Monday, March 05, 2012

Memoirs of Cookery Contest :)

Well, listening to the emotional melodrama of the participants and the hosts of Master Chef today, it appeared more like any other matinee show than a reality contest. But that didn't stop me from watching. Looking at me nobody would consider me a foodie, and neither I enter my kitchen daily, but there's one thing...when browsing through channels, if I ever came across Khana Khazana, Mallika-E-Kitchen, or anything remotely food, I couldn't help pausing! Hope this theory bit helps when I need to apply this for practical use.

Nonetheless, I have always been experimenting with food, ever since I got deprived of mom's delicacies and entered my hostel. By and large my mess was good, but any-day I would prefer to cook a two-minute Maggi than eat that poisonous 'baigan ki sabji'. And so started the trails to every affordable eating outlet in the city, trying out unknown unseen dishes. And one fine day, with the moral support of my flat-mates, started attempting to cook exotic dishes. So what if it was intended to be 'singhade ki poori' and we ended up eating 'baigan ki pakori', it taught me the art of defect resolution! So much of it, that I can safely call myself a self-proclaimed chef.

So when this cookery contest came up during our cultfest Saarang, I couldn't help putting my foot in it. Guess it was more an urge to meet one of the most famous Indian chefs - none other than Sanjeev Kapoor. And that was my closest real life Master Chef moment!

The rules of the game were simple: selecting one of the three categories - fast food, health food or sweet dish; no heating on flame; just a quick preparation accompanied with a write-up. So we were led to the assortment of the ingredients - what seemed to contain everything under the sun! And hence everyone geared up to prepare something divine to titillate the taste-buds of the judges.

It was one of those Alice in Wonderland occasions. Even before we could take a proper look, and think of what to cook, half the time was over. So we had to rush through picking up whatever we could lay our hands on. Without a particular dish in mind, our task now reduced to churning our basket of items into a concoction of something edible! And we could finally narrow down to one choice - the evergreen 'bhel'. The scene on the other tables was something similar - somebody asking how to cook, somebody secretly borrowing an item from the neighbor that they forgot to pick, some guys crying over chopped onions the way they would never have cried over a blank answer-sheet! Amidst all this, suddenly came a warning-bell, and everybody rushed to complete, decorate, choose a fancy name and prepare an elaborate write-up sounding like a gourmet. Now was the difficult time for the judges. Could see the panic on their face, trying out dishes of the amateur cooks, many of whom had even forgotten to wash the raw food!

The result surprised the makers and the takers alike. A fruit-juice that was popularly nick-named 'quinine' by the junta had won, but then it literally qualified for a 'health drink' :) And even though we couldn't brag a prize, our hour-long effort was gulped and wiped within a minute by the audience. Twas our only claim to fame :)