JOHANNESBURG – Gourmet bush cook and veteran presenter Justin Bonello, along with a host of notable foodies, local chefs and South African celebrities, turned up at the Indaba Hotel, Fourways to judge the first round of regional auditions for the Third Season of the reality TV series, Ultimate Braai Master on Saturday 8 March 2014.
Sponsored by Pick n Pay, and supported by Coca-Cola, Renault Duster, Robertsons and Total, the Third Season is set to launch on ETV on Thursday 11 September 2014 at 8:30pm. The Call for Entry opened to the public in December 2013, calling hopeful Braai Masters from all across South Africa to enter online. From over thousands of entries, Justin along with his team from Cooked in Africa Films, the producer of the Series, short-listed 300 entrants (consisting of a Braai Master and a Braai Buddy) from around the country to take part in four regional auditions in Johannesburg, Port Elizabeth, Durban and Cape Town during March 2014.
Assisting Justin on the day with judging all the dishes were a team of over 20 local discerning chefs, celebrities and previous seasons’ contestants, including Head Chef of The Maslow Hotel, Dallas Orr; sous chef of The Cube Tasting Kitchen, Darren O’Donovan, restaurateur Steven Maresh of The Local Grill, head chef and owner of Luca’s Pizzeria, Luca Borella; head chef and owner of La Cucina du Ciro, Ciro Molinaro; head chef and owner of Ristorante Ritrovo, Fortunato Mazzone and 5FM DJ Rob Forbes; who judged each team on criteria including flavour, skill, presentation and of course gees!
Despite the miserable weather and the low turnout of only 40 teams, the Gauteng competitors impressed Justin and the judges on the day with some innovative and creative braai meals, ranging from Smoked Pork Belly with Maize Meal Chips and Exotic Mango Salsa to Smoked Springbok Loin Carpaccio to Lemon Crème Brulee.
Says Ultimate Braai Master Host, Justin Bonello “Despite the disappointing turnout, Gauteng Braai Master hopefuls really wowed us with the food they produced on an open fire. This is the first time in two seasons we have selected as many as 19 teams to go through to the second round of auditions. They set the bar really high for the other regions and we look forward to what Port Elizabeth is going to do this weekend.”
The Gauteng semi-finalists include:-
· Team Da Vans, friends from Kempton Park, Gauteng: Braai Master Donovan van Rooyen and Braai Buddy Vandre van der Merwe.
· Team Braai Code, best friends from Krugersdorp, Gauteng: Braai Master Allan Ridley and Braai Buddy Jaco van Wyk.
· Team Ala Mofepe, colleagues from Pretoria, Gauteng: Braai Master Freddy Buyane and Braai Buddy Jabu Mahlangu.
· Team Pot en Deksel, a married couple from Johannesburg, Gauteng: Braai Master Bradley Marais and Braai Buddy Vanya Marais.
· Team Sugar and Spice, friends from Johannesburg, Gauteng: Braai Master Celeste Raynard and Braai Buddy Chantel Geerdes.
· Team Sophia Tongs, brothers from Newcastle, KwaZulu Natal: Braai Master Sifiso Masango and Braai Buddy Collen Masango.
· Team X-Men, brothers from Edenvale, Gauteng: Braai Master Blaker Farham and Braai Buddy Gerald Farham.
· Team Afro Thunda, brothers from Chartwell, Gauteng: Braai Master Warren Mincher and Braai Buddy Dru Mincher.
· Team Le Gwaz, cousins from Soweto, Johannesburg: Braai Master Tebello Moiketsi and Braai Buddy Kekeletso Mathunya.
· Team Tong in Cheek, friends from Johannesburg, Gauteng: Braai Master Penelope Rider and Braai Buddy Dee Taylor.
· Team The Khumalo’s, a married couple from Boksburg, Gauteng: Braai Master Thandeka Khumalo and Braai Buddy Jabulani Khumalo.
· Team Old Guys Rule, friends from Delmas, Mpumalanga: Braai Master John Tarling and Braai Buddy Brenton Tyrrell.
· Team Couzzies, cousins from Mafikeng, North West Province: Braai Master Mohamed Raffee and Braai Buddy Muhammed Hayat.
· Team Simunye, friends from Pretoria, Gauteng: Braai Master Bryan Soobramoney and Braai Buddy Ettienne de Villiers.
· Team Charcoal Chix, a mother and daughter duo from Johannesburg, Gauteng: Braai Master Brenda Durow and Braai Buddy Alana Durow.
· Team Mixed Herbs Roasted Chicken, another mother and daughter duo from Roodepoort, Gauteng: Braai Master Donya Laing and Braai Buddy Elma Hepburn.
· Team Sekelbos, partners from Elandspark, Gauteng: Braai Master Philip van Rensburg and Braai Buddy Venessa Kuter.
· Team Kaiings and Afval, a couple from Johannesburg, Gauteng: Braai Master Hercules Enslin and Braai Buddy Santie Mostert.
· Team Simply Sisters, friends from Pretoria, Gauteng: Braai Master Busisiwe Dhladhla and Braai Buddy Thembeka Ngcobo.
Justin and his team of judges will be judging the second leg of the Ultimate Braai Master Season Three auditions in Port Elizabeth this Saturday, 15 March 2014. They will then head to Durban on 22 March 2014 at the Shark’s Kings Park Stadium and culminate with the Western Cape auditions on 29 March 2014 at the V & A Waterfront, the Lookout Venue.
The final 15 Teams to take part in the Third Season of Ultimate Braai Master: Time for Tough reality TV competition will be announced in April 2014, and will be competing to take home R500 000 cash, a new Renault Duster 4 x 4 valued at R260 000 and the title of Ultimate Braai Master 2014. Filming is set to start in May.
ULTIMATE BRAAI MASTER HOST
Cook, traveller and lover of life, Justin Bonello has done the very thing we all dream of – taking the things he cares most deeply about and making his world revolve around them.
He’s the guy messing about with the braai, burning the fingers on his one hand with a beer in the other; or in the kitchen fearlessly experimenting with flavours and ingredients, playing with his food. It might not always work, but as Justin says “without exception we all have flops from time to time but like life, food is about trying new things, making new friends and most of all, having fun. It’s all part of the process and when it works the rewards are sweet…or savoury!”
As a veteran presenter and producer, and founder of one of South Africa’s leading film production companies, Cooked in Africa Films, Justin has combined his three favourite things – Southern Africa, food and friends – into his daily work.
ULTIMATE BRAAI MASTER JUDGES
Bertus Basson started cooking at the age of 17 and by age 19 he spent three years in the big smoke of London, where he spent most of his time at the One start Michelin restaurant, Chez Bruce, in Wandsworth. He describes his work at this restaurant as the moment that changed his life because this is where he honed in on his culinary skills. Bertus attributed his love for fresh ingredients to working with Bruce Poole. “I learnt how to cook here,” says Bertus, who believes the experience provided him with real-life training that couldn’t be learned in a college. “I learnt how to take a proper bollocking and how to respect ingredients.”
As it happens, his visa eventually ran out and on his return to South Africa he opened the Arabella Hermanus as one of the Sous Chefs. During this time here he excelled in cooking competitions, and has represented South Africa in some of the world’s best cooking challenges, including Bocuse d’Or, Culinary Olympics and the Global Chefs Challenge.
At age 25 Bertus opened the doors of All Things Culinary with fellow chef and business partner Craig Cormack. This quickly became a very successful catering operation. The next project, Overture Restaurant, opened its doors in 2007 under the partnership of Bertus and Craig in the picturesque Hidden Valley in Stellenbosch. Since opening, Overture has accumulated several awards and has been included in the TOP 10 of the DSTV and FOOD NETWORK EAT OUT AWARDS for six years running and has also been awarded 3 stars in the Rossouw’s Restaurant Guide for two consecutive years. Bertus also runs a very successful hot dog vending business, called Die Wors Rol, makes wine and is involved with several good causes in the Stellenbosch area.
Bertus proudly cooks Modern South African cuisine and has creatively incorporated the Braai in many of his recent creations. Through his unyielding passion for all things culinary, Bertus has recently been named, by Men’s Health magazine February 2014, as a Game Changer: one of South Africa’s top 20 most inspirational (young!) men.
In 2012 Bertus came on board as a judge for the Ultimate Braai Master, he completed the second season in 2013, and is looking forward to joining The Cooked In Africa team in 2014 for the third season.
Petrus Madutlela’s (31) career is a whirlwind culinary-story and he’s fast becoming a name the world needs to watch out for! He was born in Motholung just outside Brits, North West Province, where he had dreams of becoming a doctor. Whilst working as a cleaner at the Pecanwood Country Club close to his home on the Hartbeespoort Dam, his fate took a turn for the best.
The Head Chef noticed his enthusiastic personality and gave him an opportunity that would soon shape the hands that were once headed for surgery, and mould them into working on creating top-class food across the world.
His hard work in the kitchen, and his continuous researching outside the kitchen – reading recipe books and entering competitions – earned him the attention he needed to start his career.
Since then, Petrus has been striving to get to the top. He is no stranger to competitions and has represented South Africa on many occasions. With varied establishments such as Le Quartier Francais, Avianto, Sun International and The Aqua Restaurant at the Sibaya Casino on his CV, Petrus has clearly put a lot of effort into learning as much as he can about the chefing trade.
Founder and Principal of the Stellenbosch Institute of Culinary Arts, Letitia Prinsloo, gave Petrus a well-deserved scholarship to develop his fast-growing passion. He moved to the UK with his British wife Shirley, who he met and studied with at Stellenbosch. Since then he’s worked in many restaurants alongside top Chefs, such as the Savoy in London, the Michelin Star Restaurant Chapter One in Kent, and as Head Chef of The Hengist, a two rosette restaurant near Aylesford. He is now working at The Vine Restaurant in Sevenoaks.
In 2011 Petrus briefly returned to South Africa after his creativity in the kitchen earned him the opportunity to take part in “Unilever Food Solutions By Invitation Only” chef competition. He walked away with the top prize of R40, 000.00 and the title Chef of the Year. Towards the end of last year he also made it into the quarter final of BBC TV series Masterchef: The Professionals. Michel Roux Jnr described Petrus as having a superb palate and the “ability to light up an entire room on entry”. Recently he represented the World Association of Chefs Societies as a member of the international chef “Dream Team”, a group of 8 Michelin Star chefs. They demonstrated state of the art recipes at the World Hospitality Competition in Dubai.
Petrus has enjoyed a thriving career as a chef in London, where he’s been living with his wife and young son since 2010. He will be returning to South Africa in May 2014 to start up chapter two of his life and join Executive Chef of Overture Restaurant, Bertus Basson in the third Season of Ultimate Braai Master as one of the competition’s two permanent judges.
Petrus dreams that one day he’ll open his own restaurant in South Africa, featuring food that’s simple, seasonal & authentic. He’s proud to be a South African.
Visit: www.ultimatebraaimaster.com for more information.
Pictures courtesy of Louis Hiemstra / Cooked in Africa Films.