TVNZ’s new food series began by challenging two renowned chefs to create a perfect replica of a classic dessert. Snackaholic Tara Ward watched in wonder.
Snacking is the dream job. I do a lot of unpaid labour in this particular industry, so I understand why Tom Sainsbury and Kimberley Crossman are fizzing to host Snack Masters NZ. Based on a popular UK format, Snack Masters NZ promises to show us our favourite treats like we’ve never seen them before. It’s going to pull our snacks to pieces, ruin their self esteem and then build them back up again so they can continue to serve the nation. It’s just like the army, but for boysenberry Trumpets.
Each episode sees two chefs given two days to create a perfect replica of an iconic New Zealand snack. The series began with chefs Dariush Lolaiy (co-owner of Auckland restaurant Cazador) and Ganesh Raj (of Eat Well for Less fame), who were challenged to whip up their version of a boysenberry Trumpet. While a bouncy Kimberley kept a beady eye on their progress, her equally excited colleague Tom visited the Tip Top factory to discover what really goes on behind the waffle curtain.
This is where things took a turn. Snack friends and lovers, some things must never be seen by the naked eye, and a Trumpet’s vital organs is one of them. Just as a magician should never reveal his tricks, a Trumpet should never reveal its ripple.
This gruesome scene was the first in a spree of Trumpet-related crimes. In an effort to understand the true mystique of the Trumpet, Ganesh and Dariush hacked their ice creams to pieces and inspected the innards as they slowly melted in front of the nation. They sniffed and licked and devoured it with an intensity that made me want to look away. Those Trumpets were subjected to the kind of autopsy you usually only get on a CSI Christmas special, and I will never look at a dairy freezer again without feeling a boysenberry ripple of shame and regret.
But sometimes you have to break a few eggs to make a waffle cone. Dariush and Ganesh tried everything to replicate the Tip Top waffle, but struggled with shape and texture. Dariush ended up squashing his batter between two frypans, while Ganesh muttered something about divots and a Lord of the Rings party and went to Mitre 10 to buy supplies.
Just as Ganesh saw the face of Elvis Presley in his batter, Kimberly popped out of a cupboard to remind him that Snack Masters NZ wanted a perfect replica of a Trumpet, not a reinvention of it. Ganesh didn’t give a shit. “We are currently nearly nailing the smell of our cone,” he announced confidently near the end of day one, vowing to not only make a Trumpet, but to improve it with a Ganesh Raj twist. Suck on that, Tip Top.
On day two, a competitive Dariush declared he’d do anything to win, including stirring his mixture “with an old man’s leg”. Sure, why not. Ganesh and Dariush met in the Snack Masters NZ kitchen to present their Trumpets to the judges, in a studio that appeared to be located inside a cave that also doubled as a car park. Behind them lay a dark void, and if you listen closely you will hear the voice of Dame Rachel Hunter, justifiably outraged that we were 50 minutes into a show about Trumpets and no one had mentioned her name yet.
Time was up, the journey was over, the Trumpets had been blown. Tip Top’s panel of snack experts unleashed hell, closely inspecting Dariush and Ganesh’s frozen wonders and throwing around technical terms like “moisture migration” and “ripple distribution”. This was serious stuff. They were wowed by Ganesh’s nuts and impressed by Dariush’s crack, and never before had a chocolate plug been so important.
As it often is in life, it all came down to the plug. Ganesh’s plug sucked, but Dariush’s plug elevated his Trumpet to another level. “Look at the plug,” the panel cried as they sliced through Dariush’s milky masterpiece. This was the plug of dreams. Build it, and they will come. “An A+ plug,” they cheered, and outside the cave, an old man’s leg beamed with pride.
Dariush was the winner, and Ganesh was gracious in defeat. “When they cut yours open, I felt it,” he told Dariush. We all felt it, Ganesh, all the way to our soggy chocolate bottoms. Next week on Snack Masters NZ is the Big Mac. There’s nothing New Zealand about it, but when did snacks ever make sense? I’m lovin’ it.
Snack Masters NZ screens on TVNZ 2 on Wednesdays at 7.30pm and is available to stream on TVNZ OnDemand.