Entries tagged with “Syddah Essop”.


MasterChef 17 RoxiAs we predicted in our blogpost yesterday, Roxi Wardman was crowned MasterChef SA Season 3 winner last night, and has waved her career at Transnet as an assistant train driver goodbye.  While her ‘opponent’ Sipho Mdlankomo is widely liked, there should be no debate about the fairness of the result, as the scoring was shared at every step of the three-stage challenge which the Top 2 had to go through last night.

It was a shock to see the transformation in Roxi’s appearance, from always well-MasterChef 17 Roxi Red pink hairpresented in terms of make-up and bling bling jewellery while she was in the MasterChef SA kitchen, to her red/pink hair, heavy make-up, and proudly-visible tattoos which she did not have as a Finalist.  We had only seen one piercing above her lip in the past.  It seemed as if Roxi could not believe that she had won the competition.

The Top 2 finalists met up in the MasterChef SA kitchen for one last time, and were delighted to see the other 10 Finalists there too, coming in support of the Top 2.  An even bigger surprise was the surprise arrival of Roxi’s parents and her boyfriend Byron, as well as Sipho’s ‘boss‘, as she called him, his wife, and their (more…)

MasterChef 16 Top 4Last night’s two-hour episode was a bundle of nerves for both the Top 4 finalists as well as for MasterChef SA fans, with difficult food challenges.  With Ian Young and Philippa Robinson sent home, Sipho Mdlankomo and Roxi Wardman will be fighting each other for the Top slot.  The programme was divided in two halves, filmed on two different days.

Cake Challenge

The Top 4 were to bake a cake ‘fit for a queen‘ in the first hour, it not being known initially that a Finalist would be eliminated in each half.  Roxi was happy, desserts and cakes being her forté. Pastry Chef Lorraine Meaney from the Cape Grace hotel, a guest in Season 1, joined the kitchen, and set the challenge of a Cardamom Lemon Chocolate gâteau.  Chef Lorraine was the Head Pastry Chef (more…)

MasterChef 3 15 Top 5 ForagingMasterChef Season 3 is slowly coming to an end, with only three more episodes to go.  Last night it was clearly winter when episode 15 was shot in the Cape forests, the focus being foraging.  It also meant the end for Mel Sutherland, who was sent home due to an unsatisfactory ‘muscle (sic) ceviche with wild garlic panna cotta and squid ink jelly‘!

On arrival at the MasterChef SA Top 5 were told that they would have to find their own ingredients in nature. Chef Pete Goffe-Wood told them: ‘The first part of this challenge you have to find your own ingredients. And you’re going to do it in the way we’ve been doing it for thousands of years – you’re going to go foraging’.   The Top 5 were to go out into nature to gather (more…)

MasterChef 3 12 Contestants in aprons on beachEpisode 13 of the third Season of MasterChef SA continued its location in Mauritius, and the creators of the two weakest dishes in episode 12, being Penny Fitchet and Roxi Wardman, were to be pitted against each other in an Elimination Test.

The five successful Finalists from episode 12 received a sweet reward, being a MasterClass in Mauritian sugar by the Long Beach Executive Pastry Chef Sandra Scioli.  She showed them the different types of sugars produced in Mauritius, and which sugars are better to use for different types of baking.   It also demonstratedMasterChef 3 13 Sandy Scioli to the Finalists that the outcome of a dessert can be influenced by the type of sugar one uses.   Ian Young was impressed by the plating, ‘because it was very precise and very organised.  And you can see that a pastry chef has got a calmness about them that is very systematic. What she put on the plate was beautiful‘.

The Elimination Test was described as a ‘Fusion’ Pressure Test held at the Hasu Japanese restaurant at the (more…)

MasterChef 3 12 Contestants in aprons on beach It was lovely to escape to Mauritius with the Top 7 Finalists of Season 3 in episode 12 last night, and one could almost smell the mix of African, Chinese, Indian, and French spices which characterises Mauritian cooking.  Sparkling spicy Mauritian MasterChef UK 2012 winner Shelina Permalloo was the visiting judge, and broke the monotonous three-male-judges team we have experienced for all three seasons of MasterChef SA!

Shelina took the seven finalists to the fruit and vegetable market in Mauritius capital Port Louis.  She spoke to them about the food heritage of the country, and how it inspired her cooking and success. Many of the fruit and vegetable items stocked in the market were unfamiliar to our South African (more…)

MasterChef 3 10 four teamsIn MasterChef SA episode 10 last night five top South African sommeliers were invited to evaluate the pairing of two Tapas dishes of each of four teams with two Nederburg wines.  The Red Team won the challenge, winning a Secret Reward (it looks like it could be lunch at The Pot Luck Club), while the Blue Team had the lowest score, and will go into an Elimination Test in episode 11.

In winning the best chicken dish with her Coq au Vin in episode 9 last week, Penny Fitchet was honoured with the pairing of the eight finalists.  She paired herself with Francois Zietsman and decided on Blue aprons.  Philippa Robinson and Roxi Wardman were paired in the Yellow Team; Abigail Mbalo and Mel Sutherland were paired in the Green Team; and Ian Young and Sipho Mdlankomo were Nederbrug 56Hundred MasterChefpaired into the Red Team.  Each team had 60 minutes to prepare each of two Tapas dishes, to be paired with Nederburg 56Hundred Chenin Blanc for the first dish, and Nederburg 56Hundred Cabernet Sauvignon for the second dish.  We had learnt in a previous Season of MasterChef that the 56Hundred range was named after the price of 5600 guilders which was paid by Philippus Wolvaart to buy the farm which he named Nederburg.  Invited Sommeliers were Neil Grant, chairman of the South African (more…)

MasterChef 3 9 9 Finalits Whale CottageLast night MasterChef SA continued with more boring viewing, the simple task of the Invention Test being to make a MasterChef Chicken MasterPiece, using the whole chicken, including the giblets! It was surprising how poorly this challenge was executed.  Penny Fitchet won the Invention Test with her Coq au Vin, while Claire Allen was sent home.  It was shocking to see how casually Reuben Robertsons Riffel was dressed, with a crumpled pair of slacks and a round neck jersey, while his colleague judges Pete Goffe-Wood and Benny Masekwameng looked smartly dressed and professional!  Riffel was filmed with his hands in his pants MasterChef 3 9 Judgespockets too!  Shocking was the spelling errors in the M-Net media release!

Having returned back to the MasterChef SA kitchen at Nederburg, after having spent some time (and two episodes in Durban, Umhlanga, and Ixopo), the Finalists appeared happy to be back ‘home’ in their kitchen. On each cooking station was a black apron, with each contestant’s name embroidered on it.  The contestants had 90 minutes to prepare their chicken dishes, transforming the ‘common chicken‘ to a MasterChef chicken MasterPiece, Riffel said.  They enjoyed (more…)

MasterChef 3 8 Three Judges and RobertsonsCan Robertsons be any more dominant in MasterChef SA than in last night’s episode 8?  We have renamed MasterChef SA MasterRobertsons, as the hard sell of the spice brand in this Season 3 is becoming laughable!  One wonders how judges Benny Masekwameng and Pete Goffe-Wood (note his grumpy look in the M-Net publicity shot) must feel to have to push the brand, not an issue which Reuben Robertsons Riffel loses any sleep about, having cashed in on the spice brand for the past three years, thereby losing any credibility he may have previously had as a chef!

The episode started with the Blue Team, which lost the Team Challenge in episode 7.  Filmed on an interesting looking bridge in Umhlanga, directly at the ocean, the five Finalists Penny Fitchet, Refilwe Tselanyane, Roxi Wardman, Francois Zietsman, and Sipho Mdlankomo watching as Chef Benny was wheeled onto the bridge in a rickshaw, clutching a cloche, which he ceremoniously opened to reveal a Bean Curry Bunny Chow.  On the table surrounding the typical Durban dish was a collection of about 20 Robertsons spices and herbs, each MasterChef 3 8 Bean curry Bunny Chow MasterChefcovering a board with a black or a white sticker.  The task of the five Finalists was to each identify one of 15 spices and herbs in the BunnyMasterChef 3 8 Blue Team Whale Cottage Chow, just from tasting it.  The Finalists each drew a wooden cooking spoon with a number on it, to determine the order in which they had to identify the ingredients.  The Robertsons collection stood on a table with the ultimate kitsch tablecloth, in a bright orange, looking like rosettes.  Riffel clearly did not take History at school, confusing the role of Durban and Cape Town in linking our country to the East!

It was said by Riffel that the pressure would be on Roxi to identify the spices (more…)

MasterChef 7 Red and Blue TeamsLast night’s episode 7 of MasterChef SA was a Team Challenge, the ten remaining contestants divided into two groups of five, the Red team led by Philippa Robinson and the Blue Team by Penny Fitchet.  It was the most boring episode ever in the three seasons of MasterChef SA.

The ten contestants were flown to Durban (very wasteful, as the Team Challenge could just as easily have been done at Tsogo Sun hotels in Cape Town).  The contestant teams were seen walking along the Golden Mile, with many tourist hotels.  They arrived at the Southern Sun Elangeni & Maharani Hotel, having to cook in their The Grill Jichana restaurant kitchen. The hotel serves the largest number of guests of all hotels in the country, Chef Benny Masekwameng told the contestants.  The judges of their meal were invited guests, being the most long-standing waiters at the hotel, as well as at some other restaurants, their collective experience exceeding 400 years, with a consultant who does staff training. Some of the waiter guests had served Queen Elizabeth and other members of the Royal Family. Each team had to choose the best person to prepare the meat, fish, the chips, onion rings and sides, to manage the pass, to play waitress, and to prepare the sauces at the table, using a Flambé and Gueridon trolley, with a gas hob, chopping board, and cutlery drawer.

Penny’sMasterChef 7 Guest judges Blue Team consisted of Roxi Wardman, Refilwe Tselanyane, Francois Zietsman, and Sipho Mdlankomo, while Philippa’s Red Team was Ian Young, Claire Allen, Mel Sutherland, and Abigail Mbalo.  Penny was praised for being a teacher, standing her in good stead to lead her team. Chef Pete Goffe-Wood explained the use of the trolley, likening it to a ‘theatrical production‘: ‘Gueridon Service is a celebration of the theatre of food. You’re right at the table making food in front of your guests. It’s going to test you to your limits today’. (more…)

MasterChef 3 5 Eleven finalistsLast night’s MasterChef consisted of two parts – a happy team of eight Finalists driven to the home in the Karoo of cookbook writer Syddah Essop, and a nervous looking team of three Finalists who had to cook in the Pressure Test without electricity, which saw Ndumiso Mncwabe leaving the MasterChef SA kitchen.

The team met Syddah Essop, writer of ‘Karoo Kitchen‘, and she shared her knowledge about Karoo Cuisine with the Finalists.  Syddah grew up in Beaufort West, in the heart of the Karoo.  She traveled from farm to farm in the area with her father, who sought to protect the rights of farmers.  In this way she learnt a lot about the Karoo locals and their food.   It took her three years to compile ‘Karoo Kitchen’, as a salute to the culture and heritage of the Karoo.   The cookbook contains a diversity of local dishes, including standards such as melktert, rusks, Karoo lamb, and even sheep’s head!  The cookbook has received acclaim for documenting the Karoo cooking culture and heritage.  Syddah prepared a table full of Karoo delights for the Finalists. (more…)