Another team’s flame doused


It’s always disappointing being eliminated but they had the time of their lives and loved every minute of the experience, says braai master Shaun Cavanagh (34), a programmer from Pretoria. His team, Ying Yang, last night became the seventh team to be eliminated from The Ultimate Braai Master, SABC3’s popular reality outdoor cooking show.

This was Ying Yang’s second shot at The Ultimate Braai Master title: last year they entered but only made it into the second challenge when “the wheels fell off” for Shaun and his braai buddy, Samantha van Niekerk (26), a receptionist from Pretoria.

“But a little hard work and perseverance will pay off – never give up,” Shaun explains why they entered again this year. “Also, it’s the greatest show ever and the chance to be a part of something so epic was always going to be appealing to us. A road trip with your best friend and the person you love most . . .  c’mon!”

Samantha is indeed the person he loves the most – the couple will be getting married this Saturday in Pretoria! In typical Ying Yang style they’ve turned tradition on its head and have opted for a more informal celebratory type of wedding with a picnic theme.

Shaun bought a boat last year and nearly had to sell it to get some much-needed money to pay for the wedding. “But fortunately we won R25 000 on The Ultimate Braai Master and now my boat is still safely in the garage!

In last night’s episode the losing three teams made their way to the Panyaza Shisa Nyama bar in Soweto, Johannesburg. Along with having to braai without a break for two hours, they were judged at random intervals, and their task was to feed 100 invited guests. But Ying Yang didn’t survive the elimination challenge . . .

They made silly mistakes that cost them dearly, explains Shaun. “Cooking under pressure and under a time constraint does some funky stuff to the brain!”

We asked Ying Yang a few questions:

Q: What was your biggest fear before the competition?

Ying Yang: Shaun’s only phobia was having to use the Lava Tree (aka nature’s loo) while Sam is terrified of “goggas” . . .  and Shaun getting grumpy! No, really, our biggest fear was that we would crack under the pressure and destroy something between the two of us. But we are happy to say that it only made us stronger and love each other a little more.

Q: What was your most memorable moment?

Ying Yang: Beating presenter Justin in a game of pool! Sorry, I had to throw that in! Meeting and becoming friends with the other contestants and crew will always be a huge part of our lives. The houseboat on Jozini, snorkelling in Sodwana, camping in Wakkerstroom – eish, every single part of it!

Q: What was the most extreme challenge?

Ying Yang: The first challenge at Hluhluwe was an immense eye-opener for us and really rattled us to the core. Shaun still has a nightmare or two about that challenge and wakes up talking about beans and sausage!

Q: In what way did the show change your life?

Ying Yang: The Ultimate Braai Master helped us understand that what we have is something special and that we can achieve what we set out to do if we believe in ourselves and give it everything we’ve got. We met inspirational people and we’ve carried that with us and will continue to do so.

Q: Which team was your toughest competition?

Ying Yang: Sjoe, so much talent but we’d have to go with The Boerie Brothers. We got to become great friends with the most amazing guys and going up against them in an elimination challenge was a difficult thing to do.

Q: What is your favourite meat to braai? Ying Yang: A great piece of matured sirloin steak: it’s simple to braai, tastes like a million bucks and doesn’t cost a small fortune. Goes really well with a knob of garlic butter and a jacket potato . . . Our mouths are watering just thinking about it! Braai time: light a fire, open a beer and take it all in – lekker! Share your thoughts:

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