The Swahili welcome “Jambo” greeted us… because MasterChef moved to the spice island of Zanzibar this week.
Located in the Indian Ocean, this island has an opulent food heritage. It seemed natural for us to explore it, no? The contestants were divided into the Red Team (Ilse, Lungi, Manisha and Khaya) and the Blue Team (Sarel, Deena, Thys and Sue-Ann).
They had to prepare 50 servings of Zanzibari cuisine to impress the locals and tourists. They also had to source the ingredients, prepare it and serve it to visitors at the famous Forodhani Gardens night market.
Whichever team sold the most food would win! Two people would go into a Pressure Test. To get a little taste of what they would be doing, contestants met Fisherman George. He sells about 150 meals at the market every night! Contestants were awed with the choice of seafood, vegetables, fruit and bread he had on offer. Armed with a map of Stone Town and 300 000 Tanzanian Shillings, contestant hit the fresh produce market. While shopping in the fish market, Khaya felt queasy and revealed she is pregnant! “The secret is out! I knew at some point it was going to happen. I was going to be queasy over something!” Congratulations!
The Red Team returned to the Old Fort first and started cooking. The Blue Team decided to make tuna, beef and chicken skewers, chicken tikka schwarmas, an assortment of tropical fruit and corn fritters while the Red Team opted for chicken, fish and squid – which they served on skewers, in wraps or schwarmas, with coleslaw and flat breads. They also had to cook their food at the Forodhani Gardens night market and sell as much as they could before it closed at 10pm. Khaya showed off her superwoman powers on the sugar cane presser, extracting juice, which proved to be really popular. The next day, the Judges revealed the Red Team won with a profit of 218 000 shillings, while the Blue Team made 74 850 shillings.
Members of the Blue Team went into a Spice Identification Test – the first two who identified a spice incorrectly had to go into the Pressure Test. The trick is that the spices were not roasted or ground, but in their raw form! Deena and Thys both incorrectly identified cloves – they picked cardamom instead.
Into the Pressure Test they went. Deena and Thys were introduced to the head chef of Essque Zalu, Jussi Husa. His dish was covered with a glass dome filled with smoke. When he lifted the dome he revealed a cured and lightly smoked swordfish belly with a fresh palm heart and green papaya salad, served with squid ink aoli and crispy seaweed. Thys and Deena had 70 minutes to recreate it.
On Thys’ dish, the Judges said the aoli was just right and the seaweed was crispy. The swordfish was beautifully cured but was completely overcooked. Pete was not at all impressed with the cutting of the salad and said: “It looks like it was done by Edward Scissorhands!”
After tasting Deena’s dish, the Judges were pleased with his perfectly cut salad and the lovely opaque colour of the cold-smoked swordfish belly, but the smoke overpowered the flavours. Pete said: “To me, it tasted just like a mouth full of smoke.” This time, the Judges decided Thys had to leave the MasterChef competition.
M-Net MasterChef SA Release