WARNING: SPOILER ALERT
Thursday, 11 December
Roxi Wardman (26), the leopard print-wearing train driver assistant from Durban, tonight became South Africa’s new MasterChef in a dramatic live broadcast from the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg, when she narrowly beat Cape Town domestic worker Siphokazi Mdlankomo (39) by a mere 8 points.
Sipho and Roxi went toe-to-toe for the last time in the MasterChef kitchen for a marathon three-challenge showdown, cheered on by their nearest and dearest and all of their fellow Top 12 contestants.
First up was the final Invention Test of the season, in which the two finalists had 90 minutes to prepare a restaurant-quality dish featuring quintessential South African food.
Sipho prepared traditional samp, infused in saffron and coconut milk, which she served with mutton curry and a bean and cucumber sambal and a banana sambal. Chef Benny remarked that it was cooked properly but a little over-salted. “I think using pressure cookers today threw you off, because you had no control,” he noted. Reuben and Benny each awarded Sipho 7 points out of a possible 10 and Pete only 6, which gave her a first round total of 20.
Roxi presented individual little boboties with traditional yellow rice and date and apricot chutneys as well as two sambals: quince, and onion and carrot. The judges loved the chutneys but they thought the bobotie was slightly undercooked and under-seasoned. Still, they each awarded her 8 out of 10 points, which put her in the lead with a total of 24.
The second round was a Dessert Mystery Box containing butter, self-raising flour, milk, cream, amasi, castor sugar, basmati rice, sultanas, eggs, geranium leaves, granadillas, macadamia nuts, pumpkin seeds, fynbos honey, and white wine vinegar.
Sipho and Roxi had 60 minutes to come up with an impressive dessert using every single one of those ingredients in some way. “It’s my worst nightmare,” Sipho confessed. “I’m competing with the Dessert Queen.”
Roxi presented a lamington made with rice flour, along with a fudge crumble and a passion fruit and amasi granita, which earned her 5 out of 10 from Reuben and 6 each from Pete and Benny, for a new total cumulative of 41 points.
Sipho’s dessert was a crème patisserie tart with granola and a passion fruit and amasi sorbet, which earned her rave reviews, despite a slightly runny crème pat. “The sorbet – I can eat tons of it,” Pete noted enthusiastically. He and Reuben each scored Sipho 6 out of 10 and Benny 7, for a total of 39 points – just two points behind Roxi.
And for the third challenge the judges had a surprise for the two finalists, as well as all the other aspiring chefs in the kitchen – a “cook-off” alongside one of the world’s culinary legends: Chef Marco Pierre White!
Sipho and Roxi had to work alongside Chef Marco and follow his example step-by-step to cook a sumptuous dish of roast rump of lamb on the bone, with mussels in a white wine sauce.
“One I start I will not stop,” Marco warned them. “You can ask me questions, but there is one thing I can promise you: I won’t always answer them.”
At the end of a nerve-wracking cooking session all four chefs judged the finalists’ finished dishes. Chef Marco thought Sipho’s lamb was slightly overcooked “but that doesn’t offend me,” he said. “She’s cooked her mussels well. She did a very, very, very good job.”
He was similarly pleased with Roxi’s effort. “I think her cooking of the lamb is very good,” he told the other judges.
The final scoring happened in secret and then the show crossed live to the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg, where the final scores were revealed: 67 points to Siphokazi and 75 points to Roxi.
As South Africa’s new MasterChef, Roxi walks off with R500,000 in cash from Robertson’s, a brand new VW Tiguan, R100 000 worth of food from Woolworths, a trip to the French winelands for her and a partner, as well as a year’s worth of wines from Nederburg, and a glamorous five night stay at the Maia Luxury Resort and Spa in the Seychelles, courtesy of Tsogo Sun.
And Sipho also doesn’t go home empty-handed: she takes home R100 000, courtesy of Robertson’s.
The dramatic final episode of MasterChef South Africa Season 3 is still available on DStv Catch Up and fans can also follow all their favourite contestants on social media at Twitter, Facebook and on Instagram at @MasterChefSA.