Revealing a Secret................Semifinal Day Two - Sugar N Spice

Monday, October 30, 2017

Revealing a Secret................Semifinal Day Two

One secret, I want to share here. We were not two persons participating in this contest. During the qualifying round when we were visiting other contestants houses Lopita was having episodes of stomach pain and was feeling sick. She loves fish and meat but at that time she was not liking it. She was suspecting food poisoning or stomach flu. The first qualifying round was over and we were through to next round (semifinal). Even days after finishing the shooting, she was still feeling sick. One day, I just said maybe you are pregnant, check it and yes she was. So, we were three persons (Me, Lopita and little Tavis in Lopita’s womb) in the competition.

Qualifying Round (Gustavo & Luca's Place): I was tired but Lopita was feeling sick

That was a great news but same time she was feeling nervous. Our priority completely changed after this. Her health was more important than taking part in MKR. We discussed it and decided that we will take one day at a time and if required we will pull out ourselves from the competition.

As she entered in her second trimester, she started to feel better and came out of her nausea period. She was ready to go to Oslo, but I was nervous as it was a big responsibility.

We survived the first day in semifinal and Lopita was feeling tired. But she geared up and was ready for the challenge.

Second day in studio...............

We were ready for judges to tell us about the theme or dish we will cook. As Christopher said we have to use Torsk Head (Fishhead), immediately I knew it’s Lopita who will take a lead today. She comes from the eastern region of India where Fish is an everyday staple and she had told me stories about how they prepare it on a special occasion and serve it to the main guest. Eating fish eyeballs is a delicacy in that region. I was sure that Lopita will lead the challenge today. But as we moved towards the table it was full of Torsk head (fish head), we were frightened. Lopita has handled fish head before but not that big. It was monstrously big. But there was no turning back, she was quite brave.
Shocked - Fish head (too big to handle)

We were super excited to take up this challenge. We decided to mix flavours of east and south like curry leaf, coconut, cardamom etc. in the curry based on the ingredients we had in the pantry. She started with the Fish head and I started preparing for curry. The main ingredient for curry was missing from pantry the ‘Curry leaf''. Earlier I saw it in the pantry but suddenly it vanished. I asked everybody but no one had it and we couldn’t start without curry leaf. Lopita was getting stressed and I was also feeling the pressure. Then suddenly, I turned back and saw Farid (other contestant) was holding packet of curry leaf in his hand. I think Tommy and Farid knew from the beginning how important it was for us and was playing a joke on us………………very funny :)
I just grabbed it from him and then I started with curry. We lost some time in this but managed to get back on track.

Me and Lopita have different taste palates. Sometimes it works in our favour and sometimes not. This time it was against us. Constantly we were having arguments on ingredients for curry. She is not used to adding lime, lemon or vinegar in fish curry and I always like to add sour flavour in fish curry or any dish I am making with fish. And there were few more things I wanted to add which she disagreed with.  Every time when she was away from the cooking station I sneaked in one or two additional things in the curry :)

Only a few minutes were left and I decided to make Lachha Paratha (layered flat Bread). It was a risk but it paid off, paratha turned out very crispy and flaky. Lopita finished cooking fish head. But we were not sure if we should serve it whole or disintegrate it. Lopita decided to disintegrate it and removed every ounce of meat from fish head. The whole combination of fish, curry, paratha and rice was heavenly. But I still wanted to add something more, then I ran and grabbed another fish head and asked Lopita to cook it. We decided to take out the eyeball and serve it with curry. By this time, I was so comfortable handling fish head that I was helping Lopita to scoop out eyeball from fish head. Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine that I will be doing this one day :)

We barely finished on time and when we looked around most of the other contestants had served whole head. We were nervous but sure about the taste and texture of the fish. We followed our gut instinct and believed in what we know. 

Our dish was the best dish of the day. Kudos to Lise for trying eyeball :)

1 comment:

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