Episode 7 of MasterChef South Africa Season 3 saw the Top 10 contestants on location on Durban’s world famous “Golden Mile” for their first Team Challenge!
Penny was made the captain of the Blue team during the contestants’ visit to Sydda Essop’s “Karoo Kitchen” last week, and Philippa was put in charge of the Red team.
MasterChef judges Pete Goffe-Wood, Reuben Riffel and Benny Masekwameng met the teams in the kitchen of The Grill Jichana restaurant in the Southern Sun Elangeni & Maharani hotel on Durban’s Golden Mile, which Benny explained is the heart of the KwaZulu-Natal tourism industry.
Gueridon Service - testing the limits
Pete added that service in a hotel like this was a little bit like a theatrical production, especially the kind of service the contestants would be performing in this challenge. “Gueridon Service is a celebration of the theatre of food,” he instructed. “You’re right at the table making food in front of your guests. It’s going to test you to your limits today.”
In Gueridon service, the sauce is prepared with great flourish on a trolley at the table, usually with a flambé element.
Classic Grill Room dishes
Reuben explained that the contestants would be preparing classic Grill Room dishes: “Things like fillet steak, linefish, those glorious sauces ... crispy fries ... and my favourite: those really crispy and delicious onion rings,” he said.
The Blue Team included:
Francois - to cook the meat
Roxi - to handle the fish dishes
Siphokazi - to flambé sauces on the Gueridon
Refilwe - waitering and manning the pass
The Red team was made up of:
Ian - on meat
Abigail - on fish dishes,
Mel - on the pass
Claire - waitering duty and herself behind the Gueridon trolley
And, as always on MasterChef, there was a twist: “Today you’re going to be serving tables of professional waiters,” Pete explained. “These professionals have up to 50 years experience in the top restaurants. For a change they’re going to be on the receiving end and they’re going to expect the best.”
The contestants were impressed and intimidated, but they soon found out there were advantages to serving such experienced guests, as Philippa’s table patiently talked her through her first ever Gueridon service. “They told me where I was going wrong, they told me what I was doing right, and so basically I had a little masterclass in the challenge, of my own,” she recounted happily.
The only mishap came when the Blue team served an underdone steak to a diner who had ordered his “medium rare”, and Benny reprimanded them for keeping one guest at the table waiting while his companions were all eating.
And at the end of a long day that mistake ended up costing them dearly, as the Red team took the challenge. They won a relaxing day out at a surprise destination, but for the Blue team another Elimination Challenge loomed.
“Five of you will enter that challenge but only four of you will return,” Reuben spelled it out.
“I suppose its one more opportunity to find out what you’re made of, and will hopefully make me tougher,” Penny noted philosophically.
“I think I’m just going to try and get my mind set and I’m just going to be focused,” her friend Roxi agreed. “The game is on.”
What did you think of the team challenge?