Oslo Calling......MKR Semifinal Day 1 - Sugar N Spice

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Oslo Calling......MKR Semifinal Day 1

It’s time to fly to Oslo for Semifinals. Last few days we were very busy trying new dishes, experimenting and preparing for Oslo (what to wear) :). This time we will be cooking in the studio, so need not have to worry about cleaning the kitchen after the mess :).
At Oslo airport.............
In Hotel……………
We met our old pals Helge and Svein from the qualifying round. It was a bit of relief to see familiar faces. We were taken from hotel to studio. We Couldn’t wait to see the studio and same time was nerve-racking to think about the humongous challenge we were about to face. On the way to the studio, me and Lopita didn’t speak at all. It was more scary for Lopita than me. I had some experience from Kakekrigen but honestly, I was equally nervous.

In studio………….
When we reached the studio other contestants were already there. It was very intimidating to meet these strangers. We also get to meet judges as they were getting ready for the shoot. Scary and same time honoured to meet two big shots of Norwegian food industry.

Judges talking to director
WOW, that was the first word I uttered when I saw the setup. We met director and producer of the program. As it was day one, so they briefed us about the process. They gave us a walk through of appliances, utensils, they had one of the sharpest knives in the drawer and of course along with bunch of bandages and gloves :) 

MKR Studio
There were total 6 stations, as we were 6 pairs to compete against each other. We noticed there were two additional stations. That time we couldn’t understand the purpose of those station.  Each station was equipped with high quality products. Appliances were super hi-fi, even the water tab was quite technical to use. They gave us some time to check the appliances by ourselves. Me and Lopita both smiled at each other, we knew it will be challenging to use these appliances in stress. We were already nervous above this we had these hi-fi gadgets. It took some time for us to understand all. But at last we were comfortable with it, kind of :)

Listening carefully to director's brief
Then we had a tour of the pantry and immediately a lot of ideas started rushing in my mind. I had to hold my horses as it was too early. Our day has just begun and we knew it will be a long day.
The telecast of the show is only for an hour but the shoot time is almost 12 hours sometimes. Bård (director) was there and he took our first interview before the cooking and made us laugh and again helped us in calming our nerves.
First interview in studio with Bård
 At last, we and crew members were ready to shoot. Me and Lopita both of us were having butterflies in the stomach and was finding it hard to smile but we tried :).
Six pairs ready to compete
A lot of takes and retakes of us entering in the studio then the same was for judges. But finally, the director was happy with all the shots and time came for judges to tell us about the dish we will make. They wanted us to make a dish which reminds us of our dream vacation and we were given only one hour to prepare the dish.

We decided to make Chicken Manchurian (Kjøttboller med Kylling og grønnsaker) and fried rice. This is an Indo-Chinese fusion. In North India, we get a delicious fusion of Chinese and Indian cooking.

At first, me and Lopita were running frantically back and forth to get the ingredients and were confused. Then we paused for a minute and divided the tasks. She started chopping the vegetables and I did too and immediately I cut my finger. The knife is my enemy and as I said those knives were very sharp. Lopita’s chopping skills are better than mine. She immediately took over the task and I started preparing the chicken. Bård is always behind the camera and converse with us all the time. He was worried that half of the time was gone and we were still chopping the vegetables. We needed lots of vegetables (mushroom, capsicum, onion, spring onion, cabbage, coriander etc.) both for Manchurian (kjøttballer) and for fried rice. In the beginning me and Lopita struggled a bit with understanding each other related to chopping or cutting veggies. Though we speak the same language (Hindi and English) but we struggled. Then she asked me to show her, how I wanted veggies to be :) ……….that was better.

Christopher (judge) on our station to check the progress
When I was frying Chicken Manchurian, Bård asked me ‘don’t I have to check the temperature of oil with the thermometer?’ I smiled and said we never do that in the Indian kitchen. We have learned from our mothers that oil is ready when we feel the heat on top of the pan and if we see some fumes oil is ready to fry. It’s a full proof method :)

At one point, I was also worried that we might not finish on time but we did. As we looked around we saw they all made some amazing dishes. I was not worried as I knew our dish was full of flavours. 

It was time for judges to taste................


After a long wait, Judges deliberated - Tik and Knut Åge made the best dish of the day. We also received good feedback from judges and were safe from elimination on that day. We were relieved and super happy to deliver so well.

Dag & Helle, Me & Lopita, Tommy & Farid through to next round
Bottom two pairs had to contest against each other for a place in next day competition. Losing pair had to leave the competition same day. There came the role of those two additional stations. They had to cook on those stations. We just had to sit and watch. I was feeling bad for them but same time felt relaxed and relieved.


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