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Central African Rep
Must Watch Videos
MasterChef recipe collection
MasterChef SA: No Quatier given
Sarel's interesting life
"A lot of things about me have changed"
Joseph Mosselson | Thu, 19 Jul 2012
DStvO: You’ve spoken about the competition being about the journey for you. What did you mean by that?
Manisha: I think the competition was a journey for all of us. My cooking has grown and improved; as a person I’ve changed and grown and hopefully improved. My core is the same, but a lot of things about me have changed since the competition started.
Masterchef's Manisha on the competition
D: How do you feel now that you’ve reached the end of that journey?
M: I felt OK when I left. I didn’t go out on one of my own dishes; I went through the competition never having a dish in the pressure test.
Masterchef SA's Manisha on being voted out
D: It must have been a big decision to enter the competition, being a newlywed and having to take time away to enter the competition. How did you arrive at that decision?
M: My husband and I made the decision together. When we were away I said I didn’t want to come back because I wasn’t sure how far I’d get. It was just before the hot auditions and he said “you have to give it a shot, because if you don’t you’re going to regret it”. Turns out he was right.
D: Have you had a chance to do any more honeymooning since you left the show?
M: No, it’s been really busy. I’ve been renovating my kitchen and redoing my house and all sorts of other busy things.
D: In terms of cooking, what have you been up to?
M: There’s a couple of things in the works. Jade and I are looking at doing a TV show together and I’m working on a cookbook and a product line.
D: What’s your show going to be about?
M: We’re looking at something around South African travel and food, as well as urban lifestyle. We want to keep it all very local.
We’ve been doing a lot of research; the show is going to be based around the places that South Africans don’t see and the kind of food being served in the more outlying areas, modernising it and giving our interpretations of those dishes.
Masterchef SA's Manisha shares her future plans
D: Speaking of your interpretation, you seem to have a very clear idea of what your style of cooking is. How would you describe it?
M: It’s what tastes good to me. I don’t like pretentious food, I like food that is delicious because it’s delicious.
Masterchef SA's Manisha decribes her style of cooking
D: What are some of your favourite ingredients?
M: I love garlic, I love fresh herbs. My favourite spice is cumin. I love lemon; paprika; mushrooms; steak. There’s tons of stuff that I really love.
D: What was your favourite moment of the competition?
M: There were two. One was winning the childhood memories challenge and the second one was the boerewors challenge.
Manisha's boerewors and butternut with mash, onions, pepperdew sauce and beet salad.
D: Do you think that winning that very first challenge put a lot of pressure on you?
M: I think two things happened. Suddenly I felt like I had a shot in the competition. Going into the house everyone knew so much about food that I didn’t and they had so much more experience than me. So I always felt like I was in over my head.
Winning that challenge made me realise that there was a place for my type of cooking in the competition.
Chicken three ways with curry sauce.
D: What did you find the most challenging?
M: The worst moment for me was the day that Jade went home. When she left I felt, for the first time, that I was completely alone in the competition. When she was there we supported each other and it felt like family. So when she left I felt very lost.
D: What was your relationship like with the other contestants? Do you still keep in touch?
M: I’m really close to Jade, Brandon and Lwazi, those are the people I still see in the real world. I think anybody who tells you that everybody loved everyone would be lying. There are people that I didn’t spend too much time with, it’s the nature of things that there will be people you like and people you don’t like.
D: Did you feel like there was a spirit of competition among the contestants?
M: Of course. With an R8-million prize there’s going to be competition.
D: Were you surprised at the reception you received when you left the show?
M: I was always most worried that people would not like me on a personal level. So the way that people have reacted to me and my food – there’s barely anything negative out there and it feels so good seeing the support I’ve gotten.
D: What was it like being judged by the judges on a weekly basis?
M: Until I got eliminated there was only one dish that received any criticism, so I didn’t get the negative comments. Before the elimination round, the only critique I got was that my chicken was overcooked during the Michel Roux challenge.
D: Do you feel like you could have done with more criticism?
M: I’m really happy that I didn’t get any negative criticism because it meant that I was doing something right. That’s a good feeling; I wouldn’t want them to be making it up for the sake of TV.
D: You did say your cooking has grown from being in the competition. How has that process been for you?
M: I think the main learning curve was just listening to what they [the judges] had to say. Chef Andrew always said “just trust your instincts”. I think that’s a very important lesson; sometimes you get so caught up in trying to do things that you forget that they are people who like delicious food. So if it does taste good, it’s going to taste good to everyone.
The other thing is listening to the critiques and learning how to do things. So, for example, if someone poached a pair and you didn’t know how to do it, you’d get a sense of how to do it from listening to them.
So you learn something from every episode and from every other cook.
Check out Manisha's recipe for poached pear with Amarula custard and chocolate sauce.
D: Have you developed a taste for tripe since you were on the show?
M: No I haven’t. I’ve done it and I’ll never do it again. [Tasting the tripe] was unbelievably tough, because the texture and the smell were not something I was accustomed to. Cooking something that I’m not familiar with and have no taste for was really tough, because the taste was so overpowering that it was hard to figure out what else was in there.
Manisha's recipe for tripe and phutu pap.
For more, check out the official
MasterChef South Africa
MasterChef SA: No Quartier given
Video: Top 10 MasterChef SA recipes
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