Jul 24, 2011 admin
Thank God it’s over. I speak, of course, of Master Chef that reality television phenomenon that for some of us came far too close to reality itself.
You see, I’m the ‘babbling brook’ at our place; have been for the last few years while writing full time. It’s no hardship. In fact I quite enjoy planning the menu, shopping among friends at Coolamon Court and taking my time over the preparation each evening.
Or I did till Master Chef came along.
The change occurred slowly. At first my dear wife and I would chuckle over the foul-ups as Alvin or Luke went haywire (or Jimmy did yet another curry). And when they were doing an elimination test, we’d shout, ‘No, they’re chestnuts!’ or , ‘It’s saffron, saffron!’ with the rest of the country.
But then, when I dished up my latest creation of stew a la mode I’d notice a quizzical look.
‘It’s not really plated, is it?’
So soon I stopped ‘dishing up’ and started ‘plating’.
Didn’t mind. Not really. But then when I put up a perfectly ‘plated’ steak, she said, ‘No jus?’
Next night we had lamb cutlets and jus. Not bad either.
But then one afternoon she called me out of the writing room and there was an upturned book carton on the kitchen table.
‘What’s this?’ I lifted it gingerly.
‘Mystery box,’ she cried. And sure enough there were all sorts of strange ingredients – bunches of herbs, tropical fruits, half a duck…
‘Gee,’ I said, ‘I thought sausages and mash…but I’ll give it a go.’
Wasn’t bad either. But that was just the beginning.
Nest week when I was planning a feast of rissoles she suddenly announced, ‘It’s a pressure test. The Fotheringales are coming; they’ll be here in 40 minutes.’
‘But there’s eight of them and they’re vegetarians.’
‘So, go to it,’ she said, sounding suspiciously like George. ‘You’ve got 35 minutes left!’
Next week was even worse. One morning just when I thought she’d settled down and would appreciate an old favourite – corned beef and carrots – she said, ‘Guess what?’
‘Rupert and Tiffany and coming over tonight.’
‘Not Rupert, the king of the pumpkin scone?’
‘That’s the one,’ she said. ‘You’re going head to head. If you win you get immunity for a week.’
‘Bring it on,’ I said. ‘Piece of cake.’
Ah, if only…my batch was more like a piece of rock. The ladies oohed and ahhed over Rupert’s effort. ‘It’s the texture,’ said Tiffany. ‘Oh and the flavours,’ said my traitorous spouse. ‘You can’t beat those flavours.’
There was a moment when I had the awful feeling I was about to be shown the door, my time in the house over forever. I did, however, have one last trick up my sleeve. Next day I said, ‘If you’d prefer, you can always take over yourself.’
‘Oh no, she replied. ‘I think my job here is done.’
No idea what she meant. Anyway, tonight we’re having Zuccini Flowers filled with Minted Ricotta and Almond Gazpacho followed by a Coffee Brulee with just a touch of Grand Marnier jus…