What a beautiful setting the Company’s Garden and backdrop Table Mountain was to last night’s episode 15 of MasterChef SA, fantastic marketing of Cape Town to the rest of the country’s TV viewers! The Red and Blue Teams had to prepare a dish reflecting our country’s cultural food heritage, and the scoring was pretty close, or so the viewers thought!
Having won the Best Dairy Dish Challenge in episode 13, Kamini Pather was allowed to choose her team of five for the next challenge, as well as the apron colour, when the box of aprons was delivered to the Finalists’ house. She chose the colour blue, and the two van der Wat sisters Seline and Leandri, Ozzy Osmond and Jason Steel for her team. Amanda Beck and Karen Els appeared to be in charge of the Red Team, which consisted of Khumo Twala, Joani Mitchell, and Tiron Eloff too. The team challenge was to make a dish that would reflect the origin of our country’s culinary heritage dating back to 1652, when Jan van Riebeeck planted the Company’s Garden to serve as a halfway house trading station of fresh foods for ships of the Dutch East India Company travelling between Holland and the Far East. The South African Culinary Olympic Team, which participated in the Culinary Olympics 2012 in Germany, and returned with 12 medals for our country, was invited as judges. We recognised Chef Tanja Kruger of Makaron restaurant at Majeka House amongst the ten chefs. The two teams had two hours in which to prepare their dishes, having been shown the dish which the Springbok chefs had prepared in Germany, being a Trio of pork, carrots, and potato dauphinoise. The Finalists were relieved that they did not have to replicate it! They had 15 minutes to choose their ingredients from the impromptu Pantry set up in the gardens, which Chef Benny Masekwameng mistakenly said ‘was fresh produce from the Company’s Garden’! The task of the Red and Blue teams was to prepare a dish representing our cultural food heritage, and to pair it with a suitable wine in the Nederburg Heritage Heroes range, dedicated to the legendary heroes of wine making at Nederburg. Ten plates of each dish had to be prepared, and each dish consisted of five elements.
The Blue Team chose The Anchorman Chenin Blanc, which was named in honour of Philippus Wolvaardt, who bought the Nederburg farm for 5600 gulder. The team chose to make a trio of lamb (a rack of lamb, lamb shank, and loin), served with pea and lime purée, sweet potato croquettes, aubergine and spicy tamarind yoghurt, poppadoms, and a spicy apricot chutney. The team specifically paid tribute to the Cape Malay heritage, making their food spicy, and therefore Kamini had chosen the Chenin Blanc, even though common sense would have dictated that a red wine would have been a more suitable match, Chef Pete Goffe-Wood suggesting to the other judges that a Rhone-style blend The Motorcycle Marvel (which was named in honour of former winemaker Günter Brözel) may have been a better choice. Jason Steel too appeared uncertain about Kamini’s wine choice, but supported her decision. The team had left the wine pairing decision to the end, but Kamini decided to stick with the Chenin Blanc, based on what she had learnt in the MasterClass she enjoyed with Nederburg Cellarmaster Razvan Macici, which she had won for winning the best Signature Sandwich in episode 5. Ozzy was in charge of preparing the lamb. The team ran behind the Red Team in timing, plating by Jason being started later, but they still completed it on time. Jason focused his plating on creating balance on the plate, he said. Chef Andrew Atkinson, once a Springbok chef himself, praised the presentation. Chef Benny also praised the different cooking styles used, including deep-fried, braised, and roasted.
The Red Team appeared more harmonious in their teamwork, Tweeters wrote. Karen spoke for the team, and they chose to make a trio of South Africa’s national meat, being ostrich, using it as carpaccio rolled up with aubergine and goat’s cheese dipped in sesame seed; as sushi made with pap instead of nori rice did not work, so they made pap dumplings; and rissole (a mince croquette), served on butternut squares, pea purée, sculpted carrots, and poached beetroot. From the outset Tiron had decided on The Brewmaster, a Bordeaux Blend which was named in honour of Johan Graue, and the judges appeared to support this pairing. The wine was used as a marinade too. Amanda presented the team’s dish to the Springbok chefs, but spoke incredibly fast, her nervousness coming through. Chef Pete praised the ‘lovely colours’ on the plate, and the ‘light and elegant’ dish, but had observed that the team had not tasted its food and had not added any seasoning! The Red Team was confident, started plating first, and was ‘playing to their strengths‘, Chef Pete shared with the other two judges. As a TV viewer, one was convinced that the Red Team would win.
The two dishes had to be tasted by the ten Springbok chefs, and one could not hear much of their discussions, sitting at one long table. Chef Andrew said that the Olympic scoring system was used, each member of the culinary team scoring the dishes out of 100 on presentation, preparation, taste, and the pairing of the dishes with the wines. It was a surprise therefore that the Blue Team won, with 74%, winning the team members a MasterClass at Charly’s Bakery tonight, an ‘iconic establishment‘ Chef Benny said, which had its own TV series Charly’s Cake Angels last year. The Red Team achieved 63%, and will go into a Pressure Test tonight, with one Finalist to be eliminated, having to replicate Chef Andrea Burgener’s dish! We had not heard of this chef before, and via Google found her to own a casual restaurant The Leopard in Melville in Johannesburg!
For an overview of what is lying ahead for the rest of Season 2 read here. For behind the scenes information on the filming of Season 2 in January read here. For an overview of episode 1 of Season 2 read here. For an overview of episode 2 of Season 2 read here, for episode 3 read here, for episode 4 here, episode 5 here, episode 6 here, episode 7, episode 8, episode 9, and episode 10, episode 11, episode 12, episode 13, and episode 14 read here. Enter our competitions, to predict the Finalist who will be eliminated in the next Pressure Test, and which Finalist will win MasterChef SA Season 2.
MasterChef SA Season 2. Tuesdays and Wednesdays 19h30 – 20h30. www.masterchefsa.dstv.co Twitter: @MasterChef_SA.
Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com Twitter: @WhaleCottage