I hate cooking.

And anyone, who knows me at all, can attest this to be nothing but the truth. But you know how they say genes skip a generation, right? So, ya, in short, the princess loves the kitchen and all that comes with it, making her maternal grandma weep tears of long-lost joy. And this phase, I believe, began around three years ago when she first chanced upon an episode of MasterChef Australia. Needless to say, she was hooked, booked and cooked. And since we follow the ‘one TV for the home’ rule ( No separate television sets in our bedrooms), the husband and I got pulled into watching it as well. As MasterChef Australia progressed, it translated into family time for us, with Gary Mehigan, George Calombaris and Matt Preston pretty much our ‘new-found cousins’. We followed their escapades all through the contestants’ journeys. We were intrigued by the approach to the recipes, the well stocked market-place, the challenge of the timer, the final plating, the stress of delivering a good dish, the anxiety of  the outcome with the final tasting, and the immunity weapons. Phew! Yes, well, we were hooked, booked and cooked, too (metaphorically, of course) across the seasons.

Then when Junior MasterChef happened, the princess graduated to making gooey brownies, and instant cakes in a CUP. They are different from cup cakes, she tells me with a roll of her eyes. Her breakfast and snack concoctions were lip smacking as well. She loved experimenting, and I have to admit, knew much more in this sector than I ever hope to. The pride that I saw in my mother’s eyes is something I have never witnessed in my lifetime. They went on from sharing recipes to borrowing ingredients and being on speed dial for a ‘dish in progress. I was not consulted and nothing could make me happier. Who wishes to chart routes on unfamiliar territory? Life was good as we knew it, until last Saturday when the princess spotted this.

Royal Cooking MasterChef Style at the Royal Palms

The billboard might as well have been the map to the Holy Grail. The princess, along with her equally enthusiastic girlfriend, went all girly (read loud screams) when they saw the ad. It was a culinary event, pretty much in our backyard, with the 4 finalist chefs from Master Chef Australia 2014. After some chain reactions of OMGs, and before we could say Gary, George or Matt, the girls were scheduled to attend a cooking demonstration with Renae Smith and Laura Cassai on Sunday afternoon, January the 18th, 2015. God bless online booking forums, and school gate moms who step in when you need them the most. Preeti, Je t’aime toujours.

Well, the event flow showcased cuisines from different countries, by way of an Entree, Main Course and Dessert in the preparation menu. The audience was welcome to experience, learn and interact with the chefs in the house. The girls could barely contain their excitement. All through the event, I am told, they scribbled down some illegible notes, as they tried to keep pace. Of course, the event was just a ruse really, to meet the two lovely ladies. And then, as slowly as time could turn around the still digits of the clock, it did. Finally, it was TIME.

The princess got to meet Renae and Laura. She was totally smitten by Laura, and asked if she could hug her. Laura, ever so gracious, went on to give her a big bear hug and took some snapshots as well. The delight on the princess’s face is unmistakable, and there for all to see. What was even more awesome was that Laura and Renae liked her post on Instagram. Oh boy, we were over the moon for the next day and a half. Ask her what she remembers of the afternoon and she replies ‘Mom, it was one of those awesome moments in life’. And don’t we remember such moments, specifically, at any point of time? The recipes are safely tucked in her scrapbook, just as the memory is in her heart.
MasterChef Australia Contestants

In other news, Masterchef India – Season 4, the desi version starts today with Chef Sanjeev Kapoor, Chef Vikas Khanna (awwwwww) and Chef Ranveer Brar. I’ve had the good fortune of meeting two of the three judges, and I can vouch for the fact that the contestants are being honed by the best in the food industry. This season is an entirely vegetarian fare, and it is going to be interesting to see what the contestants come up with, limiting as the choices are. Or are they? Only one way to find out. Tune in to Star Plus at 10.30 pm if food occupies prime time in your life.

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