Food dream started on the Internet

2013-09-12 00:00

DURBAN-BORN food blogger, radio DJ and yoga instructor Kamini Pather proved to be the cook who could stand the heat in the MasterChef kitchen, winning both the final challenges and SA’s hottest reality cooking show.

After adding up the scores, she had narrowly beaten her rival, Master’s student Leandri van der Wat from Pretoria — 89 points to 83 in what judge Andrew Atkinson said was an “extremely close” final.

The two finalists had to make a dish from a mystery box of ingredients, an invention test in which chicken was the star ingredient, and a pressure test to make a complex dessert.

Pather’s efforts earned her the title of MasterChef, a R400 000 cash prize from Robertsons, a VW Golf 7, a luxurious holday for two to the Seychelles, a year’s supply of Nederburg wine and sommelier course, and Woolworths vouchers for a year’s shopping.

Speaking to The Witness, she said that her dream was to have a multi-media food-related blogging portal that would highlight the best South African ingredients and seasonal offerings from the Southern Hemisphere.

“I’m into seasonal and organic food … you need to know what you are putting in your body,” she said, adding that cooking had always brought her huge amounts of joy.

Pather, who describes herself as a food writer and photographer, said she entered the show because she “wanted to prove to myself that I was more than just and outsider … a writer and eater of food”.

She added: “I have been cooking for the past 10 years. I started Googling recipes and pushed myself more and more each time.”

That desire to constantly learn about new ingredients and techniques stood her in good stead during MasterChef SA and no doubt helped her to win five challenges in the competition.

Pather also believes her knowledge of food writing, photographing and styling was a big help when it came to presenting dishes on the reality show.

And the determined amateur cook wasn’t shy about showing her competitive side: “My game face really came out in the kitchen and I was good at managing my time.”

Asked how she dealt with the judges’ criticism of her dishes, she said: “You have to grow a thick skin to deal with it.”

The former Glenwood resident, who now calls Cape Town home, ascribes her love of cooking and food to her two grandmothers. “I spent a lot of time with them in the kitchen,” Pather said.

Van der Wat, who is studying for a Master’s degree in chemistry, did not walk away empty handed, winning R100 000 from Robertsons.

The talented young cook only entered MasterChef SA to support her sister, Seline, who was desperately keen to take part.

In the end she made it all the way to the final and says she has no regrets saying her MasterChef journey has been “a great adventure”.

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