You must guess by now what I’m talking about? Yes!!! I’m talking about the reality show Masterchef Australia. This is the only show apart from Spelling Bee that we, as a family, watch on TV. During the last season, Mantam also watched every episode with keen interest and started giving me comments on every dish I cooked as if they were Gary, George and Matt. What started as fun conversations somehow inspired me to apply for the next season when there were ads asking if you had it in you? On a whim, I sat down to fill up a big questionnaire consisting of 60 odd questions and submitted my application for Masterchef Australia season 9. I had read on one of the previous contestants’ blog that she had applied for consecutive 5 years to get an invitation for the audition. Hence I forgot about the application and went about my life as usual.
To my surprise, in a couple of days when I casually checked my mailbox, I received an invitation to the audition of Masterchef. I couldn’t believe my eyes and I thought I must be hallucinating. In the evening when I reached home, the kids came to hug me as Abbas had told them about the audition. They were super excited. I told them I couldn’t go coz if I got selected then I would have to commit a few months of my life to the show. I was simply not prepared for it at this stage when we have our mortgage on the cards and also no support from family here to help Abbas. Honestly, I was too nervous to go and cook on such a big platform. I cursed myself “What was I thinking when I applied for it in the first place?” Mantam started giving me all the advice that I have raised them with “Mumma, participation is more important. Don’t worry about the results. You must go Mumma” They even started talking about how they will help around the house and began taking up a lot of responsibilities around the house as if preparing for my absence already. I asked them “What if I really go away and when I come back, you all would say that I’m not required here anymore?” They hugged me and assured that it would never happen. Mannu even warned me “Mumma, don’t go and purposely cook bad food so that you don’t get selected and get to be with us.” Tammu asked “ Mumma, do your parents watch Masterchef Australia? If you come on TV they will be able to see you.”
One of my friends H gave me a very practical advice “Don’t worry about crossing the bridge before it is constructed. Just go and gain the experience and have fun.” With Abbas and the kids too motivating me alongside, I replied to the audition invite in affirmative. The first round was to be a Mystery Box challenge. All I had to take with myself was my ID proof. They would provide ingredients under the mystery box and I had to cook a dish which had at least one of the ingredients as the prominent component of the dish. It was a nerve wrecking run up to the audition day as I lost sleep over a few days. I had no idea what would be under the mysterybox and there was no way I could prepare for it. Forget about getting through, all I hoped for is that I don’t make a laughter stock of myself and make something presentable and edible by the end of one hour.
The D-Day came and I went to the audition. The best part was meeting last year’s contestant Jimmy Wong. He chatted with us about how he knew exactly what we were going through and shared his experience. He also motivated us and shared some tips and advice. We were inducted into the professional kitchen and standing in that kitchen was itself like living a dream. There were so many rules around working in that kitchen. There were cameras just like in the actual Masterchef show. When the countdown for 60 minutes started, we were allowed to open the Mysterybox. I had to quickly plan what I would make and get going. I think I was calm and composed and hence was able to coolly put up a dish on the plate at the end of the hour. I had two cuts on my fingers which I had got nursed in between.
When I was called to take my dish for tasting, I was anxious. My fears were completely brushed away with the awesome comments I received. One of the judges asked me for the recipe, the other said that it was one of the best curries in the audition. One judge said that it was the first time ever that she wanted to have the entire plate by herself. I was on cloud nine and it felt surreal. When the judges had tasted all the dishes, four people were selected from our batch and I was one of them. I was asked to come for the second round of audition after two days.
The second round would be to make my signature dish. I was too pumped up from the previous cook that I think I became over confident. I attempted to bring together an unrealistic amount of elements on the plate in one hour. Because I had taken upon myself a lot to accomplish in the limited time, I unnecessarily stressed myself out and made some silly mistakes under pressure. Even before the dish would be tasted by the judges, I kind of had a clue that I had messed up. And their comments confirmed my suspicion. I was disappointed not with the verdict but with myself for having done stupid mistakes and not playing smart in this round. The mistakes I committed kept haunting me for a couple of days. I have come to terms with it now and back to business as usual.
Although I didn’t get through the second audition round, the experience I gained can’t be expressed in words. I am sure to try my skills next year again. I have one year to prepare better and learn new skills, techniques to hone.
I can’t wait already 😀