When I enter the kitchen I can smell fish. I wonder if there is a tank concealed under that blanket. Perhaps we will need to net a catch and cook up a seafood dish? But no – instead it is an identification test – fish naming – oh dear – not a personal forte. I know loads of NZ fish but no way can I put all these fishie names to the naked Kiwi fish in front of me. And here I am next to Kris – Kris the fisherman – mmmm maybe I should stray in his direction and see what he has jotted down. But of course that’s not cool and though I may give it a little try, we have only 1 minute and it is up to us as individuals to get down what we know – time to hold my breath and pray.
When they call the results I can only laugh at the incontrovertible conclusion that Aaron has won the fish challenge. I mean, has the guy had a fall yet? Has he had a moment where he feels concerned or not in control? He is on a winning streak so he may as well win the fish naming challenge too! Unbelievable!
For me it is time to cook and shine. Without a doubt, I set my own standards and I hate, truly hate, failing at what I have set out to achieve. I am so keen to show the judges what I can do. I figure pork mince is an easy cut, so I need to really aim high and create something that will wow the judges. A journey of dumplings comes to mind and I can immediately imagine little creations of yumminess on the plate. I quietly thank Aaron in my mind and get to work. It takes such a long time to do all the prep. I need to make all the different varieties of dough and get them rested. I need to create all the different fillings and have them ready. I need to roll and cut and create the parcels, fill them and cook them. And time is running so fast. What happened to the clock. How am I in a situation where I will have nothing ready in time on my plate. I feel my heart totally race. I feel suddenly like I am out of control – another thing I hate! I so want to succeed and I try so hard to hold it inside but when I feel that I am about to fail at this completely, I can’t control my emotions any more. When Ray comes to give me a pep talk I decide it is time to focus and get something ready to present. I do not want to have a judge come and give me their time and then let them down – not to mention myself! So it is time to shake away the fear of failure and perform.
I am horrified with my own journey. My dumplings are OK. The plate looks pleasant and I kind of know that what is there will taste good. I am simply mortified that I have criedmy way through a challenge. I am horrified that there are ‘beeps’ as I fall apart. I am truly shocked that I ‘beep’ in my interview. What I know is that I am emotional. I feel sick at the thought of failing. I felt gutted that I may not get my statement on the plate – and I so want to show what I can do…………
The tasting happens away from us. I get to tell my story and explain how demonstrative I tend to be. But I don’t get to hear how it tastes. So I go away worried and concerned that my tears, and my deportment could well be reflected in my dish – perhaps this is my day to go home.
The elimination is as always. I think for most of us, aside from Aaron, it is confusing and unsettling. It is definitely worrying for me. I am never quite sure where I am likely to sit and today is no exception. I am exhausted and way on the verge of temperamental. I wait and wait and watch. Aaron is of course the winner – again. And there is Elliot and I am so happy for them and so thrilled that they get to go to Queenstown. Whilst I am down on myself, I am still happy for their success. Then off goes David for his honourable mention and I actually feel gutted for him – how wrong to get a special mention and not get a prize. I hate it when that happens to my children – such a dud reward:-( Then come the other safe crew and it’s finally me. The bottom four and I knew I’d be here – and I dread what is coming. Then Ray tells me my tears were in vain – my food was tasty and I am safe. Really? Ray? Are you serious?
As I find Ella on the couch I laugh with her, my friend, in conspiratorial relief. Don’t try so many dishes next time we smile to each other – I need to keep it simple and safe and try in the future to perhaps enjoy the journey!!