A Masterchef reunion at this year’s Durban Good Food & Wine Show


Words: Janine Walker

It’s going to be a MasterChef extravaganza at this year’s Good Food & Wine Show in Durban with the launch of the not-to-be- missed Short Chef Skinny Chef and a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see the 2014 MasterChef Australia and MasterChef South Africa winners and finalists in action.

Winner of MasterChef Australia 2014, Brent Owens, will be joined by fellow Aussie finalist, the quirky and tattooed Renae Smith, labelled the “Mystery Box Queen” by Owens and her fellow Season 6 contestants. Also signed for the Durban Good Food & Wine Show is MasterChef South Africa 2014 winner Roxi Wardman, the leopard- print wearing former train driver assistant from Durban who recently opened her own Durban eatery.

Wardman makes a guest appearance in the Short Chef Skinny Chef theatre, launched by her former MasterChef South Africa competitors Siphokazi Mdlankomo and Claire Allen.

Fun, and interactive, this cooking performance will leave audiences full of laughs, learning interesting tips and techniques, pairings, cook's cheats and recipes they can make at home with ease. Aside from the dynamic duo of Siphokazi and Claire, there will be guest appearances from fellow MasterChef South Africa Season 3 contestants including Roxi, Penny Fitchet and Ndumeso Mncwabe.

Says Allen: “The idea for Short Chef Skinny Chef was born in Durban so it is fitting that we are launching the concept here. Sipho and I were roommates in Durban for the MCSA group challenge, we cooked off against each other but Durban was where the idea for SCSC was born. I always knew we would work well together and I am so excited to be finally launching this project.”

Since MasterChef Australia ended, like her South African counterparts, Renae Smith has also been busy on the culinary scene. She has worked closely with Barnardo’s Australia and created the “Cooking from the Cupboard” concept - whereby she teaches children to create healthy, cheap meals with whatever ingredients are in the cupboard – not dissimilar to mystery box challenges. At the Durban show, she will be hoping to inspire audiences, particularly youngsters, to embrace both cooking and the kitchen.

These new additions to the Good Food & Wine Show Durban line-up join big names that have already been announced including the renowned Rick Stein; the Prince of Spice Reza Mahammad; the Giggling Gourmet Jenny Morris and the Curry Queen of Bling, Yudhika Sujanani.

Says GM of Fiera Milano South Africa, the organisers of the Good Food & Wine Show, Heidi Warricker: “We believe that we are bringing to Durban one of the best shows in years.”

Once again GF&WS is working with Durban Tourism to promote the city and all the wonderful attractions it has to offer on the food front.

Says Phillip Sithole, head of Durban Tourism: “The Good Food & Wine Show has undoubtedly proven to be a vibrant platform to showcase Durban’s unique and multi-cultural cuisine to an array of globally recognised chefs and food television networks. The City will again host a Township Cook-off with the celebrated chefs and our locals, sharing local flavours, authentic cuisine and imparting inspiring cooking techniques to our locals in a true township style restaurant.”

The Durban Good Food & Wine Show takes place from October 30 to November 1 at the Durban Exhibition Centre in association with Durban Tourism. There will be book signings with all the celebrity chefs at the show. The visiting chefs will be staying at the Oyster Box Hotel.

MEET THE CHEFS (in alphabetical order)

Brenty – as his fellow contestants called him – stole the hearts of millions around the globe when he won the sixth season of MasterChef Australia and became a firm favourite thanks to his unassuming and down-to-earth approach. His book Dig In reflects his personal philosophy of cooking – “to build your own take on something traditional.” Owens admits that he didn’t really take to cooking until he was in his late teens: “You really don’t know what your passion is when you are 18 or 19. I didn’t realise food was my passion until I started watching food shows,” he says.

An entrepreneur by the age of 17 and a successful business owner at 28, Claire Allen is the definition of a self-starter. Cape Town based Claire was born to a family of cooks in Dundee in KZN, where her passion for food was nurtured from a very young age. Claire entered MasterChef South Africa in 2014, and was blown away by the experience. She has since spent the time travelling the world, growing her palate while learning new recipes and cooking techniques. This year she launched Short Chef Skinny Chef with Siphokazi Mdlankomo

Jenny Morris - aka the Giggling Gourmet - is one of SA's most-loved food personalities. She is an author, magazine writer, radio and TV presenter, celebrity chef, teacher, caterer and culinary tour guide who has had an ongoing love affair with food since she was a child. Not only has she conquered radio but Jenny has made several television appearances both locally and internationally. Her first show for the Food Network was Jenny Morris Cooks Morocco. It was the first occasion that a South African chef fronted their own show on the channel.

This ambitious 2014 MasterChef South Africa contestant, Ndumiso Mncwabe had worked his way up from a bar tender to owning his own bar before he decided to take part in the cooking competition. He says he sees his company having a national footprint in the next five years.
He also hopes to marry his bar skills with his passion for food, and then open his own trendy steakhouse, not a shisa nyama. “I am a very attentive and inquisitive guy who watched the entire cooking process when growing up. That's how my love for food began."

Penny Fitchet grew up between Durban and Maritzburg and has been interested in food and cooking for as long as she can remember. Her mother is a great baker while her father makes wonderful Mauritian curries. Her French grandmother was an amazing cook and wine connoisseur. She has travelled the world and loved her time on MasterChef South Africa. Since MasterChef South Africa, Penny has opened her own ice cream shop called ERA Homemade Ice Cream located in Morningside, Durban. The shop has been featured in Taste and Ginja food magazines.

Thanks to encouragement from her children, Renae Smith applied to become a contestant on MasterChef Australia. Her successful audition eventually saw her place in the Top 10 where she became known for her love of local ingredients, healthy cooking and vegetarian food. Labelled the “Mystery Box Queen” by the other contestants, Renae’s ability to create dishes full of flavour with minimal ingredients ensured she gained the judges attention. Since the series ended, Renae has worked closely with Barnardo’s Australia and created the “Cooking from the Cupboard” concept whereby she teaches children to create healthy, cheap meals with whatever ingredients are in the cupboard.

Reza Mahammad is a firm favourite with SA television viewers. When his father died, Reza took over the family business, managing The Star of India, one of London’s most successful restaurants. “I almost became involved in the food business by default because I was still in school. I was fond of music and arts but I never thought I was going to go into food. Although I loved food and liked cooking, I didn’t realise that it was going to become a career.” Reza - star of African Kitchen - has teamed up with Jenny Morris to co-present a new Food Network TV series Jenny & Reza’s Fabulous Food Academy, which is due to transmit on the channel (DStv Channel 175) later this year.

Rick Stein is an acclaimed chef, restaurateur, cookery book author and television presenter who has written more than 20 cookery books, an autobiography and made more than 30 television programmes. He has also cooked for The Queen and Prince Philip, Tony Blair, Margaret Thatcher and French President, Jacques Chirac. He is best known for a love of fresh seafood and made his name in the 90s with his earliest books and television series based on his life as chef and owner of The Seafood Restaurant in the fishing port of Padstow on the North Coast of Cornwall. Stein is the owner of nine restaurants in the UK and one in Australia. Stein has written numerous cookery books inspired by his travels, the most recent of which is Rick Stein from Venice to Istanbul which will be released in South Africa in September. Stein has been the recipient of multiple awards, among them the National Restaurant Awards Lifetime Achievement Award 2015, the Food Writers Guild Lifetime Achievement Award 2015, the AA Centenary Awards, AA Lifetime Achievement winner for 2008-2009, the 2007 Le Cordon Bleu World Media Awards – Honoured for outstanding achievements in the industry and inducted into the Tasting Australia International Hall of Fame.

Roxanne Wardman is the 2014 MasterChef South Africa Season 3 winner. From a young age she experimented with tastes and textures, spices, heat, sweet and salty. From this, she found her ultimate passion, baking! She moved to Durban from Mpumalanga at 18 and started working as a train driver’s assistant for Transnet. The shifts gave her the freedom to play around with food and work towards her dream of making food her career. Since winning MasterChef, this had come true and she recently opened Spoonful Eatery in Morningside in Durban.

Domestic worker Siphokazi Mdlankomo captured the hearts of South Africans as she cooked her way to the final of the third season of MasterChef South Africa. Growing up near Umtata her mother and grandmother taught her everything about cooking. She reflects on her MasterChef journey: “I learnt a lot on the show, from patience to creativity and respecting the ingredients I use in my cooking. I also realise I have talent and that I have lot of fun in front of the camera – and would love to work as an on camera chef teaching others how to cook. This year she launched Short Chef Skinny Chef with Claire Allen.

Much of Yudhika’s youth was spent in hotel kitchens due to her mother’s career as a professional chef. In 2002 she opened her restaurant, Salaam Bombay, which she sold six years later. She has published a number of cookbooks including Curry Me Home. She started the highly acclaimed Curry Club, an idea born out of her love of entertaining, that raised money for the Starfish Foundation. She also has her own spice range.


The Good Food & Wine Show Durban
Dates: Friday October 30 to Sunday, November 1.
Celebrity Chefs: Brent Owens, MasterChef Australia 2014 winner; Claire Allen, MasterChef South Africa 2014 finalist; Giggling Gourmet Jenny Morris; Ndumiso Mncwabe, MasterChef South Africa 2014 finalist; Penny Fitchet, MasterChef South Africa 2014 finalist; Renae Smith, , MasterChef Australia 2014 finalist; Reza Mahammad; Rick Stein; Roxanne Wardman, MasterChef South Africa 2014 winner; Siphokazi Mdlankomo, MasterChef South Africa 2014 finalist and Yudhika Sujanani
Venue: Durban Exhibition Centre, 11 Walnut Road, Durban
Hours: Friday, October 30, and Saturday, October 31, 10:00-21:00; Sunday, November 1, 10:00-18:00
Ticket Prices:
• Early Bird: R 80 (valid until end September 2015 online via Computicket)
• Adults: R 90 at the door
• Age 12-18: R 60
• Children under 12: Free
• Senior Citizens: R 60
• Purchase 10 or more tickets: R 80 each
• Wine Combo Ticket: R 115 (Includes show entry, wine tasting glass & 5 wine tasting vouchers)
Wine Tasting Prices:
• Wine Combo Ticket: R 115 (Includes show entry, wine tasting glass & 5 wine tasting vouchers)
• Wine Glass: R 30 (Includes GFWS glass to keep and 5 tasting vouchers)
• Additional Wine Vouchers: R 25 (1 booklet with 5 wine tasting vouchers)
Celebrity Chefs Theatre Prices:
• Local Chefs: R 75 (GFWS entry not included)
• Local Chefs early bird: R 50 (valid until end September 2015 online via Computicket - GFWS entry not included)
• International Chefs: R 100 (GFWS entry not included)
• International Chefs early bird: R 75 (valid until end September 2015 online via Computicket - GFWS entry not included)
• Kids under four who sit on laps: Free

Tickets: Available through Computicket (www.computicket.com) or at the door.

Go to:
• www.goodfoodandwineshow.co.za
• Twitter: @goodfoodSA
• Facebook: Good Food and Wine Show SA