MasterChef 2 episode 18: the great bobotie battle


“Getting everything perfectly cooked”

Wednesday night was all about cooking for the coveted immunity pin. Invention test winner Tiron donned his personalised chef’s jacket with anticipation and pride as the winner of the fruit challenge in Tuesday night’s episode, and went head to head with a top celebrity chef.

“Her restaurants are placed in Eat Out’s Top 10 on numerous occasions; and hers was restaurant of the year in the La Motte People’s Choice awards. She was born and raised in KZN Midlands, where she is head chef at the 5-star boutique hotel, Hartford House,” said Judge Pete Goffe-Wood.

Joanie was air-punching and beside herself with excitement before Pete Goffe-Wood even announced it was Jackie Cameron. “She’s an amazing chef and I feel like a frigging groupie at rock concert,” she gushed.

Chef Jackie believes in fresh ingredients and feel that it’s a really exciting time to be a chef in South Africa. Hartford House focuses on local produce and aims not to over-complicate or confuse the ingredients on the plate.

Jackie unveiled the dish, one of her favourites: coq au vin using guinea fowl served with gnocchi, pea purée, pearl onions and parma chips. Jackie and Tiron had to re-create the dish, with 75 minutes to prepare. Tiron was given a 15-minute head start and tried to make the best of it.

Blind tasting the results, the judges got stuck into the dishes. It was a tough choice between dish one and two, but eventually Tiron was revealed as plate one, scoring 21/30, with Jackie “soaring to victory” with 25/30.

Main course

“The fixer”

Pete Goffe introduced the elimination challenge to Ozzie, Joanie and Karen: “Even in the finest kitchens chefs have bad days, but great chefs know how to correct their mistakes. We, as chefs, are always having to think on our feet and fix up on the fly.”

Then judge Andrew Atkinson lifted the lid on what was declared South Africa’s national dish in 1951, bobotie. Ozzie, Joanie and Karen had to resurrect this eggy mince dish and return it to its original glory using their own selection of spices, curry powders and other ingredients – in only seven steps.

Ozzie had never made a bobotie in his life and the judges were doubtful if he could pull it off. Joanie also seemed on shaky ground and her inclusion of bay leaves into the mince and not the custard that bakes on top of the mince, caught the eye of the judges. Karen was flying and seemed very self-assured about her selection of ingredients until she selected fresh coriander and realised it wasn’t what she needed. For the last step, the contestants were allowed up to three ingredients.


“Eight is enough”

First up, Karen was happy about her dish and how she put it together, but judge Benny Masekwameng said she played it too safe and her dish lacked seasoning. Up next was bobotie novice Ozzie. He believed his savoury custard resembled more of an omelette, but Andrew was “blown away” by the flavours it brought. But was it a traditional South African bobotie, asked Benny. Finally it was Joanie’s turn for the taste test. Her dish lacked seasoning and flavour and the oiliness from the cream she used let her down. She hung up her apron in a flood of tears.

Next week, the top eight jet off to London, so remember to tune in on Tuesday for the trans-Atlantic kitchen capers

After-dinner cheese

“I cannot believe how bad mince tastes without seasoning or aromatics put into it. It just tasted dead!” said Joanie, during step one of the elimination challenge.

By Priscilla Urquhart

Tune in next Wednesday morning for a run-down of Tuesday night’s episode, and check out our MasterChef SA page, sponsored by Nederburg, for weekly updates.

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