Competitive chefs on the hit reality series "MasterChef: Australia" are used to facing some tough judges, but nothing could prepare them for the biggest surprise guest in the history of the show.

The Dalai Lama, fresh off a whirlwind tour in the United States, paid a visit Down Under and somehow booked an appearance as a guest judge on the series. Perhaps he's a fan? 

Contestants, told that the day's cooking would focus purely on vegetarian dishes, were stunned when the Dalai Lama was revealed to be the one sampling their creations. With the assistance of celebrity chef Kylie Kwong, they were coached throughout the three-hour cook-off on the Dalai Lama's favorite foods — which include coriander, mushrooms, cheese and tofu.

Final veggie dishes included a Japanese noodle consommé, a Middle Eastern feast with flatbread, and a Sri Lankan vegetarian curry with roti.

When it came time to pass judgment, the Dalai Lama proved to be the kindest judge they could have ever wished for. "As a Buddhist monk, it is not right to prefer this food or that food. Anything I am offered, I must accept." When one contestant broke down due to a kitchen "disaster," the Dalai Lama took her hands and bowed his head, moving everyone else to tears.

Such benevolent guest judging led one writer from the U.K. Guardian to quip, "His Holiness is a natural for The Apprentice — except no one would get fired."

Check out a clip of the Dalai Lama's appearance below.

Michael d'Estries ( @michaeldestries ) covers science, technology, art, and the beautiful, unusual corners of our incredible world.

The Dalai Lama guest judges 'MasterChef'
Spiritual leader of Tibet surprises everyone by appearing on the Australian version of the competitive cooking series.