MstrChf 3 Sipho and RoxiTonight will see the MasterChef SA Top 2 assistant train driver Roxi Wardman and domestic worker Sipho Mdlankomo fight it out in the kitchen for the honour of winning MasterChef SA Season 3, in a three-part duel which will be adjudicated by Chef Marco Pierre White, who owns Michelin-star restaurants in the UK.

In the past two Seasons the Final 2 did a cook-out in front of their fellow finalists, who were flown back to the MasterChef SA kitchen at Nederburg.  This year the two finalists will be cooking on their own, and the finalists were not told who won the last episode we will see this evening.  The Top 2 finalists will meet up with the rest of the Top 12 finalists, who gathered in Johannesburg yesterday, in preparation for the big announcement tonight.   The programme will run for 90 minutes in total, the last half an hour being a live crossing to Johannesburg, for the announcement of the winner.

So how did Roxi and Sipho stack up over the past 16 episodes of MasterChef SA Season 3?  We have summarised which dishes they cooked in the past 16 episodes and how they fared:

*   Sipho:  in episode 2 (Bootcamp) she cooked chicken breast with  Provencal sauce, her vegetables being criticised by the judges.  In episode 3 she cooked ostrich with sweetcorn parcels.  In episode 5 she made a carrot sponge with Italian meringue,  both elements of it criticised by the judges. In episode 6 Sipho went into a Pressure Test with Swedish Chef Niklas Ekstedt.  In episode 9 she made peri peri roast chicken, but the samp was undercooked and she had used too much chili. In episode 10 she and Ian Young won the paired team challenge, and they won a lunch at the Pot Luck Club.  In episode 12 she cooked chicken biryani in Mauritius, but forgot to cook the lentils that were meant to be part of her dish, but it was praised as being colourful. In episode 14 she was praised by Chef David Higgs as a ‘champion‘, in replicating his chocolate dessert and jelly dish, and named best cook of the day. In episode 15 she made polenta lasagne.  In the last episode 16, she made Pastry Chef Lorraine Meaney’s Cardomom Lemon Chocolate gâteau, and was criticised for adding too much chicory, and the cake not being good to eat.  In the Raw Food section overseen by Chef Margot Janse she made venison and mushrooms, the venison being overpowered by her marinade and her parsnip side dish not working.   In summary: 10 dishes prepared, of which one was best of the day, the other nine with weaknesses.  One Pressure Test.

*   Roxi:   in episode 2 she made a gooseberry tomato and chocolate tart.  In episode 3 she made the winning Mystery Box dish of  butternut and peanut butter tart with a chocolate Pinotage sauce, which sent her jetting off to Dublin in episode 4 to eat at Michelin star restaurant Thornton’s.  In episode 5 she made a dessert medley of carrots.  In episode 8 she went into a Pressure Test, her prawn and chicken curry praised but her rice was overcooked.  In episode 9 she made a trio of chicken tapas, as lollipops, ballotine, and croquettes, heavily criticised by the judges.  In episode 12 she made roti and prawns, which were praised, but her sauce was judged to not be spicy enough.  In episode 13 she was in an Elimination Test against Penny Fitchet, making scallops, and she won the test.  In episode 14 she made rhubarb jelly, chocolate mousse and sorbet, a dish by Chef David Higgs, which was praised for its flavours but criticised for its plating. In episode 15 her wild mushroom millefeuille with hazelnut sauce was praised and named dish of the day.  In the last episode her copy of Chef Lorraine Meaney’s gâteau was praised.  In the Raw Food test with Chef Margot Janse she won praise for her Strawberry Medley.  In summary: 11 dishes, of which 4 were best dishes of the day, and 7 had criticisms.   2 Pressure/Elimination Tests.

The odds are in favour of Roxi, but her performance tonight, preparing three dishes for Chef Marco Pierre White, will count in the evaluation as well.  While she has predominantly made desserts where she could, which she is good at and has shown a creative talent for, her challenge will be to cook regular dishes in tonight’s Finale.  Sipho made more traditional dishes, yet was good at replicating dishes she had never made before when given a recipe.  Yet she made many mistakes, the judges criticising an element of almost every dish, despite the judges regularly trying to be kind to her.

Whatever the outcome tonight, both Roxi and Sipho will be remembered for their confidence, and their continuous mantra of MasterChef SA Finale day before via Philipa Robinsonwanting to win MasterChef SA Season 3.  Both finalists will make a good PR story, as the winner could be an assistant train driver or a domestic worker!  If Roxi does not win, at least she will be remembered in tonight’s episode as the finalist with the shocking pink/red hair, which we saw in a photograph of the finalists having dinner last night! Sipho has received regular publicity about the poor working conditions of domestic workers in our country in the UK press from the beginning, and M-Net has not responded to my questions about how they are dealing with this.  The further negative publicity in this regard may count against Sipho winning.  Clear is that both the finalists lives will change after tonight, whatever the outcome!

For an overview of MasterChef Season 3 read here, and read here too. For a summary of episode 1 of Season 3 at Bootcamp 1 read hereand of episode 2 read here.  The summary of episode 3 can be read here.  Read about Roxi’s trip to Dublin and Thornton’s Restaurant, and the first Pressure Test in episode 4 here.   Read about the Carrot Dessert Invention Test in episode 5 here.  The Pressure Test with Swedish Chef Niklas Ekstedt, and visit to Syddah Essop in the Karoo in episode 6 is here.  For a summary of episode 7, a Team Challenge in Durban, click here.  For the write-up of the episode 8′s Pressure Test between Roxi and Refilwe, and the visit to the Ixopo Retreat by the winning Red Team, click here.  Episode 9 was a Chicken MasterPiece Invention Test.  Episode 10 was a paired Team Challenge.  In episode 11 Ian Young won an Immunity Pin, and Francois Zietsman was sent home.  In episode 12 the Finalists visited Mauritius, and Sipho won the dish of the day.  In episode 13 Penny Fitchet was sent home, after an Elimination Test against Roxy Wardman.   In episode 14 Abigail Mbalo was eliminated in an Elimination Test based on Chef David Higgs’ dish at five hundred.  Mel Sutherlnd left MasterChef SA in episode 15.  Ian Young and Philippa Robinson left MasterChef SA in episode 17, which was a double episode.

For the Twitter handles of the Top 12 finalists, click here.

PLEASE NOTE: The weekly WhaleTales Sweet & Sour Service Awards, usually posted on Fridays, will be posted on Saturdays until this week, 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.  Twitter: @MasterChef_SA  Thursdays at 19h30.

Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio:  Tel (021) 433-2100, Twitter:@WhaleCottage Facebook:  click here

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