Two Durbanites competing for R8 million in MasterChef SA

2012-04-10 00:00

A FASHION designer with a passion for food and an IT specialist who wants to spice up fusion cooking will be flying the flag for KwaZulu-Natal after making it into the top 18 of M-Net’s new reality series, MasterChef South Africa.

Twenty-two-year-old Lungile Nhlanhla from Durban is a post-graduate student doing fashion and textiles and one of the youngest competitors in the top 18.

“I fell in love with cooking from a very young age, before 12 even, and I enjoy how my food makes other people feel,” she said. “I would like a restaurant that has a very creative atmosphere, one where I can incorporate my two passions of food and fashion. I would serve very colourful food, very vibrant food, food that’s good for you, healthy, organic food.”

The young chef, whose favourite food is sushi, believes that she can go all the way in the competition, adding: “I’m young, I’m creative … and I like to take risks with my cooking. I’m not afraid of trying new things.”

Fellow Durbanite, Deena Naidoo, (45) meanwhile, remembers making his first meal when he was just seven years old.

“My late mother encouraged me to cook and follow my love for food,” he said, adding that although he grew up with traditional Indian cooking, he loves creating fusion dishes.

“I’ve learned so much from spices, how to blend them, so I try to infuse them in my other cooking,” Naidoo added. “My type of restaurant would involve fusion cooking. We live in a multi-cultural nation and I think we need to take advantage of that.”

The two Durbanites will be competing with 16 other amateur cooks from around SA for the chance to win prizes valued at R8 million, including the chance to run the MondoVido restaurant at Southern Sun’s Sun Square Hotel at Montecasino in Johannesburg for two years and R250 000 in cash from the show’s headline sponsor, Robertsons.

They won the right to vie for the title of MasterChef in the show’s specially built kitchens at the Nederburg Wine Estate in Paarl after showing the judges — Pete Goffe-Wood, Benny Masekwameng and Andrew Atkinson — that they could produce a dish worthy to appear on the menu of the Roots restaurant at the Forum Homini in the Cradle of Humankind. But in a uniquely South African twist, the top 25 were told to cook their dishes on an open fire. — Arts Editor.

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