Last night I saw the first episode of MasterChef SA Celebrity Chef, being episode 2. I missed out on episode 1 due to loadshedding on Sunday a week ago. It seemed a disorganised mess, the celebrities clearly not being well-endowed with cooking skills, and they came across as being really silly.
Chef Benny Masekwameng introduced the episode with the concept of Ubuntu, to symbolise the spirit of teamwork and togetherness. Celeb Tol A$$ Mo headed up the Red Team, and chose four other team members: TV presenter Lorna Maseko, singer Patricia Lewis, model Lerato Moloi, and comedian Chris Forrest. Actor Terence Bridgett was the leader of the Blue Team, and chose photographer Merwelene van der Merwe, radio presenter Alex Jay, TV presenter Sade Giliberti, andTV presenter Lunga Shabalala.
The challenge was to make pasta from scratch, and fill ravioli, getting the consistency right, said Chef Pete Goffe-Wood. He also said that ‘getting the consistency of the filling right is important, because if it’s too loose it won’t seal properly…and if it’s too hard you’re going to find it’s not very pliable and you’ll make holes in the pasta’.
Each team member had ten minute to prepare one stage of the dish, and Chef Pete Goffe-Wood was the time keeper, using a whistle to announce the 10 minute stages, much like a relay race.. Each team had 3 minutes to discuss their strategy. The prize for the winning team was R10000 for their charity, and a MasterClass at Huguenot Fine Chocolates.
The Red Team’s Chris chose ‘too much of everything‘ in the pantry, just in case they needed some extra ingredients. Chris started making the dough, but it was dry and crumbly, so he added the egg whites which he had separated out, but this did not help. Adding some flour made it better. Lerato took over. She said the pasta dough had flopped. She concentrated on chopping the bacon and mushrooms, as filling for their pasta pockets, which they were serving with bechamel sauce. Lorna restarted the pasta dough all over again, helping the team to catch up on time, and made it perfectly. Patricia is an expressive and dramatic cook, and cut out the pasta pieces too thick, and made the sauce. Mo added Parmesan to the sauce, to give it flavour. The judges said the salad was good, but that the pasta was too thick, and not delicate enough. It was made in a hurry, and was too chewy. It was dry, containing the bacon.
Sade of the Blue Team dashed to the pantry, and realised afterwards that she had forgotten to take cheese. Her team planned to make a sage and butternut ravioli in a white wine sauce. Merwelene chopped and cooked the butternut and sage, and the former was not soft enough, so she liquidised it. Lunga took over, and recooked the butternut. Alex said the Blue Team’s work station was a ‘panic station‘. He made the pasta but not the sauce. Terence had to finalise the ravioli, and got it into the pot in the last minute. He told the judges that he panicked, was ‘hysterical, and disappointed’. His team mates Lunga and Alex had let him down. The pasta was praised in being perfectly made, but was not very tasty. Chef Pete complained about its strong garlic taste. The butternut was undercooked.
The judges said it was hard to choose a winning team, as they both had highs and lows. The Ubuntu showed, Chef Benny said, in that they stuck together in their teams. The contestants were told that often simplicity is better, and that one should not over-complicate cooking. The judges named the Blue Team as the winning team, and the Red Team will go into the Pressure Test. Chris from the Red Team said that he was the ‘weakest link‘ of his team.
MasterChef SA Celebrity Chef. M-Net Channel 101. Sunday 18h00 – 19h00. Twitter: @MasterChef_SA