’t know where I would be. Thanks for commenting!!
Wow! From the Taft rib grilling contest to chopped!!!! So very proud of you!!!!!
Love, love, love your blog.
Sending hugs to one of the BEST mothers I know…You go girl!
I always win when William is involved. So glad you are here Deb cheering me on as always
Lisa, this was so inspirational to read! Congratulations on your big win. 🙂
Thanks for stopping by. Being on CHOPPED really was a life-changing experience…and I am not talking about the 10K!