Yep - I somehow ended up in the Top 50 of series 3 of the Australian MasterChef. After a spectacular brain-flip, I managed a gloriously early exit. However, what a wonderful time it was, whilst I was there.
Food-love seems to attract a certain type of person, I think. What I really didn't expect from the experience, was to meet just SO MANY delightful and like-minded people. In attempting to explain this to people afterwards, I figured: if you really enjoy cooking and cook often, it's unlikely that your 'joy' in cooking comes from simply cooking delicious things just for yourself over and over. Rather, I think that there is some element of human GENEROSITY inherent to a love of cooking. The most JOY in cooking is derived from cooking for others - sharing the fruits of, sometimes, hours and hours of 'labour' with family and friends - old and new ! Then, of course, there is the AESTHETIC element. A food-lover delights in all the delicious flavours, colours, shapes, textures and even sounds ! Not to mention the CREATIVITY required to elegantly draw these elements together. I used to say that my favourite thing about cooking was the amazing creative process it represented - from conception through preparation, to presentation and enjoyment - the whole process is such a relatively short one ! Before you know it, you're sitting down to a glass of wine and your delicious meal with friends, who are dutifully and very happily enjoying the output of your work !
So, if the majority of MasterChef contestants are marked by generosity, aesthetic appreciation and creativity... that's probably not a bad group of people to meet. Even more so, if you're about to share with them the most surreal (or hyper-real), unpredictable, stressful but FUN week you're likely to have...
The things you do... !