Chef Benny brought out an absolutely mouth-watering layered carrot cake of which the contestants had to choose 15 ingredients they thought was in the cake itself. I am sure I was not the only viewer who was jealous seeing the contestants each get cut a slice to taste. Mentioning that the aroma of the cake was delicious and each possible Masterchef digging in, they all tried wrecking their brains to get the ingredients they thought was unique to a carrot cake.
Chefs Benny, Pete and Andrew were looking for the bottom 8 contestants that didn’t choose walnuts and carrots, and those who made the mistake of choosing sultanas … unfortunately at a last minute they filled up their bottom 8 and started telling them what their elimination challenge would be. Each contestant had to choose from a bucket of utensils which were in pairs, the other contestant with the utensil you had, was going to be your teammate for the Heritage South African cuisine Elimination Challenge. Teaming up respectively Ilse & Manisha, Sue-Ann & Jade, Babalwa & Brandon and Deena & Thys, the chefs started telling them that they would have to cook in teams and the poorest producing team would be eliminated as a team. Their challenge was to race to a restaurant chosen by Masterchef to sample one of four truly iconic South African dishes.
The dishes given to the contestant celebrating a rich South African Heritage and full-bodied history was: Waterblommetjie Bredie (Sue-Ann & Jade); Tripe & Phutu Pap (Manisha & Ilse); Denningvleis (Thys & Deena) and Chicken Pie (Brandon & Babalwa). Claiming that they had never before cooked pap or tripe, Ilse and Manisha were absolutely nervous at tasting this dish prepared in Eziko Restaurant by Chef David Somdaka. Here they were informed that after cleaning the sheep’s innards and cooking it to perfection, when guests leave, the head of the sheep is a celebrated delicacy in their homes. Thys and Deena tasting the delicious Denningvleis from Biesmiella restaurant were quick at figuring out that there was distinct sourness and sweetness to their dish, even after Deena tried to get some vital info from the Chef, which was obviously denied as no chefs were allowed to give out their “trade secrets.” Brandon and Babalwa tasting a Chicken Pie from Volkskombius and Chef David Kriel, which he claimed was his mom’s recipe, they said that this was the best chicken pie they had ever tasted. Following their suit was Sue-Ann and Jade tasting Naomi Basson’s traditional Waterblommetjie Bredie and saying that it is the best lunch they have ever had. However nervous, Jade and Sue-Ann also figured out that they had to prepare a simple, yet well-balanced dish with no one flavour standing out from the next. Already nervous, they knew this was going to be a challenge.
Racing back to the Masterchef kitchen to replicate their iconic dishes, with only a total of 4 hours given to complete the entire challenge from tasting to producing, as usual the judges were walking around given their input and asking nerve-wrecking questions. The challenge here was to recreate the dish you tasted to absolute perfection without knowing the recipe or ‘trade-dish-secrets.’
Ilse and Sue-Ann cooking Phutu Pap from their pap container instructions, chef Benny was already telling them that their pap had to be of a specific consistency, and I think he almost looked a bit concerned when he found out they cooked according to instructions. Chef Pete offered his advice when he told Brandon that puff pastry takes a full two days to make and asking why he is trying to make his own. Brandon felt confident that he was going to get it right, and therefore putting himself and his teammate Babalwa at great risk, he continued ahead chilling, buttering and rolling his pastry many times over. Thys and Deena, confident on the other hand, were plunging ahead saucing their lamb, trying to get the raisin sweetness of the sauce balanced with the sourness of the tamarind, however making the mistake her of choosing raisins instead. Sue-Ann and Jade with limited time left prepared their Waterblommetjies carefully with perhaps too much caution given to not overcooking the ‘blommetjies.’
The countdown was to raise the final curtain for some, as the contestants frantically served up their dishes. Tasting their dishes would consist of tasting the original recipe (which was brought along from the Restaurants) followed by the tasting of their replication thereof. Thys and Deena were called up first and here it was established that they managed to although their lamb needed a bit more cooking time, their sweet/sour balance was perfect, and their dish almost looked exactly like the original apart from the glaring mistake of using raisins instead of sultanas. Following in their lead, Babalwa and Brandon brought their rendition of the puff pastry chicken pie. Unfortunately for them, their chicken pie had shrunk as the puff pastry had solidified and become a bit too biscuit-like. Chef Pete pointed out here that the safer option would have been to choose pre-made pastry as the original recipe used pre-made puff pastry as well. Although the flavour was good and their presentation neat, this mistake cost them the competition and they were eliminated as the weakest dish of the afternoon. Sue-Ann and Jade were not safe after their ‘blommetjie’ failure due to their flavours not having been cooked together for long enough and each aspect of the dish being too separate and disharmonious from the other. Ilse and Manisha, even after having been so picky at tasting the Tripe dish and never having cooked tripe and pap before, as was expected their Phutu Pap was a failure in its consistency, but their excellent tripe flavour and texture made them the best performing team of the afternoon. Chef Pete even said that although he was not a tripe person, their dish was even better than the original.
Another week of Masterchef sifted the poor performers from the strong ones, and it was with great disappointment that Babalwa and Brandon were eliminated. If only they used pre-made puff pastry, maybe the judging would have gone in a totally different direction. Alas, they were asked to leave and Babalwa still proud of what she had achieved and the passion for food that the Masterchef Kitchen cooked up in her.
Almost a 3rd way through the competition, Chef Pete advised that the Masterchef competitors had to start realising that one of them would be Masterchef South Africa and that it is right there within each one of their grasp. “All you have to do is reach out and grab it,” Chef Pete said sincerely. With a renewed energy the contestants were sent home leaving us with Deena’s thought: “If you want to be Masterchef, you will have to earn it,” truly proving that this is not game of chance, but a game of choice and for lack of a better word “guts.”
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