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Dalai Lama appears on Masterchef

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The Dalai Lama stunned contestants on the Australian version of MasterChef as he made a surprise appearance as a guest judge on the show.

His Holiness - who regularly holds meetings with world leaders including Barack Obama and Nelson Mandela - took time out from his official Australian tour to appear on a special episode of the Channel 10 show, filmed last month and broadcast yesterday (18 July).

The seven MasterChef contestants prepared lunch for him, serving up a variety of sweet and savoury vegetarian dishes.

In keeping with his Buddhist beliefs, the Dalai Lama refused to individually rate the food, instead commenting that "they all had a special taste and beauty."

"My knowledge of these things is very limited. Whatever I get I accept," he said. "As a Buddhist monk it is not right to prefer this food or that food."

However, he entered into the spirit of the programme by giggling and praising the cuisine on offer, as he sampled delicacies such as Sri Lankan curry with roti bread and mushroom and coriander dumplings christened as "Buddhist's surprise."

The Tibetan spiritual leader listed his favourite ingredients as coriander, tofu and mushrooms and seemed least keen on some gnocchi he was offered - although noted that the contestant in question had "tried their best."

His appearance on the show triggered a surge in ratings, with 1.7 million tuning in to see him.

The Dalai Lama has spent more than 50 years living in exile in northern India, after he angered Chinese authorities by campaigning for Tibetan autonomy. Beijing has long condemned him as "splittist" but he is revered with a god-like status in Tibet.

Above, first picture: Dalai Lama on Masterchef (picture credit: Splash News). He tried curry and gnocchi (second and third photos, Rex Features)

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