Last night’s episode of MasterChef SA found the Top 8 still in Addis Ababa, where 23-year-old Mahikeng scientist Leandri and 30-year-old Johannesburg recruitment consultant Amanda faced off in a Pressure Test, which ultimately saw Amanda bidding the competition a tearful farewell.
Amanda and Leandri enjoyed the privilege of cooking in the kitchen of the world-famous Castelli Italian restaurant in Addis Ababa, a local landmark that is frequented by celebrities from all over the world and which philanthropist Bob Geldof has referred to as the best Italian restaurant in the world!
MasterChef judge Pete Goffe-Wood explained to Amanda and Leandri that Ethiopia is one of only two countries in Africa that was never colonised. “The Italians tried twice and they were actually an occupying force here for about six years before the Second World War,” Pete instructed, which has left the country with an enduring Italian heritage, he explained. Castelli opened its doors in 1957 and is still run today by the founder’s daughter, Tiziana Castelli, and her uncle Carletto, who welcomed the contestants into their kitchen.
The challenge to Amanda and Leandri was to recreate Castelli’s beautiful Lobster Raviolo with lobster bisque, making their own pasta from scratch. The challenge was complicated by having to work on a traditional wood-burning stove in the middle of the Castelli kitchen, but nothing could dampen the girls’s enthusiasm.
“I loved the stove, I loved the kitchen set-up, I loved the feeling you get when you’re in a professional kitchen … I enjoyed the moment,” Leandri told the judges, and for the first time she shared her ultimate food dream with them: to have a roastery and a café or a little bistro on a coffee farm that she can use to help fund her charity projects with children …
“This is something I’ve always wanted, I’m living my dream,” Amanda confided happily but although the judges loved her bisque, unfortunately the raviolo burst while it was cooking and Pete said he could definitely taste that some of that boiling water got in there. “It’s affected the flavour,” he said regretfully and that meant the end of Amanda’s MasterChef dream. But she was sanguine in defeat. “Everything happens for a reason,” a tearful but happy Amanda told the judges. “And this was the reason. And I think it’s beautiful!”
Meanwhile the winners of the Coffee Mystery Box Challenge, 29-year-old food Cape Town blogger Kamini and Tiron, the 34-year-old former video store clerk from Johannesburg, travelled two hours outside of the capital to the scenic Jemma Valley for a masterclass in traditional Ethiopian cuisine with Chef Habte.
Out on a cliff, against the dramatic backdrop of the Jemma Valley, Chef Habte first demonstrated a “doro wat” – a red pepper chicken stew made with local spices and chili and fenugreek and served with whole boiled egg and the traditional flatbread, “injera”, and “ayib”, a traditional type of soft cheese. “Whenever there is a celebration of any holidays or events we Ethiopians love to prepare this dish and have it together with the family,” he explained.
Then Chef Habte also demonstrated how to make “shiro”, a vegan stew made with pea flour, because, he explained, in the Ethiopian Orthodox Church there are a number fasting days when Ethiopians only eat vegetables.
“It is really, really great food, and it feels even more special because we’ve been here throughout the entire process,” Kamini reflected but, as Tiron pointed out, it was time to get back in the game. They were now in the Top 7 of MasterChef South Africa Season 2, and Ethiopia was not yet done with them!
MasterChef South Africa Season 2 is broadcast on Tuesday and Wednesday nights at 19:30 on M-Net Channel 101. It is repeated on M-Net on Wednesday and Thursday afternoons as well as Saturdays and Sundays and is also available on DStv’s Video On Demand.
For more information and exclusive behind-the-scenes footage, visit the official website at www.mnet.co.za and follow MasterChef South Africa on Twitter at @MasterChef_SA and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/MasterChefSA
The official hashtag to follow all the action live on Twitter is #MCSA.
This statement is issued by MasterChef SA.