Season 5 of the popular television show Ultimate Braai Master, Sundays at 4pm on e.tv, got off to a fitting start in Durban on Friday, as contestants and judges braaied up a storm at the Durban Country Club. Show host Justin Bonello promised the gloves were coming off in the show which offers a R1 million prize pool.
"There will be a lot more needle… dog eats dog," he promised speaking of the game's dynamics and tough elimination challenges.
"And we do everything on the braai. From three tier cakes to amazing pap. It's not all the traditional protein with some amazing vegetarian recipes that everyone can do," he said.
The show starts at Cape St Francis and drives through the Free State, and the North West before ending up on the magnificent beaches of the Wild Coast. "The show stars South Africans, is created by South Africans and filmed by South Africans and taps into the South African psyche," Bonello said.
For twins Precious and Pretty Zondo of team Spice Girls it was the experience of a lifetime. "We've learnt so much about each other that we didn't really know, " Precious says. "I now love road trips. Before we always used to fly. Now it's more about the places on the way," says Pretty. Plus we learnt there is far more to the braai than meat. You can bake and steam as well."
The twins grew up in Durban and both work for Tsogo Sun. They entered because they both like braaing. "We wanted to expand our shisanyama knowledge," said Precious.
Team Muttonhead that's Durban brother and sister outfit of Tersia and Tarlan Baker were the surprise in the first episode.
"We were just cooking from the heart," Tarlan said. In the first episode Tarlan is busy tyring to chop coriander in the howling wind "it was flying off the board." he says. They really enjoyed the six weeks out, travelling every second day and braaing against the elements
And Tarlan didn't even know he would be on the show. Tersia tells how her boyfriend challenged her to enter and she included her brother's name and next thing she knew they were on the show. "It was quite unexpected," Tarlan says.
"We learnt a lot of cooking skills, and a lot about our country and each other," says Tersia. "We also saw places where people need help. We fed people who really needed it." The brother and sister duo are looking to get involved in the food industry in the future. "We're not sure yet but maybe a food truck or a market," Tarlan says.
For Durban contestants Randhir Parbhunath and Surika Singh of team Smokin' Hot the Ultimate Braai Master was a mind blowing experience . "It was awesome, extreme, nerve-wracking," Singh says "Everything was always a surprise. We were kept on our toes."
The couple, who met met through a relative tells how it was a friend who inspired them to enter the show. "it's brought us closer together," Parbhunath says. He's from Chatsworth and she from Stanger but they spent six years living in Bloemfontein "Now that's braai central," Pharbhunath said.
In the first episode that airs today, Singh can be seen making rotis on the braai, and rolling them with a wine bottle in their bush camp outside St Francis Bay. She tells how after filming she was making rotis for everyone with a good Durban style prawn curry.
After the competition, they hope to launch their own cooking events where guests determine what they cook. "We want to create a way we can all share recipes… Ouma's recipes," Singh says.
For Mark Turner, brand and marketing manager for the sponsor Game, the show provised some great South African characters, some outstanding food and showcased our natural heritage. "The game is on to make it the best reality show ever," he says.