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An ode to Africa! – MasterChef SA

24 March 2022
Twitter joined in on the authentically African celebrations.
masterchef sa

Image: Charlie Sperring

by Jan-Hendrik Botha

While some viewers showed off their African creations online, not one but two pressure cookers were heating up in the MasterChef SA kitchen. 

In the latest episode of MasterChef SA, we welcomed guest chef Mmabatho Molefe to the kitchen. Mmabatho is a renowned female chef making strides for modern Zulu cuisine, turning traditional African food into a fine dining experience one dish at a time at Emazulwini Restaurant in Cape Town. 

For the taste challenge, Mmbatho's served six traditional Zulu dishes: Sims tasted beef heart; Tembisa, chicken gizzards; Tarryn, lamb kidneys, Dr Harri, chicken livers; Andriette, chicken feet, and Charmaine, beef tongue.

Our contestants were given 150 minutes to transform traditional offal into masterpieces en par with the six Mmabatho presented. 

Divided into teams of two, Tembisa (team leader), Charmaine, and Dr Harri drew red aprons, while Andriette (team leader), Tarryn, and Sims drew blue. 

And of course, what is a day in the MasterChef SA kitchen without a twist? In addition to the main course, each one of our two teams had to prepare an amuse-bouche with all the trimmings from their offal. 

Andriette had long been waiting to be a team leader. She wanted to prove once and for all that she was capable of stepping up to the challenge. But being the team leader of a challenge where she was unfamiliar with the hero ingredient was ironic. 

Getting started, Tembisa was concerned about butting heads with her team members. 

She seemed in control and confident throughout, but Twitter felt that Tembisa was sabotaging her. 

Dr Harri struggled to agree with Tembisa on preserving the taste of offal. He wanted to disguise it with a bit of vanilla, while she was set on preserving the authentic taste.

And though Dr Harri and Charmaine seemed sceptical, Tembisa warned about adding too much oil as offal is already quite fatty.

Twenty-five minutes remained, and while Shawn was observing from the gantry showing his support, nervous giggles started being interrupted by a very nervous yet firm Tembisa. Dr Harri decided to chuck the cabbage leaf dumplings to make last-minute dumplings with regular flour instead, saying that as an alternative, it might work. “What does he mean ‘we hope it’s going to work’”, asked Tembisa; but although she seemed slightly annoyed, she trusted the process.

Tembisa also realised that Charmaine had removed the terrine from the chiller and had to step in asking Charmaine to trust her. “It needs to stay in the fridge, if it gets too warm, it will come apart.”

At the blue team’s station, things were quite the opposite. Andriette took the lead on the plating, and not only did her team appreciate it, but Twitter loved it.

Tarryn felt Andriette had a clear idea and had thoroughly thought through the process – even though her bundle of English words was running out.

Furthermore, Tarryn complimented Andriette on constantly checking in with both her and Sims individually, making sure all was well throughout the challenge. 

Then came time for judgement. Six guests joined us in the MasterChef SA kitchen – all of wtih a keen sense of taste when it comes to traditional offal. 

At the table, we had Sepial Shim, chef and owner of Sepial’s Kitchen, Nyasha Gwatidzo, butcher and conscious meat merchant, Sisipho Mbeteni, sous chef at Emazulwini Restaurant, Smiso Ndluvo, chef and African flavour expert, Strone Henry, chef and owner of Side Wing, and Dr Anna Trapido, anthropologist, chef, and food writer, scoring both teams the same based on their taste sensations. 

But unfortunately, there can only be one winning team in this kind of challenge.

Our three judges loved the red team’s amuse-bouche, but though they were fond of the amazi dressing and sorghum tuiles complementing the main course, they didn’t appreciate the fat quantity in their terrine. According to Zola, it was far too overpowering, sticking to their palates and leaving them unable to taste the flavours in the dish. 

Justine, Zola, Greg, and Mmabatho all agreed that the blue team’s dishes complemented each other. And though they felt that the meat was too rich, they enjoyed the textures and presentation of the overall dish. 

Based on this feedback, our judges decided that the blue team deserved a spot on the gantry in the next pressure test. 

“Wow, English huh?” Find out if our contestants can differentiate between the following ingredients:

In the next episode, Dr Harri, Charmaine, and Tembisa will take part in a cook-off against each other. Who do you think is going home next? Head to FacebookTwitter, and Instagram and let us know by using #MasterChefSA. Remember to watch MasterChef SA every Monday to Thursday at 18:00 on M-Net channel 101. In case you missed the latest episode, catch up with DStv using your connected device.