133. My 2nd year of cooking with Kurma – Part 1

Part 1 – The Kitchen

I was wondering if this would happen again. Last year, I had the privilege of inviting Kurma prabhu over to conduct a cooking class. Although, it was a grand experience, I was not happy with my personal performance. For a start, the venue I arranged for him was ok. It was small and not equipped with enough resources for a cooking class. So, I thought that if I ever get a chance again, I would do it better.

Few months ago, Kurma prabhu sent me an email and asked if we could hold another cooking session this year. Without much pondering, I answered, “Yes! Yes, please“. Good things in life happen only once and here I was again in a position to spend a complete day with the veg guru. But then, two is better than one. So, I decided, “Why not 2 classes? A Saturday and a Sunday class…at 2 different locations!”. How, where, when etc can be figured out later. Champions must be challenged : ) So, bring it on !

A few days later, I began to get nervous. Where will I hold the class? How good will the venue be? How many people will enrol? Besides me, there was no one else. All my friends and contacts were meat-lovers. Even more reason for them to attend the class, I thought. With firm faith in the pancha-tattva, my vocabulary and an innocent face, I approached a cafe that I pass often on my way to work. I took a friend with me, just in case my face didn’t work.

Me : Excuse me…could I meet the manager?

The Lady : That would be me. Can I help you?

Me : Hi…My name is Manoj and I work nearby. I am a vegetarian and most of my work mates and friends pull my leg because of that lifestyle. They say that I am leading a boring life and not enjoying the finest things in life. But, I respect the lives of animals and wish to protect it. I think, if people knew how to cook many varieties of vegetarian dishes, even they wouldn’t think of eating meat. So, that’s when I had an idea. Last year, I invited a chef from Sydney and he taught a group of 15 people how to cook many vegetarian dishes. It was fantastic and we ate all that we cooked. Made some good friends as well. We did that on a Saturday in a house. I was wondering, if we can use your kitchen for this year.

I moved my face muscles around to portray innocence and which also indicated that there was no one in the world to help me out. (Hey ! I meant it ! It was the truth.)

The Lady : It’s an excellent idea !! We are a vegetarian cafe ourselves and getting people together to cook some tasty food would be great. It will be fun ! Thank you for considering us ! When can we start planning?

Ta daaa !!! A fully equipped cafe - Cafe Lifeskills (Suburb - Bundoora)

Ta daaa !!! A fully equipped cafe - Cafe Lifeskills (Suburb - Bundoora)

I was so impressed, happy and thankful. A few days later, I went up to another cafe, about 3 hours away from the above one and said the same thing. Innocent face followed (which I meant) and….

Ta Ta daaa daa!!! A fully equipped commercial kitchen !! - Cafe Flavours (in the City of Bendigo)

Ta Ta daaa daa!!! A fully equipped commercial kitchen !! - Cafe Flavours (in the City of Bendigo)

Aaah ! I love it when hard work pays off. Confidence is a great thing. And when it’s mixed with a few doses of enthusiasm and purpose, it makes the potion all the more powerful. I couldn’t wait to tell Kurma prabhu of the developments. On the phone, he asked, “How did you manage to get 2 cafe’s to hold the program?”. I told him. But I left out the part about the innocent face.


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