There were screams of joy from his family watching at home as Durban’s Deena Naidoo took the honours in the first season of the reality TV show MasterChef South Africa on Tuesday night.
Naidoo, who is from Queensburgh, flew to Joburg’s Montecasino with his wife, Karin, for the announcement.
At his home, there were screams and cheers of joy from his family, who were huddled around the television in the family’s lounge to watch Naidoo cook up a storm.
Speaking to The Mercury on Tuesday night, the new MasterChef’s mother- in-law, Patsy Moodley, said it was “such a proud moment” for the family watching him on television and seeing him do so well.
“He always had a flair for cooking, and has made some incredible meals at home.”
For many years he had always made everyone’s birthday cakes.
Naidoo’s mother had died, but continued to inspire his cooking, said Moodley.
As the final episode started, Naidoo’s daughter, Aariyn, was so eager to see her dad on television that she asked The Mercury’s reporter to “stop talking” so she could watch.
For the final cook-off against Cape Town’s Sue-Ann Allen, Naidoo whipped up oven-roasted vegetables, coriander crusted lamb loin and “deconstructed” milk tart. It was enough to clinch the number one spot.
After 30 gruelling challenges, Naidoo walked away victorious, and with the Mondovino restaurant as a grand prize.
He also takes home R250 000 from Robertsons Spices, a Hyundai Elantra 1.6 GLS, a seven-day culinary holiday in Italy, an Italian cookery course courtesy of Woolworths, a customised sommelier course and a year’s supply of Nederburg Winemasters Reserve wines.
Filming of the show was completed in February, and Naidoo has had to keep mum on the outcome.
The social media scene was sizzling with thousands of messages pouring in for the new MasterChef.
Thatguykameel tweeted: “Tomorrow’s Headlines: IT Professional & #MasterchefSA Winner Deena Naidoo Serves Up The Bytes,” while Lilly Jay Ramebe tweeted, “deena truly deserved to win #MasterChefSA. A shining example of both passion and humility.”
FoxiLoxi tweeted: “well done to u both, both fantastic and both deserved to win, unfortunately there could be only one”.
On Facebook, Chantel van Straten said: “Well done deena, you made durban kzn very proud.”
However, some were not too impressed with the outcome. Ramesh Rampersad said: “Very disappointing end. Y didn’t they reveal the scores? Y didn’t they interview the winner? Lacked the element of reality.”