2012 Cooking Competition

Angelina (Chuang Qing)

Our little team of three, Lee Ann Green, Raymond Chang & I embarked on a new challenge in Bao Lin’s cooking competition with no previous experience, just faith in each other and good team effort.

Bao Lin did an excellent job in setting up & facilitating the event.

We were pretty relaxed until we got to Bao Lin on the day about 9.00 am to find the place was blazed with activities. Everybody was taking it very seriously. Some of the participants were already dressed up, set up, and ready to go.

There were ten teams altogether.

At 10:00 am following a brief address by our Abbess, the whistle went, a formal signal to start! The adrenalin poured, participants were like buzzing bees.

The judges and interviewers came around to each team. They were friendly & soon put us at ease.

An hour and a half went quickly. Soon the countdown began and beautiful food was ready to be presented to the judges who had a tough time trying to find room in their stomachs to taste all the ten dishes!

We all did well with tremendous effort.

Besides the first, second, and third winner, there were plenty of happy No 4 winners! Everybody received a prize from Abbess.

A happy, fun filled day was had by all.

It was a successful inaugural “Master Chef” event of Bao Lin. Thanks to Abbess, all the Shifus, and Dharma brothers for providing us with the opportunity. What a lifetime experience!

Jason Pang (Chuang Sheng)

This cooking event has brought many people together such as the organisers, contestants, judges, all the people who helped out and those who attended the event. Together everyone has made this event a successful one.

I feel that the variety of dishes produced in the event has helped deliver a very strong message that Vegetarian Meals can be exciting, is a healthy eating habit and delicious without cooking at the expense of any animal life.

By working together as a team, we get to know each other better. In our team, we learned together, laughed, throw ideas at each other, encouraged each other in our strengths, helped each other in working on our weaknesses, and most importantly, working in harmony and single-heartedly.

Each and every stage in the cooking process has emphasised the importance of being mindful of what we do. I also find naming the dish with a Buddhist name very meaningful. This reminds us to cook as Buddhist – with serenity and without killing.

It was an honour to have the opportunity to work together with so many people at Bao Lin Monastery.

Gary Downs (Chuan Yi)

I arrived at Bao Lin Chan Monastery – an hour early – feeling slightly nervous and with a distracted mind. When I entered the dining hall my nervousness had increased and the distracting thoughts were too many to count! Contestants were already in full-swing with their preparations, the audience was starting to build and I could see where the judging panel would be seated. This was the first Bao Lin Vegetarian Cooking Competition and there was still an hour to go before the official start.

I was much relieved with the arrival of Simon and Joy – my other two team members – and after a brief discussion, we were ready to begin chopping! We had a problem, however; the ingredients for our dish were stuck in city traffic with our fourth team member Joseph! So we decided to familiarize ourselves with the cooking equipment that the Monastery had supplied and listen to the competition rules.

Just before 10am Joseph arrived with a trolley of market-fresh vegetables for our competition dish – the “Dharma Pouch” and with no time to lose we set about dicing and slicing hoping to create the winning meal.

The dining hall was now buzzing with activity and the clock was ticking away. Cooking to a time limit and cooking whilst being watched and then judged on the result was a new experience for me and the team.

It was at this point that I was able to call upon my practice of mindfulness and focus on the task at hand and in doing so, calm my mind. I was surprised to find how much easier it was to work under pressure by being mindful.

Some contestants were already starting to present their dishes to the judges and had even cleared and cleaned the workbenches. With just a few seconds remaining we finally had something on a plate to present for judging and it was with a great sense of pride and achievement that we were able to deliver our “Dharma Pouch” to the panel.

Although we did not win the competition, we were winners in being true to our endeavours and as a team, we had worked harmoniously and had contributed to a wonderful morning.