MasterChef SA is the talk of the country, and we have five more gripping episodes to look forward to in the next month. To spice things up a little, we have launched two competitions, the first being a prediction of who will win MasterChef SA in episode 18.
We are also running a weekly lucky draw for the correct prediction of who will be booted out of MasterChef SA every week. For the correct prediction of who will leave MasterChef SA in episode 14 on Tuesday (19 June), Grande Provence has generously offered a 3-course restaurant voucher for two, to the value of R600, to the winner.
Darren Badenhorst is the new Executive Chef at Grande Provence. He left school in Durban to study marketing, but gave up after a year, because he realised that his passion lay in cooking. He enrolled at the Christina Martin School of Food and Wine, the most prominent culinary school in KwaZulu-Natal, where he did a one year intensive, ‘extremely strenuous’, diploma course. From there he went to the Benguerra Lodge in Mozambique as Executive Chef, but his stay was short-lived, having to evacuate the island after the worst ever cyclone to hit Africa destroyed most buildings on the island. He was appointed at Zimbali Boutique Hotel as Chef de Partie. He then moved to Eat Me Gourmet Café, a private contract catering company, and to Three Cities‘ One on One Events catering company, promoted to Executive Chef. Feeling that he had reached a glass ceiling, he moved to the Cape, and joined Gregory Czarnecki at Waterkloof. In this time he met Grande Provence Chef Darren Roberts at one of the magnificent Big Five Multiple Sclerosis charity lunches at which Waterkloof had participated. He started at Grande Provence over a year ago, and has taken over from Chef Darren Roberts, who has taken up an appointment in the Seychelles.
He sees the level of cuisine in the Cape to be far beyond that of any other region, and believes that competition between restaurants brings out the best in them, and is key to creating consistency. Flair and passion must show at all times. He admires Neil Jewell for his charcuterie, there being no comparison, and Chef Margot Janse from Le Quartier Français, for her creativity and experimentation with the food that she prepares. Chef Darren Badenhorst says that he will not change the menu drastically, sticking to the fine dining French cuisine with an Asian twist. The quality will be the same, but he will add his stamp to it. He has a small team of six in the kitchen, which will grow next summer. He lives on the Grande Provence farm, and loves his job, rarely taking time off. He likes to create dishes with balance, in texture and in colour. Coming from the Natal coast, he loves diving and spearfishing, and also therefore preparing seafood. His first new addition to the menu is a delicious soft shell crab starter on pan-fried sushi with sesame seed, with a soft boiled yolk presented in a beautifully crafted kataifi pastry, the colour coming from a red pepper aioli, and finished off with soya and wasabi pearls. His new Ballontine of Chicken with a bone marrow centre, truffle of pomme duchess, carrot and cardamom pureé, morel mushrooms, cracked black pepper, and fresh Japanese truffle, is an artistic portrait that could have been framed and hung in the Grande Provence Gallery!
Tweet your prediction of which of the 7 remaining finalists will be booted out of MasterChef SA to @WhaleCottage, or e-mail it to firstname.lastname@example.org. Closing time for entries is Tuesday 19 June at 19h30, at the start of episode 14. The winner will be contacted immediately after the show ends. There will be a weekly Restaurant Voucher prize draw per episode for the correct prediction of who will be booted out of MasterChef SA, and voting for the following episode can start as soon as that day’s episode has been aired. Should there be no correct entry received, the prize is rolled over to go to another week.
POSTSCRIPT 19/6: There was no correct prediction that Ilse Nel would be sent home this evening. The Grande Provence prize will be rolled over to another week.
The Restaurant at Grande Provence, R45, Franschhoek. Tel (021) 876-8600. www.grandeprovence.co.za Twitter: @GrandeProvence Monday – Sunday Lunch, Monday – Saturday Dinner.
Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.comTwitter:@WhaleCottage