On Thursday evening Chef Pete Goffe-Wood was the first MasterChef SA judge to have an episode in the new M-Net mini-series ‘Feast’ dedicated to him and his cooking, the highlight being the Christmas meal he prepared for his family and friends. Continue reading →
Tag Archives: Ingrid Engelbrecht
MasterChef SA Season 3 judges with Marco Pierre White serve a ‘Feast’ on M-Net!
To fill the gap left on Thursday evenings by 17 episodes of MasterChef SA Season 3, M-Net is flighting a 4-part mini-series ‘Feast’ from tonight onwards. Details are scant, not available yet on the M-Net website. The stars of the episodes are the three MasterChef SA Season 3 judges as well as guest celebrity Chef Marco Pierre White.
I received three paragraphs from M-Net Public Relations Manager Ingrid Engelbrecht. The media release states:
‘December in South Africa is holiday and festive time! Families come together, friends socialise and South Africans around the country are outdoors with loved ones, enjoying the summer sun. The essence of the season is all about celebrating: family and friends, the gloriousness of great food and the opportunity for fun to abound – often around fabulous Continue reading →
MasterChef SA Season 3 episode 1: Bootcamp 1 shows angelfish no angel; beautiful Cape Town on the table!
I had forgotten how hard it is to stay on top of a new series of MasterChef SA, and last night’s first episode of Season 3 was disappointing in being mainly an hour long tasting of 36 angelfish dishes, for the first day of Bootcamp. But the tough elimination challenge could not have been held against a more beautiful backdrop than that of Table Mountain, great marketing for Cape Town. The dominance of Reuben Robertsons Riffel was disappointing, being the new judge.
In the previous two MasterChef SA Seasons, more time was spent in getting to know the contestants, when they had to do basic tests such as peeling and cutting potatoes, and peeling and slicing onions. Last night the hot auditions in Cape Town (with Chef Pete Goffe-Wood and guest chef Henry Vigar of La Mouette), in Durban (Riffel with Chef Jackie Cameron, who has just left Hartford House to open her Jackie Cameron School of Food & Wine) and in Johannesburg (Chef Bennie Masekwameng was joined by Chef Andrea Burgener, Continue reading →
MasterChef SA Season 2 episode 28: Finale sees Kamini Pather controversially crowned winner by a ‘fraction’!
There should have been no winner of MasterChef SA Season 2 episode 28 and the Finale of this reality TV cooking show last night, with both contestants making unforgivable mistakes in what was meant to be the pinnacle of the cooking competition! As a winner had to be chosen, the judges announced Kamini Pather as the winner, beating Leandri van der Wat by a ‘fraction’ of 6 out of 100 points.
The episode commenced with a very quick overview of the previous 27 episodes, highlighting Kamini’s near perfect past in being ‘top of the class’ (was this a predictor already?), and Leandri’s growth and top praise she received from Chef Prue Leith in particular. The two Finalists arrived at the MasterChef SA kitchen at Nederburg on a very rainy day, and were surprised to find all fourteen the other MasterChef SA Finalists there, as well as their families. Kamini’s mother Anthea and brother Neelan were present, as well as Leandri’s (and Seline’s) father Neil, aunt (her ‘second mother‘ Leandri said) and sister Nadine. Chef Pete Goffe-Wood said that it was the biggest Continue reading →
MasterChef SA Season 2 episode 2: A boring mix of hugs and tears!
Episode 2 of MasterChef SA was boring, long and drawn out, a continuation of Tuesday’s Hot Auditions held in Johannesburg. The episode was characterised by tears, two references to parents passing away, and lots of happy hugging of the judges by the lucky winners of the white aprons, entitling them to attend Bootcamp. The contestants were less characterful and impressive than those of Tuesday evening.
The episode was inconsistent, showing some contestants winning the apron, without their names being revealed. and almost no motivation provided as to why the judges chose them. It is a shame too that some of the contestants’ friends and colleagues (e.g. of Shannon Smuts) Tweeted about her performance all day, making the outcome pretty certain, this taking away some of the surprise. Generally it was a long drawn out episode, with the repetition of food preparation in 45 minutes, plating in 5 minutes, and then seeing the judges stuffing themselves, almost having a bun fight over a custard! The mention of a parent having passed away by two contestants, one mentioning it twice to the camera, was seen by Tweeters to be overdone, and begging for a sympathy vote!
Based on the same principle of highlighting those contestants which received the most screen time last night, we predict that the following will go through to Nederburg, if they survive Bootcamp next week:
1. Tiron Eloff works at a video store, which may be sold due to the tough times, which will allow him to become a professional chef. He said that he had paid so much attention to other people in his life, and that it was time to focus on himself now. He prepared a rare grilled hanger steak, which Chef Pete was sceptical about, it being a difficult cut of meat to do well, and which Tiron admitted to only having prepared once before, and having overcooked it then! His jus was made with sugar, port, and Cabernet Sauvignon. He looked extremely nervous whilst the judges sampled his food. Chef Pete reiterated that it was a challenging piece of meat, and that it may not have been a good idea to try to make it on such an important occasion, but that it had turned out perfectly. He was supported by Chef Andrew, who praised the steak and its perfect seasoning. Twitter: @TironEloff
2. Mary was a Latin American dancer and now is a stay-at-home mom, so the judges were playing with words when they provided the feedback, saying she needed to put her best foot forward and learn the steps of cooking, Chef Pete saying he wanted to see her dance some more. Chef Benny loved her dish of gnocchi, prawns, chorizo, and cherry tomatoes, while Chef Pete said that the individual pieces were too large.
3. Bubbly twenty year old Linda (called Monkey). with a hint of pink in her hair, went ape when she was selected, making a three course meal, including a Thai Trio, which Chef Andrew rejected on the basis of its overpowering sauce and dry noodles. However, Chef Pete liked the dish, but warned her that she should have focused on one dish only. Chef Benny also gave her a ‘Yes’, and she hugged the judges, jumping for joy.
4. Tumi works for SARS, and said that he has a passion for cooking, which he does at home, spoiling his wife. He prepared a Seafood Fettucini, praised by all three judges for being perfect home-made pasta. Chef Pete was disappointed that it wasn’t lunchtime yet, as he could have finished the whole dish!
5. Gershwin expressed his love for cooking and prepared a medium rare beef fillet with watercress. Chef Benny rejected his dish, for having no salt and pepper, fundamental seasoning he said, but he did praise the ‘4 star restaurant plating’ of his dish. But Chefs Pete and Andrew allowed him to go through, as he had executed a safe and classic dish well.
6. Karen Els is a stay at home mom from KwaZulu-Natal, and she was ecstatic when she received her apron, loving her cooking more than her husband and children, she admitted in her joy. She said it is her time to shine, and described the making and presentation of food as an ‘art form’. She prepared a waterblommetjie-stuffed ostrich dish, served with cous cous. Chefs Benny and Andrew gave her dish the go-ahead, which resulted in a flood of tears. Twitter: @kelsfoodie
7. Alistair works at Nedbank (as does Season 1 winner Deena Naidoo) and is a third year student in Musicology he said. He mentioned twice that his mother had just passed away, and cried as he entered the judging arena, being very emotional. His mother had always urged him to do the best, and to win. He did say that he was happy to be at the Hot Audition. He prepared an Asian-style Seared Tuna, Chef Pete praising its flavours having been drawn out well, and Chef Benny gave him a thumbs-up too.
8. Khumo Twala made a Sticky Toffee pudding, with a custard which the three judges were fighting over to finish. No further information was provided about her, but she received her apron for Bootcamp. Twitter: @Simply_khumski
9. Pashi from Durban is a marketer, and also lost his father recently, and now supports his family. He wants to change career direction and cook full-time, realising that he can earn money from it. His Crayfish and Mussels dish, made with a Thai massaman curry sauce, was well received for its delicate touch and lovely flavours, earning him an apron. Twitter: @Pashi187
10. Rowan from Durban said he has been cooking since the age of 12, and made a Moroccan chicken fillet. Chef Pete did not like it at all, saying it was as dry as the desert in Morocco. Chefs Benny and Andrew said the chicken was a little dry, but that the sauce picked up the dish, giving him an apron.
11. Shannon Smuts is a graphic designer at Good Housekeeping magazine in Cape Town, and when asked what she wants from the programme, she confidently answered that she wants her own cooking TV show and a cook book! She has a huge Twitter fan club already! She has lived in Thailand, and made Thai curry parcels with a self-made curry paste. Chef Pete did not like the dish for having too much pastry, but the other two judges liked the crispness of the pastry and the taste of the paste. She jumped for joy too, and hugged all three the judges! Twitter: @Shananigems
There seemed to be far more non-sponsor advertisements last night compared to Tuesday evening, and they dominated the sponsor presence: Ariel (a surprise), Spur, FNB, Scooters, Stanlib, Cell C, Spar, ESKOM, and Samsung.
For an overview of what is lying ahead for Season 2 read here. For behind the scenes information on the filming of Season 2 in January read here. We want to clarify that M-Net has a strict procedure for interviewing contestants, all writers having to obtain permission from their PR Manager Ingrid Engelbrecht upfront. The condition is that all writers have to submit their story to Ms Engelbrecht for approval and sometimes minimal editing before being allowed to publish it. We have agreed to follow this rule, so that we can have the opportunity to write stories about the contestants during the course of season 2. This appears to be an unusual procedure relative to other food reality TV shows, especially as we signed a confidentiality agreement before attending the Media Day. This rule only applies to contestant interviews, and in no way affects writing a summary of each episode such as this one.
Next week’s episodes will focus on the Bootcamp, and are likely to be far more exciting that the first two episodes. They will also be an opportunity to get to know some of the Finalists better, and to see how they cope under pressure. If this week is anything to go by, we are in for a lot more tears (especially from the men it would appear!) in the next 12 weeks to come!
MasterChef SA Season 2. Tuesdays and Wednesdays 19h30 – 20h30. www.masterchefsa.dstv.com Twitter: @MasterChef_SA
Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com Twitter: @WhaleCottage
MasterChef SA Season 2: what can we expect? No Tsogo Sun restaurant prize!
The publicity for the start of Season 2 of MasterChef SA is still surprisingly low key, with little PR for the new series having been seen to date. A number of changes relative to last year’s Season 1 can be expected when Season 2 kicks off on M-Net tomorrow at 19h30, the biggest being that the value of the winner’s prize package has dropped dramatically to about R1 million, from R8 million in Season 1:
1. There will be two shows a week, for 13 weeks on Tuesday and Wednesday evenings, at 19h30, with 26 episodes in total.
2. The show content will be less focused on cooking, and more on the human drama, with in-depth interviews with the contestants, video diaries, fun moments and ‘extended storylines’. Interviews with experts, guest chefs, and the judges will also feature. There will be more masterclasses, and more rewards, M-Net Publicist Ingrid Engelbrecht has told the Sunday Times.
3. There is a ‘significantly higher’ standard of cooking than in Season 1, according to Ms Engelbrecht, as the Season 2 participants had a better understanding of what was expected of them from having watched Season 1, reports the Sunday Times.
4. There are fewer Finalists, now called ‘contestants’: 16 instead of 18.
5. Season 2 was filmed at Nederburg at the beginning of this year.
6. The same judges Pete Goffe-Wood, Andrew Atkinson, and Benny Masekwameng are involved, and Chef Arnold Tanzer is the Culinary Producer once again.
7. One episode (9 July) will feature food bloggers, including Andrew Lieber from Gourmet Guys, Ishay Govender from Food and the Fabulous, Candice Bresler from The Gorgeous Gourmet Blog, and Sam Linsell from Drizzle and Drip. We have been told that Jane-Anne Hobbs, Anel Potgieter, Nina Timm,and Andy Fenner were also invited to participate in the episode filmed at Maiden’s Cove, between Camps Bay and Clifton, but were cancelled in the last minute, as were we.
8. Gordon Ramsay is a guest chef and judge, a Tweet by Chris Whelan has indicated.
9. Nederburg is the wine sponsor again, and is offering eight ‘online master classes in food and wine pairing’, conducted by its cellar master Razvan Macici, a new clip posted on the Nederburg website every two weeks, its PR consultancy De Kock Communications has announced.
10. Fledgling Bakoven restaurateur Zahir Mohamed of Baked Bistro auditioned for MasterChef Season 1 and 2, and he features in the first fifteen minutes of the first episode tomorrow, an interview in yesterday’s Sunday Times has revealed. Mohamed is the son of Shawn MacLachlan, who owns a catering company looking after Manchester United and its fans. Other contestants are Cape Town based Zane Jacobs, Tiron Eloff from Randburg, Alta Wasson from Stilbaai, and Khumo Twala from Johannesburg, according to the Sunday Times.
11. The winner’s prizes offered by the official sponsors have been announced by M-Net: R400000 cash from Robertsons, a VW Golf 7 (new sponsor replacing Hyundai), five nights at the Maia Luxury Resort & Spa in the Seychelles from Tsogo Sun, one year’s free shopping to the value of R100000 at Woolworths, and a year’s supply of Nederburg wines plus a sommelier course. The modest Tsogo Sun prize is a surprise, given the generous two year restaurant contract which Season 1 winner Deena Naidoo received at Montecasino! We have been told that the hotel group does not expect as high a viewership of Season 2, and that the controversy surrounding the Montecasino restaurant prize led Tsogo Sun to drastically downscale its contribution to the winner’s prize package.
12. The bar has been raised for MasterChef SA Season 2, relative to MasterChef Australia, the producers wishing to exceed the standard of the latter. Lani Lombard, M-Net’s Head of Communication, has said about Season 2: ‘The first Season of MasterChef South Africa definitely inspired amateur chefs to get more creative. We noticed very early on during the Audition phase that the contestants’ standard of cooking was significantly higher this year and because of that, the show provides pressure-cooker entertainment right from the start’.
12. MasterChef SA Season 3 is likely to follow.
In January I was the only blogger to be be invited to a Media Day on set at MasterChef SA at Nederburg. Our blogpost (edited by M-Net) of the Media Day provides more background information.
MasterChef SA Season 2 starts cooking on Tuesday 11 June at 19h30, after the last episode of MasterChef Australia.
Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com Twitter: @Whale Cottage
MasterChef South Africa cooking up an exciting Season 2!
Last week I was lucky to be the only blogger to be invited by M-Net‘s PRO Ingrid Engelbrecht (right in bottom photograph) to attend a Media Day on the set of MasterChef SA at Nederburg, to obtain a behind the scenes feel for the production of one of our country’s most successful reality TV cooking shows. It emerged that the show management is highly organised, executing the shoot for the day and planning shoots five days in advance simultaneously. MasterChef SA Season 2 will commence flighting mid-year, and will be extended to twice-weekly broadcasts of the 26 episodes.
The media group of about 25 from Johannesburg, Cape Town, and Durban watched a cooking challenge of the contestants from the mezzanine level. Guest house duties prevented me from getting to Nederburg so early, so unfortunately I missed out on seeing the contestants, who arrived at the MasterChef SA kitchen almost three weeks ago. It was a delight however to see judges Pete Goffe-Wood and Benny Masekwameng again, as well as to meet Andrew Atkinson for the first time, having undergone a complete change in his appearance, and particularly in his dress. Gone are the jackets and suits, and all three the judges looked far more comfortably dressed. It is from the judges, and later from MasterChef SA Culinary Producer Arnold Tanzer, that we heard that every dish that the contestants have to prepare is tested multiple times.
The accuracy of the recipe ingredients and method of preparation is tested by four different chefs in Chef Arnold’s test kitchen. The dishes that are prepared by the contestants are filmed for presentation, while the judges taste an additional portion prepared by each contestant, which one does not see on screen. They then taste the filmed dishes, and provide their feedback for the camera. Chef Pete has taken to tasting the dishes during the preparation already, to get a feel for them. The three judges are called the ‘three stooges’, and are like brothers, much like the bonding that has taken place amongst most of the Season 1 contestants, even after the end of the season. None of the judges received any screen training, and Chef Pete said that they are no longer conscious of being filmed. They have had to learn interviewing skills however. Last year Chef Arnold and Chef Pete visited the set of MasterChef Australia for two days. The bond between the crew is strong as well, 85% having shot a number of series for M-Net in addition to Season 1. The next season of Idols will be shot soon too. Ingrid said that her job is to ‘put a pep in everyone’s step’, and to show that ‘M-Net Cares’! She also conducts the exit interviews with the departing Pressure Test contestants. It was super to see Lungi Nhlanhla, a MasterChef SA Season 1 Finalist, and now a journalist at Drum, and it was sweet to see her sit with Chef Benny, having had a special affinity with him during Season 1. Chef Pete sat at our table, and shared that the season 2 contestants are of a higher calibre, having had the benefit of watching season 1. The contestants had also attended a Chef’s School in Randburg before the festive season, at which they were taught basic kitchen skills, such as deboning chicken and filleting fish. About half the contestants are from the northern provinces, with one or two from Durban, and the rest from Cape Town. For the first time the contestants will also be filmed in their House, and therefore more upmarket accommodation has been selected, to share the contestants’ interaction with each other off-set, as per MasterChef Australia, giving the show more of a three-dimensional and real element. The House contains a large collection of cook books, and last year those by guest chefs were also part of the collection, it obviously not being known by the contestants which guest chefs would surprise them on set on a given day. Some contestants have quit their jobs, to participate in MasterChef SA. The top finalists will be spending about 7 weeks on the MasterChef SA set in Paarl.
We were treated to a long slow lunch at The Red Table Restaurant at Nederburg, at which I had a less than satisfactory experience just over a month ago, when it had just opened. Chef Pete referred to the colour of the restaurant as resembling ‘Edgars Red’. The restaurant is operated independently by Dish Food & Social. I was told that the new Restaurant Consultant Sarah Proudfoot and the German waitress that I experienced on my first visit have already left the employ of the restaurant. An amuse bouche of tasty tomato soup was served with a pastry in an espresso cup. It was funny to see the NOMU sea salt and black pepper grinders on the The Red Table Restaurant table (being an independent operator they may use the ingredients they want to), with Robertsons being the sponsor of the MasterChef SA kitchen just a few meters away! The salad of duck confit, roast baby beetroot, with orange segments, and baby spinach was perfect for the hot day. The grilled kingklip served with fondant potato, leek, a red onion salad and chili lime dressing was a massive improvement on the kingklip which I was served on my first visit to the restaurant. While the waiter had heard my request for the dressing to be excluded, he did not pass on the same message about the red onions! The waiter stretched right across me to place a fork on my left, from the right! The ‘brûléed’ lemon tart was a flop, being completely runny and without the brûlée! The mini strawberry milkshake it was served with was perfect. Instead of a cappuccino, I requested an iced coffee, and it was perfectly made.
We felt sorry for the contestants and judges on the 35°C day in Paarl, but they looked super cool. Chef Pete shared that for Season 1 it was 48°C when they filmed in Zanzibar, and that the 50 crew and contestants drank 50 cases of water on the first day alone, given the heat and humidity. The test on MasterChef SA is not so much the ability to cook than it is to deal with the pressure of preparing a dish against the clock, being asked questions by the judges, and having seven cameras focused on them. Chef Pete said that the food of each contestant reflects the personality of that person. We can look forward to seeing more cooking, and more contestant interaction in Season 2. Editing is meticulous, with only 1 in 5000 seconds of filming used. The day is a long one on the MasterChef SA set, from 6h00 – 19h00, Mondays to Saturdays.
Chef Arnold (middle in photograph) showed us his test kitchen, and I saw rows of Robertson’s spice bottles, which they have to source separately, as Woolworths does not stock the co-sponsor’s brand. Bronwen Smithers is Chef Arnold’s right hand, having worked with him for 17 years already, and is Head of Pantry, being responsible for ordering produce for each day’s production. We saw racks of oranges, lemons, limes, apples, red onions, eggs, pineapples, potatoes, and more. She also checks that ingredients are not too freely available, to ensure that the contestants use a good variety of ingredients in their dishes. She has a policy of not freezing any of the ingredients. Filming off-set is a particular challenge, in planning what to take along. They also need to stock the contestants’ and judges’ Houses with food. Chef Arnold said that they need to test guest chef recipes too, as ‘chefs are notorious in not spelling and writing well”. Chef Arnold said that the amateur cook contestants are really good cooks, and that there is no objective to ‘trick them’. How they handle the pressure will make the difference on their way forward. The fruit and vegetables last for three to four days, and what is left over and still edible is collected by the Valcare Trust, which distributes the food to a list of worthy charities in Paarl. The contestants are taught to be responsible in their ingredient selection from the Woolworths Pantry on set, so that the minimum goes to waste. We met Candice Tennant, the Series Producer, who co-ordinates the smooth running of all aspects of filming MasterChef SA (left in above photograph).
We spoke about MasterChef SA Chef Season 1 winner Deena Naidoo’s Aarya restaurant at Montecasino, and how busy it has been. Season 1 Finalist Brandon Law is now working for Deena in the Aarya kitchen.
We finished off the day in the Nederburg tasting centre, and my eye caught the new Nederburg pay-off line in their product display, the MasterChef SA sponsorship clearly having influenced it. Annetjie Hopkins led the tasting of the Winemaster’s Reserve Riesling; the Heritage Heroes range which honours Johan Graue’s son Arnold (‘The Young Airhawk‘), first Nederburg owner Philippus Wolvaardt (‘Anchorman’), well-known ex-winemaker Günter Brözel (‘The Motorcycle Marvel’), and Johan Graue (‘The Brew Master‘); and the Winemaster’s Reserve Noble Late Harvest.
I was initially invited to attend a blogger day, but the invitation was switched to the Media Day in the last minute, as the ‘amount of bloggers originally short listed was way too many to accommodate in the episode. As such, we had to notify almost half the list that we would no longer be needing their presence at the shoot. Of all the bloggers sadly struck from the list, you are the only person to whom we extended an invitation to the Media Day tomorrow’, wrote Ms Engelbrecht. Andy Fenner must have been invited too, and then uninvited, if his Tweet of 11 January refers to MasterChef SA: ‘I get invited to be on a local TV food show, I ask about provenance of the meat. I get uninvited’!
MasterChef SA Season 2, M-Net, starts cooking mid 2013. www.masterchefsa.dstv.com Twitter: @MasterChef_sa
Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com Twitter: @WhaleCottage
MasterChef SA bomb bursts about Deena Naidoo’s Tsogo Sun MondeVino Restaurant prize!
It was too good to be true. MasterChef SA came to a Grande Finale end earlier this week, and despite questions about the MondoVino restaurant being part of the R 8 million prize package not being answered satisfactorily, everyone accepted M-Net’s word that the winner of MasterChef SA would receive the restaurant. Ironically the screening of the Finale, with the 18 Finalists present, was held at MondoVino restaurant at the Montecasino Palazzo Hotel on Tuesday evening. At the ceremony, MasterChef SA winner Deena Naidoo received the ceremonial whisk to represent his prize of winning the restaurant from Graham Wood, MD of Tsogo Sun – Hotels.
Yesterday an explosive article appeared in The Citizen, disputing the prize and its value of R 7 million out of the R8 million package (the balance being R 250000 in cash from Robertsons, a car from Hyundai, a trip to Tuscany from Woolworths, and a course on winetasting by the Sommeliers’ Association of South Africa with a year’s supply of Nederburg Winemaster’s Reserve). The article quoted Deena expressing his dissatisfaction with the prize value, saying that he only received a two year usage of the restaurant, and in fact will only be present at it ‘about five times a month’, according to the contract he signed with restaurant owners Tsogo Sun. The restaurant is to be renamed Aarya, after Deena’s daughter, and is currently being refurbished, for re-opening in November. Deena will add his ‘own flair to the menu and the restaurant would be a reflection of South Africa’, the newspaper reported.
In all the comments made on our blog and on Twitter about Deena, his humility and passion for cooking were praised. Uncharacteristic therefore was the quote which The Citizen attributed to him in their article: ‘I am not an R8 million man. The perception that I am sitting with that money is unfair and it is time for the public to know this. I don’t want people to to look at it as if I am this guy sitting with all this cash’. It was also made known that Deena has no intention of moving to Johannesburg, from his home in Durban, saying that despite winning the MasterChef SA title, his family comes first. He explained that the restaurant’s replacement value is R7 million, and this is how the R8 million prize package was quantified.
M-Net spokesperson Ingrid Engelbrecht denied that they had created a false perception that the MasterChef SA winner would receive his or her own restaurant, countering that Tsogo Sun had made ‘various, flexible options’ available for the winner, depending on where the winner lived, and their personal circumstances. We questioned the feasibility of the restaurant prize for non-Johannesburg residents, and received a similar reply from Ms Engelbrecht in April already:‘Regarding the restaurant prize, Southern Sun is happy to tailor-make the options in order to meet the needs of the winner and to ensure that all parties are happy going forward with this amazing prize. They will take into account factors such as the contestant not being from Johannesburg, having a family and any other obligations, and will assist to whatever degree is necessary’. Ms Engelbrecht is quoted in The Citizen article as saying that the winner of MasterChef SA won the position of Head Chef for a two year period, with a value of R 7 million. Deena is to receive a percentage of the restaurant’s profits, but will not own its title deed.
Yesterday afternoon we received the media statement from Priya Naidoo, Tsogo Sun’s General Manager: Communication, refuting the explosive article in The Citizen. We publish it in its entirety, and leave it to the reader to decide what’s cooking at the MasterChef SA MondoVino Restaurant at Montecasino in Johannesburg:
‘M-Net and Tsogo Sun refute claims made by the Citizen newspaper today that MasterChef South Africa winner Deena Naidoo is disappointed with his prize package, and that he will not be getting his own restaurant. This is factually incorrect. The total restaurant prize included (amongst other things) the full-time running and rebranding of the floor space. This arrangement was rent free, for two years. However, M-Net and Tsogo Sun structured the sponsorship to permit the MasterChef winner to choose between various options of participation in the restaurant, knowing that the winner might not be able to take up such a fantastic prize. Deena elected a joint venture operation where he will share in the restaurant profits and partake in the rebranding and relaunch of the restaurant. This will run for two years. This decision was based on the fact that Deena, his wife and children are unable to relocate to Johannesburg at this time.
“I consider myself privileged and am extremely grateful to have won this prize. It is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” says Naidoo. “At no point have I ever been disappointed with the arrangement I have with M-Net and Tsogo Sun. In fact, they have been extremely accommodating and flexible and are allowing me the chance to run this restaurant whilst keeping my current job in Durban. Tsogo Sun appreciates that my family comes first. I couldn’t be more excited to embark on this journey with them.” M-Net and Tsogo Sun explained the terms and options available to the Top 2 contestants while the series was still being filmed, and all parties were fully aware of what they would be entering into, should they win the prize, which consists of: R250 000 in cash, a brand new car, a trip to Italy and an Italian cooking course, a year’s free supply of wine and a sommelier course, as well as the Tsogo Sun restaurant opportunity. Naidoo adds, “I never expected to have R8 million in my bank account and any reports that suggest this are simply untrue. I wanted to clear up the misconception that this might be the case, and in the process, it was asserted that I’ve been let down by M-Net and Tsogo Sun. This is inaccurate.” Naidoo will embark on his restaurant adventure in November’.
The Citizen has written a follow-up story, confirming the accuracy of their article: ‘We reaffirm the accuracy and veracity of the story and would like to express our disappointment with M-Net and Naidoo’s reaction’. The newspaper stated that Deena had provided the information to their journalist, and that she had followed up with him to make sure that he was happy with the quotes attributed to him.
The Cape Argus wrote on Tuesday that ‘the bulk of the R8m prize comprises the anticipated profits from “owning” the restaurant’, quoting Ms Engelbrecht.
A Direct Message to Deena yesterday afternoon via Twitter, requesting guidance as to which story to believe, has not been replied to. Deena stopped Tweeting altogether after The Citizen article appeared yesterday morning. Whatever the outcome of this furore, the reputation of MasterChef SA, Tsogo Sun, M-Net, the chef judges, and its affiliated sponsors has been severely damaged by The Citizen article. If Deena did speak to the media, this will have been a major wake-up call to him to deal with the media with kid gloves!
POSTSCRIPT 28/7: Deena Naidoo started Tweeting in the early hours of this morning again, ReTweeting a link to an iol.co.za article. In the article he discusses the short-term future with his new restaurant: ‘While Mondevino has a strong Italian focus, Naidoo says, when he takes over, that will change. ‘Expect a menu of dishes ranging from pap and tomato gravy to milk tart and even my butter chicken.’ While Durban-born Naidoo said he would have liked to open a restaurant in his home town, this won’t be the case. “The location was earmarked for various logistical reasons. It is in a vibrant area with huge potential and, as industry leaders, I understand and trust in Tsogo Sun’s reasoning.” Even though a move to Joburg looks inevitable, he has no plans to uproot his family just yet. “I’m only thinking about the next three months for now and I will continue working (for Nedbank) and we will continue to stay in Durban,” he said’.
POSTSCRIPT 29/7: Deena Naidoo is quoted in the same iol.co.za article that the MondoVino restaurant will come under his ‘expert hands from November’, which seems inaccurate given that he has never run a restaurant before, and will not be at MondeVino more than 5 times a month.
POSTSCRIPT 29/7: In the Sunday Times today the newspaper reports that Deena Naidoo has not made himself available to the media for clarification of this media furore, as we too have discovered, still awaiting his reply, implying that Deena is now under the strict media control of M-Net’s PR department, one of the prices he will have to pay for having won MasterChef SA. The newspaper adds that Deena will receive a three month ‘business training’ programme, to teach him Financial, HR and Restaurant management. An odd sentence, to explain why he would only be at the restaurant five times a month, is: ‘Also, if I start running the place, I will lose the passion that brought me into this competition, and that is to cook‘! In contrast to media reports earlier this week, Deena is said to have indicated that he will not make drastic changes to the restaurant ‘just to show people that I am there‘!
POSTSCRIPT 30/7: There is another side to Deena Naidoo coming to the fore – from his gentlemanly and humble personality projected on MasterChef SA, he showed defiance when he Tweeted yesterday in reply to a question about cutting corners with the apples in his dessert he prepared in the Finale as follows: ‘instinct told me to do that hate following recipes‘!
POSTSCRIPT 31/7: Channel24 reported today that The Citizen has lodged a complaint with the Broadcast Complaints Commission of South Africa against Talk Radio 702 for describing its MasterChef SA report last week as ‘misleading’ and for M-Net’s Ingrid Engelbrecht calling it ‘very inaccurate‘. The complaint is based on the code’s requirements that facts must be truthfully presented, that opposing points of view must be presented, and that a right of reply must be offered. The newspaper says that the radio coverage about the newspaper’s report did not meet any of these requirements.
POSTSCRIPT 2/8: Caryn Gootkin, blogger and media writer, has used her legal background to analyse the MasterChef SA prize package, and found various descriptions by M-Net about its MondoVino restaurant prize. The broadcaster’s PR department refused to make the contestant contract available, which we were refused as well. She introduces the article by saying that the ‘ingredients for a disaster were there from the start‘! She believes the issue could contravene the Advertising Standards Authority code on trust.
POSTSCRIPT 22/8: Channel 24 reported today that an anonymous person has lodged a complaint of ‘misleading advertising‘ against M-Net for its alleged misrepresentation of the MasterChef SA MondoVino prize at the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA). The ASA has confirmed that the complaint has been lodged, but has not revealed the identity of the complainant. It is awaiting the response from M-Net’s legal team.
Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage: www.whalecottage.com Twitter: @WhaleCottage
MasterChef SA is Finalist Samantha Nolan’s dream come true, has a heart for cooking!
MasterChef SA Finalist Samantha Nolan showed her leadership skills in the team competition in episode 5 of MasterChef South Africa last week, with her Red team winning the Harvest Celebration lunch challenge. Her selection of mainly Cape Town Finalists to her team reflected her loyalty to Cape Town and to the team members that she had got to know in the earlier rounds of the reality TV show competition, and who had become friends. She appears to be a strong contender for the title, not having been faulted by the judges in the episodes to date.
Samantha agreed to an interview immediately when I called her, subject to the approval from M-Net’s Senior Publicist Ingrid Engelbrecht, as we had to obtain for our interview with Finalist Guy Clark. I asked Sam to choose a suitable venue, and even offered to drive out to Table View, but she selected Andiamo in the old Cape Quarter.
Samantha brought along her husband Paul, and he comes across as the most wonderful supportive husband one could wish for, the two making a good team. They ‘met’ telephonically fifteen years ago, both working for ESKOM, and he called her in the Medical Aid department with a query. On his next visit to Johannesburg, where she was based, they met, and the rest is history. Both had two children from their previous marriages, and now the family of six lives in Cape Town. Paul left his job at ESKOM, and has become an electronic contractor, with contracts in Kazakhstan, Kenya, and Liberia, the family joining him for the first two contracts. Disaster struck when Samantha had a heart attack last year, while Paul was in Liberia, and a rare genetic defect, being a shortage of chemicals which had never been evident before, was diagnosed. She takes medication for the condition now. She said that the stress of MasterChef has not affected her at all. It did mean however that she could not join Paul in Liberia, because of the poor medical conditions in that country. Paul works six weeks away, and then comes home for two weeks. He finishes the contract next month, and then wants to start a facilities management consultancy, helping companies like ours with all maintenance requirements.
I asked Samantha where the MasterChef interest had come from, and she said that she saw the first Australian programme three years ago, and just knew that she wanted to be part of it when it came to South Africa. She has been Googling it over this period. She dreamt about being a contestant, and having become a Finalist is her dream come true. She is proud to have made Top 15 to date, out of an initial field of 9500 applicants. For her cold audition at the Cullinan Hotel in Cape Town, when they were reduced down from 4000 to 120 contestants, she prepared hot cross bun ice cream with clotted cream (a challenge to find the unpasteurised milk), making it all herself, which she served with three berry sorbets and a white chocolate ganache. She loves experimenting with and making ice creams, something she developed when they lived in Kenya, as ice cream is very expensive there. For the Hot audition in Johannesburg she prepared ceviche, seeing in the last minute that it had to be a literally hot and cooked dish, having interpreted it figuratively initially. She quickly had to rewrite her recipe, creating a dish called ‘Fish cake journey‘, which represented three types of cultures in South Africa, and it put her into the final 120 finalists, and earned her the MasterChef SA apron:
* the European influence was represented by salmon with dill sour cream
* the South African influence, being smoked snoek with curry and a sweet chilli sauce
* the Asian influence, being a prawn fish cake with a ponzu dressing
Taking part in MasterChef SA was something she absolutely wanted to do, and despite Paul being in Liberia, and the Finalists having to be at Nederburg for up to two months without contact with her family, the family made a plan to make Samantha’s dream come true. Her 14 year old son Ryan seems to be following in his mom’s shoes, and had the cooking duty for his siblings, her daughter Caitlin did the shopping, each child having specific chores. A friend down the road kept an eye on the children, and took them to school. The children Skyped Paul daily, and so any problems were sorted out with Paul, even if he was far away from home, so that Samantha could be focused on what she was doing at MasterChef. The children enjoyed the experience too, learning to be responsible, and independent. Her family organisational skills, with Paul away so often, seem to have benefited Samantha, from what we have seen in MasterChef so far, not easily getting rattled. It appears that the judges did not manage to bring her to tears in the series.
Samantha looked soft and gentle in the interview, with her long blond hair loose, something I hadn’t seen in the show as it always tied back, but it is clear that Samantha is organised, determined, and focused. She is honest and direct, reflecting her European background, with her father being Dutch, and her mother half Dutch and half Austrian. Her dad didn’t cook, being better at woodwork, but her mom cooked European dishes, such as pea soup and ham, ‘kroketten’, ‘potjiepot’ (similar to our potjiekos), poffertjies, and she baked cakes, rusks, and spekulaas with her mom. She described herself as ‘a dutiful daughter’, in helping her mother, who lives in Johannesburg, and owns a B&B there. There is a lovely relationship between Paul and Samantha, and sometimes she looked to him for answers, or he would prompt her about something she had cooked. He proudly said: “I get anything I want culinary-wise”. But Paul did admit that he is a fussy eater, and he has exact requirements for his fried eggs! I got the feeling that Samantha can be independent, but that Team Nolan always comes first.
Samantha has a curious interest in food, and told me how she tried to make mozzarella herself. She found it very difficult to find unpasteurised milk, and said that she won’t be trying this again. She taught herself to make artisanal bread when they bought some from Olympia Café in Kalk Bay at a market out their way. She developed her own recipes, and she bakes a selection of breads, including olive ciabatta, epi breads, baguettes, seed loafs, and paninis, for friends, using Eureka flour. She says she has a standard domestic oven. She describes herself as a ‘home cook’, and says she really got cooking when they used to eat out, and they were rarely happy with what they were served. She would head home and recreate the dish, making it better than they had experienced. She told me how she spoilt the children and their friends in Kenya one day, when she made them self-made ‘McDonalds’ breakfast burgers, with a patty, cheese, and egg on a muffin, which she wrapped in wax paper, and then ‘branded’ with the McDonalds logo. The children loved them, and she still receives ‘orders’ for them! So too she has made them the KFC ‘Famous Bowl’.
I asked her what favourite dish she likes to prepare most, and Paul said it is her spit braai lamb. What makes it so special is her marinade, for which she uses garlic, olive oil, lots of lemon juice and rosemary, pepper, whisking this in her Bamix. Both like to braai, but their techniques differ, Samantha keeping her grid closer to the coals, and therefore cooking her meat more quickly. She is good at making sauces, and makes her own Hollandaise, mayonnaise, and other sauces.
She told me how moving it was to do the braai challenge at the Cradle of Humankind outside Johannesburg, a beautiful, humbling and amazing experience, made all the more special that no one else had ever prepared food in this sacred space before, or probably would not do so in future. In Paarl the group of 18 finalists was divided into three groups, and they took turns to cook for each other at night at the guest house at which they stayed. She says that when they first started, they made fancy dishes for each other, but over the two month period they got to know each other better, and relaxed the level of cuisine over time. Samantha shared a room with Sue-Ann Allen, also from Cape Town. She said that the MasterChef kitchen at Nederburg was ‘amazing’. MasterChef SA was tough, she said, a true test of character. She did reveal that the sending back of her Red team’s pork shoulder in episode 5 by Chef Andrew Atkinson was ‘just TV’, as it had been cooked perfectly! I asked her what the worst part of the show was, and she said there was nothing. The best part was ‘everything’, she said, loving it, ‘a surreal experience’, and a ‘dream come true’. Her end goal in participating is to win the title, but just having been part of it is a huge honour. I asked her about the restaurant prize which goes to the winner, given her four children and husband, and she answered immediately that it is no problem at all, and that she would relocate to Johannesburg to take up the prize as Chef at MondoVino, if she were to win. Her mother is in Johannesburg, and it is a place that she knows, having grown up there. She praised the judges, saying how nice they were, ‘all great guys’. The tears on the show were real, and are important for such a reality show, wanting emotion. She said that it was easy to break the Finalists’ resistance, giving the long days they had on set, so the tears came easily.
I asked Samantha how she decides what to cook for the family, and she told me that she loves reading cookbooks and magazines. She rarely repeats what she has made before. She will wake up, and decide that it is a ‘duck day’, or a ‘lamb day’, for example, and then look for a recipe that will be interesting to make. She loves making an orange chocolate mousse, Paul said. She couldn’t tell me what her personal favourite dish is, but finally said that it is pizza, the family having three favourites at different times of the day : For breakfast it’s the BBB, topped with bacon, banana and chilli; for lunch it’s topped with salmon and avocado after; and for dinner it’s the PPP (peri peri and prawns).
I asked Samantha if she is treated like a ‘celebratory’, and she laughed and said ‘unfortunately not yet’. Her children are very proud of her, and want to boast about their mom, and are a little surprised that she is not recognised everywhere she goes, wanting her to tell others that she is MasterChef Sam. She has just been profiled in the Tygerburger, and more people in their area are recognising her. Samantha couldn’t answer what her favourite restaurant is, first saying Thai Café, which is near Andiamo, where they enjoyed the crispy duck, but she admitted that her home is her favourite! M-Net encouraged the Finalists to sign up on Twitter, and Samantha (@SamanthaLNolan) says she is getting used to it. She is more active on Facebook, where she has a fan page onto which she posts recipes.
Samantha and Paul Nolan are a lovely couple, make a great team, and Paul clearly is proud of his talented wife. He watches the MasterChef SA episodes from Liberia via live streaming. Their dream is to start a pizza restaurant together, but they were not very specific about where they would set it up or when. Hearing how determined Samantha was to get into MasterChef SA, and having made her dream come true, it can just be a matter of time before the Nolan Pizzeria opens.
POSTSCRIPT 24/4: Samantha sent a photograph of her MasterChef logo steak and Guinness pie she baked with her son Ryan just before the start of the MasterChef SA episode tonight.
Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com Twitter:@WhaleCottage
MasterChef SA: ‘Mr Nice Guy’ Guy Clark is a model finalist!
One of the nicest MasterChef SA Top 18 finalists must be Guy Clark, from his appearances in the reality TV show series to date, always staying in the background, with never a hair out of place. Last week we had the privilege to meet with him for an interview at I ♥ my Laundry.
A surprise was that Guy had to run the interview request past Ingrid Engelbrecht, the M-Net PR executive, and ideally she wanted a list or questions which she could approve. As the meeting was planned as an informal chat, Guy was comfortable that we could meet without such a list. He asked me to send a copy of this article to Ms Engelbrecht, for her approval, demonstrating the extreme confidentiality which the 18 finalists have been subjected to via a contract, which could see the MasterChef SA title being removed, and M-Net suing the contestant(s) leaking any information for damages ‘which one would have to pay off for the rest of one’s life’, Guy said. Of all the 18 MasterChef SA finalists, Guy has been the most quiet on Social Media, especially on Twitter, not having Tweeted at all. He says that they were encouraged to open a Twitter account, and given Tweeting guidelines by M-Net. He claims to not really know how to do it! He told me that he does not go out to public bars, to avoid drinking, which could possibly lead him to inadvertently slip any information. Given that they are in the public domain now, contestants must be responsible with their Tweets, he said. Guy and his fellow Finalists will be in an information ‘bubble’ for the next 13 weeks, all knowing who has won MasterChef South Africa, and all subject to the same stringent confidentiality conditions. M-Net is watching their Social Media output closely, to ensure that no one slips any details. While the finalists may Tweet about previous episodes, they may not write or say anything about any of the remaining episodes.
I asked about the prize, and Guy told me that there is no second or third prize – the winner of MasterChef SA takes it all, a prize in value of R8 million, including R250000 spending money from Robertsons, a Hyundai car, a trip to Italy paid for by Woolworths, a sommelier course and wines from Nederburg, and a job as the Chef at MondoVino restaurant at Montecasino for a year. The restaurant job prize had intrigued me, as it could be discriminatory to non-Johannesburg-based finalists, as well as to stay-at-home moms, for example. Guy told me that they had thought about this, and that the restaurant prize can be taken in various ‘packages’, not being able to explain exactly how this will work or what this means.
The past few months of MasterChef SA have been so exciting and demanding that Guy appeared to not be able to remember exactly when they did the ‘Bootcamp’ in Johannesburg, and when they started at Nederburg outside Paarl. He said that he had lost all concept of time whilst on the show, not being able to judge how quickly time was passing, being totally dependent on the MasterChef SA clock. All 18 the Finalists stayed at Augusta guest house outside Paarl, and the Finalists who were booted out had to go home immediately. They all returned for the filming of the last episode, in which the winner of MasterChef SA is announced. Guy spoke fondly of Charles Canning, a good cook and therefore a surprise elimination in episode 4, who was regarded as their rock, ‘the dad of the house’, who spoke to the producers on the Finalists’ behalf when he was still there.
Guy gave up his job as a property broker for two months, with the blessing of his bosses. This has been his job for a number of years, after the family business Clark Property closed down, one in which his dad was a property developer and his mom an interior decorator. He laughed when he told me that his career as a model was short-lived, having only appeared in one unpaid shoot. Guy’s first cooking was when he was 14 years old, trying to impress a girlfriend by making pasta alfredo for her. The good reception it received gave him confidence, and he increasingly cooked, volunteering to cook dinners at home. He honestly said that his mom was not the best cook, preparing ‘sensible dishes’. He is self-taught, and is interested in flavour pairing in food. His childhood memory dish, which was not shown in episode 4, was a dish which reflected both his parents: his dad loves Thai food, and his mom chicken and grapefruit, so Guy made a Thai sauce reduction which he stuffed into a chicken breast, and served with Julienne vegetables and caramelised grapefruit.
Six days a week over a two month period the Finalists started their MasterChef SA day at 5h00 and they returned to The House at about 20h00. Guy couldn’t really tell me where the time went, but some if it went to setting up the film production, to filling up the Pantry, to meals they had on set, and the filming of each Finalist’s dish, not all of which has been seen in the past four episodes. In the ‘dead waiting time’ they struck up friendships amongst each other, and learnt from each other. The Finalists had to hand in their cellphones, not being allowed any communication with the outside world. Guy said that it was intimidating to hear the use of terminology about cooking used by the other Finalists, but then some of his cooking knowledge also impressed some of the other contestants. Hearing that Finalist Thys Hattingh owns 1000 cookbooks was intimidating, he said. Each time they prepared a dish, they had to set aside a side plate portion of the dish, so that the judges could quickly taste all Finalist dishes off-camera while they were reasonably hot, leaving the beautifully plated (but by now cooled down) dishes to be filmed, and which the judges tasted whilst being filmed. Each Finalist was also interviewed about his/her dish after it had been prepared, which interviews were cut into the shots of them cooking, as if they were taking a break to speak to the camera, for the episodes.
Each of the judges had a specific role in the evaluation of the dishes and MasterChef SA Finalists: Chef Pete Goffe-Wood judged the efficiency, accuracy, and the Finalists’ ability to handle the ‘heat in the kitchen’; Chef Andrew Atkinson is very nice, the best chef of the three, Guy said, having won lots of gold medals for his food preparation, and his task was to judge the plating and flavours; Chef Bennie Masekwameng looked smart in his suits on the set, but off-camera he was very ‘Johannesburg chilled, cool, and relaxed’. He looked after the ‘heart’ of the Finalists, and was particularly good at evaluating the African dishes.
Not all Finalists’ dishes are shown in each episode, as was evident in episode 4, and a number of the Finalists questioned on Twitter why their dishes were excluded. Guy was critical of them about this, as he said the producers have given and will give a fair spread of coverage to each Finalist throughout the 18 episodes. In each episode some of the best and worst dishes are shown. The bottom five went into the ‘Pressure Test’ in episode 4, but in the episodes ahead it may not always be five going into the ‘Pressure Test’ – it appeared that whole teams could have been subjected to this too. In episode 5 the trailer intimates that the team members had to vote out a Finalist, a hard task as they had become friends. Recipes were provided for the ‘Pressure Test’ challenges. Not yet shown was the Master Classes done by outside real world chefs about how to make their signature dishes, to which only the Finalists who had received a ‘reward’ for good work were invited. Guy could not tell me who the chefs were, but I speculated that Chef Reuben Riffel, endorsing MasterChef SA sponsor Robertsons’ products, was one of them, to which he did not reply. The Robertsons’ TV commercials have the pay-off line ‘Masterclass’, and on their website Chef Reuben shows how to make really basic dishes such as garlic bread, and chocolate and banana. I asked Guy what role Chef Vanie Padayachee played, now Chef at Le Quartier Français, and he said that her role would be revealed over time. He praised Chef Arnold Tanzer, the Culinary Director on the show, who filled up The Pantry, pre-tested recipes, and checked the Mystery Boxes.
Guy had only watched four episodes of MasterChef Australia, and they all watched MasterChef America while at The House. He said that MasterChef SA has its own unique identity, and is not as brutal as the USA version. The local judges were fair, and did not attack the integrity of the Finalists, only the dishes being criticised. Their confidence surged when they received praise from the judges, but could as easily be dashed by criticism. The cameras focusing on them, the time constraints, and the judges asking questions created pressure and ‘cooking adrenaline’. Finalist Thys used a lot of expletives while cooking, and received a few words about this from the judges, none shown in any episodes to date (the programme has a PG13 rating). He has used them in his Tweets too.
Guy has two reasons for participating: to test what he is capable of in terms of cooking, and to attract awareness for his Black White Green rhino conservation fund, for which he is generating monies by printing rhino pictures for sale. He said that he will donate half his prize money to the fund, should he win. The R8 million prize package was a very strong motivation to give his best. He was inspired most by Finalist Sue-Ann Allan, also from Cape Town, who has the same age, and who impressed him by giving up her job as a lighting designer and selling her car, so that she could participate in the show. Guy warned that the winner is not predictable, and that there were some ‘wild cards’ to come in future episodes.
Should Guy win MasterChef SA, he will give up his career and follow his real passion, being cooking, and will open a restaurant. I asked if it would be in Cape Town, and he answered that it would be where ‘the money is’, hinting at Johannesburg.
PS: Ingrid Engelbrecht, Senior Publicist at M-Net, sent us this information about the contestant confidentiality: “The confidentiality clauses in the contestants’ contracts with M-Net are the standard clauses that appear in any agreement between a contestant and the broadcaster when a series has been pre-recorded. They are in place so that no information is leaked about the show’s content in advance, thus spoiling the viewing experience of the show for fans”. She also explained (vaguely) how the restaurant prize could be dealt with: “Regarding the restaurant prize, Southern Sun is happy to tailor-make the options in order to meet the needs of the winner and to ensure that all parties are happy going forward with this amazing prize. They will take into account factors such as the contestant not being from Johannesburg, having a family and any other obligations, and will assist to whatever degree is necessary”.
POSTSCRIPT 16/5: Guy Clark was eliminated from MasterChef SA last night, for his soufflé not meeting the judges’ approval. When I called to commiserate today, he was ever the gentleman, saying that the judges’ decision was fair, and that they walk around the finalists all the time, having a good idea of what they are doing. Exciting news is that he is making his dream to become a chef come true, starting at a well-known Cape Town restaurant group.
POSTSCRIPT 19/5: It’s official: Guy Clark is starting as a chef at the Madame Zingara restaurant group on Monday.
Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com Twitter:@WhaleCottage