What a beautifully set episode with sharp blue seas and sky and light brown sugar sand beaches. Eight Masterchef contestants gathered round on a perfect sunny day to be given their next daunting task: To cook in the Garden market of Zanzibar for 50 guests and sell their cuisine. The team that received the most income from the sales of their food will win the challenge of the day and the other team would be sent off to two elimination challenges.
Each team member was called up to choose one of 8 pegs with a colour code either blue or red and this would determine their team for the challenge. The contestants were given Tanzanian shillings to go to the market, source their food and prepare and serve it. Team Blue consisted of Thys, Deena, SuaAnn and Sarel as the Red Team were comprised of Ilse, Khaya, Manisha and Llungile. Presenting a table of fresh seafood of many varieties, chef George barbequed an arrangement for the contestants to taste. Chef Pete claimed that the best food is always found at the markets of a country and thus asked Chef George to replicate a typical market stall for the contestants. Food ranging from Lobster with Masala Spices , coconut bread, garlic bread and sesame bread, vegetarian samosa, banana plantain and shrimps, prawns and calamari, the contestants dug in, had the cuisine put onto hot coals and ate their hearts away.
Running frantically through the market with their maps, the ‘Mastercheffers’ were all shocked at the pungent smell of the fish market with Khaya taking a ‘breather’ due to her sense of smell being stronger. It was here at the market that she let out she was expecting! As cheer and excitement died down, they were all back to work focusing on the challenge ahead – To make the most money! The blue team being comprised of mainly boys handled the blood and guts of the fish market a bit easier except for Thys whom opted to stick to making the sweeter foods such as the corn fritters.
Having to feed about 50 people in a time span 6pm-10pm, and hoping to top in income of about 300 000 Tanzanian Shillings, both teams cooked up an ensemble of schwarmas, kebabs and vegetable fritters, with Khaya like Superwoman juicing sugarcane and other vegetables to up their sales. Ilse opted to add a lot of mango into their cuisine because it was traditional for Zanzibar cuisine to contain a lot of mango. Chef Pete confirmed that the contestants needed to be careful not to burn their seafood, whilst Deena was just going to get all their food sold.
As the countdown began to start the challenge there was already people queuing for the blue team and some even said that their food was better when it came to flavour and choice whereas the red team has much better presentation. It was evident that the contestants were serving up a storm as the Blue team managed to bring in 74850 Tanzanian shillings and the leading, winning red team managed to bring in 218000 Tanzanian shillings, or as Deena put it, “The girls really whipped out butts.”
As this is the spice kingdom, the blue team went into an elimination challenge that tested their knowledge of spices in their raw or natural form. This proved to be quite a tricky challenge as many of the contestants had only seen some of many of the spices in their processed form, either ground or powdered. Each was given a box of spices from which to choose their spice as Pete called them out. First spice was a lovely green fresh vanilla pod, followed by burnt orange turmeric which had a close resemblance to ginger with only the colouring as difference. Losing two Thys and Deena held up cardamom pods instead of Cloves as the third and final spice choice and were went into an elimination battle with a dish from a Zanzibar Chef.
Chef Jussi Husa who’s passion and dream was to put Zanzibar on the culinary map of the world and had been in Zanzibar for the past 15 years, presented his Delicately Smoked Swordfish Belly and commented the contestants needed to be careful not to over-smoke the fish as it will fall apart and the flavours would be destroyed. With 70 minutes allocated to prepare the dish, all went well up until Thys tried to julienne his salad and realised that he had over-cooked his Swordfish and Deena realised that he had done the same except that his fish was tastefully overdone as opposed to Thys whose texture had been overdone.
Up for tasting first was Thys who as expected presented a Swordfish dish that was cooked, instead of still cold and slightly opaque, although flavours were done perfectly he missed the pressure point of the test and was eliminated. Deena presented his dish with an overwhelming burnt flavour but yet managed to keep his Swordfish cold and opaque with a beautifully julienned salad, and he was safe although emotional to continue in the competition.
Thys left with no ill feeling stating that this was the best thing that has ever happened to him in his life and that he was truly grateful for the experience given him. His final statement: “I would do this over and over a million times.”
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