Australian Masterchef and some Life skills…

Dear Aussies- As a South African, I am supposed to hate you guys. It has something to do with rugby union (but you also struggle at the moment, I see…) and cricket. That magnificent game that you sometimes play so well… as do we…

We make a lot of jokes about you guys- something to do with handpicked ancestors. And some unfortunate encounters with sheep in the Outback…

Be that as it may, Australian Masterchef has really become our (my wife and I, not the whole of SA!)  favorite program of all time. In the process we have seen a few things that really excites us about you as a nation.  Let me share a few thoughts and impressions.

  1.  You focus on the main thing.  In this program it is about the love of food. Of  good chef skills, and presenting an amazing dish.  And the love for food shines through all the way, and binds you together.
  2.  Your respect for nature, and the respect for the good ingredients used to cook shines through- well done! Your agricultural products and seafood looks amazing.
  3.  You are amazing at people skills! I am amazed by the way the judges handle all contestants.  Everybody is welcome and important, and it does not matter what their background and level of education might be. Everybody is treated with respect, and the underlying  impression I get- the goal is to help every contestant to be their best, to produce their best cooking, to learn from their mistakes and to improve as chefs.  I really love that there is none of the Gordon Ramsey Hell’s Kitchen style yelling and insulting going on.
  4.  Mistakes are tolerated– and improvement encouraged. Everybody sometimes have a bad day in the kitchen, and knows it. The way that people are encouraged to get up, dust off and try again are really inspiring- learn from mistakes, do it better next time.
  5. Even elimination are handled with dignity- there is none of that “You’re the weakest link, goodbye…” sendoffs. I love the way that each leaving contestant is encouraged to follow their dream. The way that contestants victories are celebrated when they leave is really good. And the humane way the Judges act towards contestants- well done guys!
  6.  The way that contestants support one another, encourage, help… it looks like one happy family.  Maybe not all Aussies are like that, but you do give a very positive picture of a healthy nation.
  7.  The way contestants grow along the journey, producing food that they could never imagine before…
  8.  Marco Pierre White on the one hand scares- that look over his glasses… on the other hand inspires and share experience designed to push contestants to a next level- great to see a 3 Michelin star chef being an inspiration and a mentor– true greatness.
  9.  It seems as if everybody taking part gets a truly life enriching experience!
  10.  You have inspired our own cooking and the dare to try some new techniques and styles.
  11.  Billie McKay was such an amazing winner last year, I would love to sit at her table one day.
  12.  Would love to end with a Shannon Bennett desert!

In conclusion: As a Pastor I would love to see more of these life skills displayed in church! In the way all people act towards each other, love and support one another even though we might be from different backgrounds and opinions.

And finally: Aussies- see you on the Rugby field… you will bleed…


Food is very important…

Ok, useless header. Without food we die.

But today is my 4th day without eating. This is breakfast:

a nice beer mug filled with… apple juice!

Was it not the apple that got us kicked out of paradise in the beginning?

On Friday, my day off, I love to go out and eat breakfast somewhere. Usually with my younger colleague, for it is his day off too.

There are so many possibilities around our town. The most beautiful setting is at the clubhouse of our golf course. They have a nice view, and a beautiful restaurant. Even the prices are very good- surprisingly.

Then there is the Koffiekan, maybe translated as the Coffee Pot They have bottomless coffee,, today’s newspaper (that is not fun to read in South Africa anymore with our respected president, and the mine strikes, and the rhino slaughter for impotent people in Asia, and the killing of so many people in crime… and usually the sport page is a tear jerker too… except our Junior Springbok rugby team, that beat New Zealand twice in one week- that gave something to smile about…)

We have the various franchise restaurants, most with a budget breakfast consisting of a baked egg, two rashers of bacon (sorry Spike!) a piece of cooked tomato and a slice of toast. Very budget indeed. But even that is better than a beer mug of apple juice.

Last night I asked my wife what we will do for dinner tonight. As good South Africans we usually barbeque (Braai!) some red meat, accompanied by red wine. Usually we look for friends that want to dine with us. And it is a ceremony on its own, from the lighting of the fire, opening of the wine, the sharing of stories and jokes. The meal around the table with some candle light on.

And then I remembered: Tonight, on my menu, there will be Apple Juice….

The revenge of the Apple for sins of days gone past…

The attack of the killer apples…

I think: from tomorrow apple juice will be banned for life from my home…