Living the 'MasterChef' dream

2013-06-27 00:00

KAREN Els has a mission: she wants to put the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands on the map as a foodlover’s paradise.

“We have some amazing produce, but no one knows about it,” the mother of three said, “it is a foodie paradise and I want to promote and to tell people to visit the Midlands because you will find everything you want, and a lot more.”

The dedicated foodie, who has just moved to Johannesburg from her home in Howick, is planning to write a cookbook, which she says will be easy to use and which will tell the story of food from the producer to the plate.

“My food is not cheffy … it’s just good home cooking. Anyone can make my dishes,” she added.

Els, one of the 16 finalists in this year’s MasterChef South Africa, also wants to show the world that life doesn’t come to a standstill when you get married and have children.

“You can be a great mom and still live the dream … that’s what I want to tell people. If you want to cook, cook, if you want to write a book, then do it. You have to think about yourself.”

Also through to the finals is Durban-based Joani Mitchell, a former fashion designer, who has loved being on MasterChef SA. The show, she says, has allowed her to explore her passion for food.

It was second time lucky for Mitchell, who failed the onion chopping challenge during season one’s boot camp. “I had unfinished business,” she said, adding that being on the show had given her the chance to test her self-belief.

“I needed to know that I could cope, to believe that I could do it. I often felt that I was a fraud and shouldn’t be in the kitchen, but that’s all part of the journey.”

Mitchell is currently running a cooking school from her home in La Lucia and is giving part of the proceeds from a range of corporate foodie gifts to Liv Village, a non-governmental organisation in the area.

She was also in Pietermaritzburg earlier this year to take part in Christopher Duigan’s innovative foodie experience, The Table, where she helped fellow MasterChef SA contestant Neil Lowe to make the dessert of marrowbone ice cream by candlelight after a power outage.

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