Image: Charlie Sperring
by Jan-Hendrik Botha
Our top 3 walked into the MasterChef SA kitchen, and a celebratory seven colours was about to be dished up – in celebration of the semi-finale.
Andriette, Tarryn and Shawn were still suffering from post-traumatic stress from the previous challenge. But they were ecstatic to see that their loved ones were joining them for a family feast.
Not only were we celebrating the semi-finale, but also the vibrant diversity of South Africa, and Twitterati joined in on the colourful festivities.
On the menu: roast (chicken, beef, or lamb) and side dishes with all the trimmings. The judges were looking for colour, texture, and flavour, be it sweet, savoury or, spicy – just like the rainbow nation.
To inspire our contestants, we invited Siphokazi Mdlankomo, season three’s runner-up, to the MasterChef SA kitchen.
Siphokazi encouraged our remaining contestants to do what they do best, and while their loved ones were observing from the gantry, they did just that.
Andriette was inspired by her dad, preparing a reimagined roast chicken for Sunday lunch. On her menu was roast chicken with crispy skin, served with fondant potatoes, cauliflower and biltong purée, cinnamon carrots, pickled onion, and beetroot. She felt that she deserved to be in the semi-finals and therefore wanted to present a beautiful plate – a little garden, as she would call it. The judges were impressed with her “boerekos”-inspired menu and the fact that she kept things simple and beautiful.
Shawn, on the other hand, was feeling bold and brave. He wanted to try something he’d never done before.
Not only did he have us on the tip of our seats, but Twitter felt a bit uncomfortable too.
“It’s total euphoria having [the family] here for the semi-final cook.”
On his menu was chicken ballotine with roasted peppers, served with wagyu steak, beetroot sponge, aubergine puree, and roast onion finished off with spinach chlorophyll oil.
Not only was Greg impressed with the processes taking place at his station, but the rest of the judges applauded Shawn for taking a risk to present a fine dining version of seven colours.
Tarryn also wanted to keep things simple. “If I decide to waver or get too complicated, the wheels are going to start coming off.” On her menu was bean and almond salad, harissa lamb, and confit beetroot served with corn and coriander pureé, honey, lemon, and mustard dressing, and a beef tallow chip.
Though her menu sounded delicious, she had Twitter buzzing when she started roasting her lamb with only thirty minutes left.
And with only ten minutes left and nothing on her plates, the judges seemed concerned, while Andriette and Shawn already had beautiful plates to present. Luckily she made it.
But when it came to judging, the judges were disappointed with Tarryn’s presentation. Siphokazi felt that, given the time allocated, her final dish was not up to standard with fine dining.
Everything was cooked to perfection, however, the judges felt that Tarryn’s dish lacked flavour.
Shawn’s dish, according to the judges, elevated the seven colours. They were quite impressed with the new techniques he brought to the challenge and how he avoided using anything in its traditional form. They felt that his dish was well cooked, well seasoned, and well balanced. And though the beetroot sponge didn’t have a distinctive flavour, Zola said it could be excused as everything else on his plate was flavourful.
After tasting Andriette’s dish, the judges were in two minds: while Greg felt her cauliflower pureé was too rich, Zola said that the richness was ideal to accompany the roast chicken. Justine felt that her plate was up to standard and beautifully presented and that her chicken was perfectly cooked – maybe not as crispy as she expected, but a very good attempt.
And while our contestants’ loved ones waited in anticipation to find out who would leave the kitchen, Zola announced that the finale would consist of two challenges...
...and that Shawn’s dish guaranteed him a spot in the second challenge.
Therefore, Tarryn and Andriette will compete in the first challenge for a spot to compete against Shawn in the second.
Our contestants spoke to us about how it felt to have their loved ones with them in the MasterChef SA kitchen. Watch below:
Who do you think will walk away with the grand prize? Join the conversation on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram with the hashtag #MasterChefSA. Remember to tune in for the MasterChef SA finale, Thursday, 31 March at 18:00 on M-Net channel 101. In case you missed the latest episode, catch up with DStv using your connected device.