On day 4 of “The Perfect Dinner” (VOX) in the Allgäu, Shad (54) brings culinary delights from Pakistan to the table in Mauerstetten. Steffi (31) suspects: “Tonight at Shad will definitely be chaotic, funny and wild.” That’s the way it should be.

Thursday, June 2nd: “I came to Germany in 1992,” says caretaker and hobby snooker player Shad, host on day 4 of “The Perfect Dinner” in the Allgäu. At that time he came all alone as an asylum seeker because of political problems in Pakistan. He is now firmly rooted in the Allgäu: “I feel really, really comfortable here.” Nevertheless, he serves his guests Pakistani specialties:

Alessandro (44) can’t imagine anything: “It doesn’t matter what he cooks, it’s going to be a roaring evening. Today everyone lets themselves fall.” Steffi is looking forward to the host: “I think he gets a lot out of his sympathy points.” Antje (53) nods: “Sociability is more important to him.”

In fact, Shad has prepared his dishes exactly once beforehand: “I hope that today will be better than when we tried it out.” Too much salt ends up in the pakora dough. Doesn’t matter. “I’ll just say, I was in love 20 years ago and I remembered it today.” He will certainly not top the plate presentation of the others: “I’ll try it, but it won’t look anywhere near like theirs.” Shad estimates accordingly realistically his chances of winning: “What I can do will be the perfect dinner for me, but I don’t think so for the others.”

“Hey, what’s up?” Shad greets his guests. Ciabatta and spreads go with the pomegranate rosé. The host has announced relaxation for today, so the guests lounge comfortably on the sofa.

The appetizer goes according to plan. That’s worth Shad a little dance at the stove. He serves mango chutney and mint yoghurt with lentil soup and fried vegetables in batter: “These are completely normal things. No sorcery.” Steffi feasts: “Tasty.” Alessandro enjoys: “Whoa, that’s awesome!” Shad is happy about the praise: “Then my effort really made sense, yes!”

While the others enjoy themselves in the snooker room, he relaxes with a glass of wine and prepares the rice from his own fields in Pakistan. The lamb curry just needs to be reheated: “No rocket science.” Shad anticipates the concerns about the lamb: “It grew up six kilometers from here. A happy animal.” Imke (26) admits: “I was very scared of lamb. But it tastes really good.” Steffi and Antje praise the taste, but complain: “In terms of craftsmanship, not so much has happened in terms of serving.”

“I absolutely cannot make desserts. My dessert is always espresso”, but Shad still tries to arrange Kulfi ice cream and mascarpone cream nicely. Instead of sugar, he sweetens with erythritol: “We have very slim people with us, and we want them to stay that way.” He serves the dessert to Steffi : “You won’t gain a gram from it.” Well then…

Everyone leans back and is satisfied. Shad has achieved his personal goal: “I really liked that you felt so comfortable.” Steffi’s conclusion: “The highlight of the evening was the Shad.” Alessandro agrees: “Absolutely brilliant host.” The reward: 32 points and second place for the time being.

Wednesday, June 1st: “I’m always the bird of paradise. Here in the Allgäu anyway”, the former model likes it colourful. Antje lives out her creativity when cooking: “Everything on my menu is regional. Then dressed up a little differently than perhaps the regional Allgäuer would do here.” Her motto on day 3 of “The Perfect Dinner” (VOX) is “Globetrotter mixes up Allgäu cuisine”:

“I think it will be fireworks today,” Alessandro (44) expects great things. Steffi (31) also: “If I read it like that, it definitely has potential to win.” But nobody comes up with the most obvious. “Kässpatzen are never served with a starter,” says Alessandro. “Because then we would actually already be done with dinner.”

Even the reception on the terrace with a fire bowl and homemade eggnog with freshly squeezed orange juice is a hit. Shad (54): “Wow! Mega!” Imke (26): “It was warm, it was heartfelt. We were all so welcome.”

Stress? rush? none. Experienced, Antje glides through her kitchen with elegance. “I’m most afraid of the Allgäu cheese spaetzle.” As a non-Allgäu native, she first had to learn: “There are differences between Swabian spaetzle and Allgäu spaetzle. The Swabians scrape them, the Allgäu grate them.” Imke asks in surprise: “Is there a cheese spaetzle? I’m freaking out!” Steffi: “Not seriously!” Alessandro cheers: “Kässpatzen were a great surprise for me, which made me very happy.” There’s also a cheese praline, cheese soup and salad with chocolate vinaigrette. Imke’s verdict on the starter: “I thought it was outstanding.”

At 8.30 p.m. sharp, Antje serves brook trout on pea-coconut puree and potato gratin. Time management: perfect. Steffi: “The fish was absolutely top class.” Imke: “I had a taste explosion on the plate.” The potato gratin divides tempers: For Alessandro it was the “highlight”, for Imke “unnecessary”.

“Since I’m not the dessert type, that’s my toughest story,” Antje has respect for the desserts. While the guests are nailing it on the terrace (Allgäu people know what I mean), she serves chocolate cakes with ice cream and avocado-oranges cream, a recipe from her Brazilian friend. The guests applaud the sparklers: “Fireworks!” Shad: “It tastes fantastic!” Alessandro is pleasantly surprised by the avocado cream: “I’ve never eaten like this before.”

Steffi’s overall impression: “Mastered with confidence.” Applause for the hostess. She takes the lead with 34 points.

Thursday, May 19: You have to give the Rostock “The Perfect Dinner” group one thing: they are greedy for surprises. Because if the group is so international, then please also “exotic” on the table! Her need for “fragrant worlds of spices” (Bärbel) not only meant stress for the Syrian Mouaz (“I don’t want to overwhelm her with spices”) on day 2.

Bärbel also expects “all kinds of delicacies from Vietnam” from Dao (38), while Bianca (48) goes straight ahead: “It’s not really my kitchen.” Maybe that’s why Dao struggles with her menu plan to the end. In the morning of her dinner, she proudly announces: “I threw everything down”. The menu is correspondingly worthy of interpretation.

Motto: “My little journey for you”

So the enthusiastic sportswoman and volunteer junior soccer coach of SV Warnemünde has an exciting home game ahead of her: “I have no idea what my plan is.” The solution for the appetizer is: Let them “fiddle it a bit” themselves! Under the motto “Freestyle” there are “Do it yourself” variants of summer rolls and sushi, along with a cold mango soup.

After that it’s 1-0 for the mother of three boys who are also football fans: “Everything is possible, nothing has to be – that got me,” states Paul (29). It gets more precarious with the main course: Dao, who came to Germany with her mother from Vietnam as a child shortly after reunification and grew up in Dresden, decided on roast venison with serviette dumplings of all things: “My neighbor Uwe is a hobby hunter, and the deer happened to be running behind his house.”

Of course, the food delivery couldn’t be more direct, but she still sees the back and club of the unsuspecting passer-by as a major challenge: “It’s the first time I’ve got such a thing in my hand – but when will I have the opportunity again?”

The clock is already snipping towards 10 p.m. when the main course is served. “A bit dry” (Mouaz), “cold” (Bianca) is the sobering conclusion of the round, also: “The sauce lacks the oomph” (Paul). There is also an organizational problem: there is no cutlery for the main course – Dao simply brings the whole case to the table.

The dessert, which is satisfyingly “Vietnamese” again, pulls it out: “The rice balls tasted good of rice,” Bärbel attests the coconut-rice creation with sesame. The highlight, however, is a test of courage that is familiar to all Southeast Asia travelers: the stinky fruit served at the end smells like “fermented onions” for Paul, but for everyone else it tastes delicious. Nevertheless, freestyle and misguided management only bring 28 points – and thus the honorable fourth place at the moment.

Wednesday, May 18th: “Zitrone des Nordens”: This does not mean Bianca from Rostock, originally from Thuringia, who dedicates her menu to her adopted home in “The Perfect Dinner” (VOX).

Motto: “Coast Children”

The former GDR athlete shows that there is enough vitality in shrimp salad with sea buckthorn-honey-dill dressing, winter cod with mashed potatoes and Brussels sprouts and sea buckthorn-yoghurt mousse when cooking with occasional sporting activities. A quick handstand against the kitchen wall and a few pushes up and down, then the passionate weightlifter demonstrates a “deadlift” again (“Now I’m Rambo, right?”): “There’s no such thing as standing still for me,” explains Bianca proudly .

At most, she stops by the fire bowl in her front yard (“My meditative place – ommm…”), otherwise the watchword is “hang in there”. As a competitive gymnast and acrobat, as a teenager she even competed with an “icy” leg – and became East German state champion: “The title still carries me through life.” And also steels her for “The Perfect Dinner”: ” Bianca is our little Duracell bunny,” says Paul (29).

Bianca completes her maritime “Captain’s Dinner” with similar confidence to her competition at the time, builds sails for chicory boats out of beetroot chips and the same thing for dessert out of chocolate lattices, according to gourmet smart-ass Paul, “maybe fry the skrej a bit too slow” on. Apart from the lack of crispiness, it only leaves enthusiastic guests: “Look, everything is eaten”, is the proud and satisfied reaction of Bärbel (67) and Mouaz (27).

The feedback makes the wiry Bianca just as emotional as her sporting title from the 1980s: “I impressed myself today. Thank you for that,” she says through touched tears. Thus, at the halfway point of the Rostock round, she is at the top of the podium with 35 points – with more than brilliant A and B grades.

Tuesday, May 17: Now it’s going to be oriental at the “Perfect Dinner” (VOX). On Day 2, Mouaz (27) from Syria decided to introduce the Rostock gourmets to the world of spices and flavors of his home culture: “I’ve been eating all these dishes since I was a child.” Sure, almost everyone knows hummus and tabbouleh by now – but what’s hiding Behind maqluba, lotus cake and the Syrian version of “chicken thighs and diced potatoes with paprika sauce”?

Motto: “1001 nuances of taste immerse yourself in the world of the Orient”

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