by Narelle Atkins
Cooking shows are very popular here in Australia and the new season of the top rating MasterChef Australia commenced last week (very good news for Aussie cooking show junkies!) A few months ago I was glued to the screen on a Monday and Tuesday night watching an Aussie reality tv show called My Kitchen Rules.
In the first round of My Kitchen Rules, the contestants (pairs) created an ‘instant restaurant’ in their homes (or they borrowed a friend or relative’s home for the shoot). There were two groups in Round One and a team in each group represented one of the five mainland states. The contestants flew around the country and dined with each other, plus two celebrity chef judges. The teams cooked a three course dinner for ten guests, and their performance was scored by the other contestants and the celebrity chef judges. The highest scoring teams from each group competed against each other in the studio to win the $100,000 first prize.
The teams consisted of married couples, sisters, friends, newly dating, childhood sweethearts and a happily divorced couple. I sat in my comfortable living room and tuned in, hoping to learn how to create fine dining food.
The contestants designed their own menus and had a few hours to purchase their fresh ingredients before they started cooking. Their courses included: Squid with Rocket & Aioli Garlic, Trout Ravioli, Orange Blossom Custard, Coconut Panna Cotta with Mango Slick and Palm Sugar Caramel. Clint and Noah (runners up in the competition) produced a divine chocolate cake that everyone loved. These recipes plus more can be found on the My Kitchen Rules website.
The trick was to create a difficult menu to demonstrate technique, but not bite off more than they can chew and have their dish ‘flop’.
One thing I learned from watching the teams was, no matter how prepared you are, whether or not you’ve cooked the dish fifty times before, a lot can go wrong on the night. Every course is a gamble and nothing is a sure thing for success! One little thing going wrong could set off a domino effect that ruined the dish. And bombing out in one course could be the difference between staying in the competition and leaving at the end of Round One.
We can sometimes try to fool ourselves into believing we have everything under control. Financial security, a stable family, good health, and a career we love. Life can be going great but, in the blink of an eye, everything can change – stock markets crash, lose your job, accident, unexpected health crisis. Like the old saying goes, there are two guarantees in life – death and taxes. Just because we work really hard to achieve something doesn’t mean it’s going to happen or be successful. Aspiring authors know this all too well – there are no guarantees that we’ll be offered a publishing contract and sell truck loads of books despite how hard we work to improve our craft and write a marketable story.
In a restaurant, the chefs are in the kitchen, and it’s the waiters who deliver the food to the customers. The restaurant patrons don’t usually see what happens behind the scenes. Mistakes can be hidden, dishes recooked or replated if necessary, and the customers are none the wiser.
With an ‘instant restaurant’ in the contestant’s homes, the judges were seated in their dining room, could hear what’s happening in the kitchen (including arguments and stressed out contestants cracking under the pressure) and the judges made unexpected visits to the kitchen to check on progress.
God isn’t remote, like the chef’s in restaurants that you don’t often meet in person. We can’t hide from God – he’s omniscient and knows our secret desires and thoughts.
God is up-close, personal, involved and interested in our lives. He loves us and we can’t hide our mistakes and disobedience to his word. He is like a judge in our ‘instant restaurant’, and he will sit in judgement and call us to be accountable for our lives.
Romans 5:8-10 (NIV) says: But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God's wrath through him! For if, when we were God's enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!
The good news is we can become a new creation in Christ, and have his spirit living in us to help us follow God’s will for our lives. Our salvation through Jesus is a ‘sure thing’, one guarantee we can hold onto as we face life’s challenges.
Childhood sweethearts Shadi and Veronica from Queensland won Season One of My Kitchen Rules. His Lebanese heritage and her Italian heritage inspired them to create a winning combination in the kitchen and one day they hope to open their own restaurant. They may rule the kitchen, but who rules your life?