Masterchef: Jacaranda host whips up a storm

2012-03-17 00:00

ASHLEY Hayden was the winner of the celebrity edition of Come Dine With Me South Africa on BBC Entertainment, and on Thursday she again showed her foodie credentials when she walked off with the first ever South African Media MasterChef South Africa title.

The competition was arranged as part of M-Net’s glitzy launch for its new reality show MasterChef South Africa, which will be screened on M-Net and M-Net at 8.30 pm from Tuesday next week. All the invited journalists had to take part in a MasterChef-style ingredients test, in which we were given just one minute to identify an assortment of fruit, vegetables, herbs and spices.

East Coast Radio presenter Terence Pillay made the top 10, but was defeated by the challenge of whisking egg whites into perfect peaks. Hayden was one of five contestants who produced egg whites so stiff they stayed put when the journalists tentatively put their bowls above their heads.

The Jacaranda 94.5 breakfast show team member then got the chance to show her decorating prowess on a cupcake, and so impressed the judges of the show — Andrew Atkinson, Benny Masekwameng and Pete Goffe-Wood — with her elegant creation that they declared the reality show veteran the winner.

Hayden, who was runner-up in Celebrity Survivor South Africa, won an HD PVR decoder for her efforts, and told Weekend Witness afterwards: “I can now hang up my reality show hat and be forever known as the cupcake queen!”

The culinary contest was a small taster of what foodie fans can expect from M-Net’s new reality show.

In December last year thousands of amateur cooks turned up for auditions in Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban, hoping to win the approval of the judges for their food. Just 50 people got the green light, and viewers will be able to watch them being put through a bootcamp when the show gets under way on Tuesday.

The winner of MasterChef SA will win prizes valued at R8 million, including R250 000 in cash from the show’s headline sponsor, Robertsons, and the chance to call the MondoVino restaurant at Southern Sun’s Sun Square Hotel in Montecasino his or her very own for two years.

Pierre Cloete, M-Net’s channel head, said the show would undoubtedly change the way South Africans viewed food: “People will be getting excited by food again, and that has made us so excited. We have made something so tasty that people will come back for more in the future.”

• Visit for more information about MasterChef South Africa, or follow the series on Twitter @MasterChef_SA or Facebook’s MasterChef SA page.

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