The pace in last night’s episode 2 of MasterChef SA Season 3 was a little slower than that of the first episode, but irritating was the judges whispering amongst themselves in evaluating the contestants, so softly that one could barely hear what they were saying. The episode was designed to reduce the 24 contestant from Bootcamp 1 to the 12 Finalists going to the Nederburg MasterChef SA kitchen, ending off with a last-minute scone-baking competition.
The 24 contestants were still in the Cape Town harbour for Bootcamp 2, but now inside a warehouse, with cooking stations set up for each of them, and a Woolworths pantry too. The brief for the Invention Test sounded easy enough, in preparing their choice of dish within 60 minutes. The pantry would be closed down during the episode, the contestants were told. Chef and judge Pete Goffe-Wood said that the pantry was so well stocked that ‘if you can dream it, you can cook it’. One contestant was looking for tomatoes for her dish, and was surprised that there were none. Midway a curved ball was introduced, Chef and judge Benny Masekwameng bringing in a large MasterChef SA branded crate on a forklift. When the cloth covering it was lifted, it was a crate full of cherry tomatoes, a shock for those contestants who had decided to make a sweet dish, but it tested their versatility in adding them to their dishes. The contestants were told that the tomatoes had to be incorporated but they did not have to be the main element. The stakes were high for the contestants, as the dishes cooked in Bootcamp 2 would see them going to the MasterChef SA kitchen, or go home!
Once again it was boring to see the judges tasting 24 dishes, initially showing the dish and the contestant having prepared it, but the evaluations went faster and faster, and the judges said nothing at all about the dishes they had tasted in some instances. Not all the dishes of all the contestants were shown. Some of the dishes prepared were a gooseberry (and tomato) jam and chocolate tart made by Roxi; Simphiwe made a rib eye steak, but his raspberry sauce cooked too long when the tomatoes arrived, and it became jam; Refilwe made egg snow and vanilla infused custard; Joven’s ‘deconstructed’ chicken salad was shot down; Melissa-Lee made pan-fried duck with potato gratin; Jillianne had shown so much promise in episode 1, but her coconut and lime cheese cake (with tomato) did not impress the judges; Sipho prepared chicken breast with a Provencal sauce, but her vegetables were criticised by Chef Pete; Philippa made ravioli, despite forgetting to take enough eggs from the pantry, Chef Pete praising her for ‘stressing a good dish‘; lamb with biltong; pasta and mushrooms; chicken roulade stuffed with peppadew; Ian presented seared beef carpaccio, which was judged to be too safe; Beef Wellington was too difficult if one had not made it before; Adele’s chicken ballotine was said to contain too many elements, not tasting of anything in total; spring rolls; and Ndumiso made an open ostrich sandwich.
Once all the dishes had been evaluated, the judges went away, returning to a very dark section of the warehouse, looking quite intimidating in their dark Woolworths suits! The contestants were called in in groups of two or four, to be teased and kept on their nerves for a little longer, to be told if they were staying or going back home. One group of contestants was told that they would have to say goodbye, thinking they were going home, but it was saying goodbye to their loved ones before going to the MasterChef SA kitchen at Nederburg.
Speaking of Nederburg: the new ‘Great things are born of passion‘ TV commercial was shown twice, and while it justifies Nederburg winemaker Razvan Macici’s persistence in raising the bar of excellence by means of his passion, it is distressing to see him throw one glass of wine tasted after the other on the floor, the glass shattering, a very unrealistic, self-centered and wasteful action by a winemaker, in our opinion!
The final two contestants were Melissa-Lee Sutherland and Jilliane Chang, but only one of them could go through to the MasterChef SA kitchen. An easy test was put to them, to bake six scones. Mel said that she had never baked them before, but had seen her mother bake them. Jillianne was excited that she had seen a recipe for scones that morning. The recipe was provided in terms of ingredient quantities, but without a method. It was Mel who won the challenge, her scones looking better and being lighter in taste and eating.
We got to know some of the contestants better, when they spoke to the camera about what they do and what their dream is in participating on MasterChef SA. The Top 12 finalists that have gone through to the Season 3 MasterChef SA kitchen are the following:
* Penny Fitchet, a teacher from Durban
* Roxi Wardman, a train driver assistant from Durban
* Ndumiso Mncwabe, a mobile bar owner from Durban
* Claire Allen, owner of an events company in Cape Town, wants to bring her mother and sisters back from Australia, and open her own restaurant, she said tearfully
* Francois Zietsman, a musician from Cape Town
* Sipho Mdlankomo. a domestic worker from Cape Town, with a dream to open her own restaurant
* Abigail Mbalo, a dental technologist from Cape Town, who wants to bring fine dining into the townships
* Ian Young, a former advertising executive in the advertising industry from Cape Town
* Phila Vikakazi, an IT specialist from Johannesburg
* Philippa Robinson, a lifeskills manager from Johannesburg
* Refilwe Tselanyane, a service consultant from Carltonville, who wants to open a bakery, and said she has no interest in opening a restaurant nor writing a cook book
* Mel Sutherland, a lodge manager from Vaalwater, wants to start a non-profit initiative to feed children at schools.
Reuben Robertsons Riffel was far less prominent in last night’s episode, after having dominating episode 1 last week, so much so that it looked like he was the lead judge. Last night the involvement of the three judges was far more equal. Hearing Riffel speak makes one cringe, his English grammar shocking (‘...produce are...’) and his pronunciation of ‘chups’ in one of his Robertsons TV commercials pathetic!
During the course of the broadcast last night, we saw Tweets dedicating the episode to Sarel Loots, a Top 4 Finalist of MasterChef SA Season 1, who passed away on Monday, and this was posted on the MasterChef SA website too. Sadly this was not incorporated into the broadcast at all, one or two TV commercials having been able to make space for the tribute.
PLEASE NOTE: The weekly WhaleTales Sweet & Sour Service Awards, usually posted on Fridays, will be posted on Saturdays until late December, to allow the write-ups of each of the 18 episodes of MasterChef SA Season 3 to be posted the day after the episode.
MasterChef SA Season 3, M-Net. www.masterchefsa.dstv.co.za Twitter: @MasterChef_SA Thursdays at 19h30.