They've been on the road for six weeks and now the remaining three teams in the fifth season of e.tv’s Ultimate Braai Master gear up for the final braai-down on Sunday.
Gauteng’s Chanel Marais and boyfriend Nick Perfect will be taking on the Mutton Heads (a brother-and-sister team) and Pretty Griddy (a husband-and-wife team).
Justin Bonello, joined by celebrity chefs Peter Goffe-Wood and Benny Masekwameng, has a few interesting challenges lined-up too, including a lamb on the spit – cooked Argentinian style. However, the weather works against the contestants.
Perfect noted: “The journey so far has been one I will never forget. From the idyllic drives to breathtaking campsites. I could never have imagined a more amazing adventure.
“Pretty Griddy is our greatest threat, not because they were better cooks but because they had the same burning desire to win as we did.”
Marais added: “When we originally sent in our application and our video (with much reluctance from Nick, laying down in Teddington Park in London) I didn’t think we would have a chance to be chosen. When we were chosen and all was heading in the direction of us flying home to SA to do this, it still hadn’t set in what was to come.
“From the moment of our first challenge and location it started settling in that we were in fact competing against chefs, foodies and great home cooks. The question was: Where do we sit between them all? The question soon faded when we noticed that the fire levelled the playing field. The only constants on the day were the competitors. The ingredients, challenge and weather variables were ever changing.
“Pretty Griddy were a constant good competitor. They didn’t fluctuate too much in their successes and losses. As much as everyone doesn’t seem to think we didn’t like them, we had great laughs and some really good banter with Peter, he is a character and a half.”
As for the challenge that really tested them, Perfect admitted: “The worst one for me was the Springbok challenge as this was our first captain’s position and Team Explorers did not make it easy for us. However, I learnt a lot during each challenge especially the ones where it was our first time working with the ingredients.”
What was the game plan?
Marais shared: “Nick said we were going to win from the start. I got upset with him a few times because he was definitely stirring the pot from the start. However, we didn’t have a game plan as such as we had no idea what to expect. We took each day as it came and always just tried our best, which sometimes was enough and at times wasn’t. We never gave up, that was the key.
“Even though bread was dropped it took a whole second to get back into the game and whip up another… that was the game plan.”
Although there were times when the stress affected the relationship, it helped the couple discover their strengths and find their calm in the storm.
On their memorable interactions with the judges, Perfect said: “Kevin from the Oyster Box was definitely the nicest judge but that may have something to do with his short stay on the show. Benny and Pete are excellent chefs and having any pointers from them is worth gold.
“The most memorable interactions with our judges would have to have been when we cooked for them when the cameras were off.”
Recipe for a successful braai?
“Fire and heat management. Don’t be afraid of the flames: if it’s not a little burnt then it’s not a braai. I put a little char on everything… even though Chanel said it was burnt, it was actually perfect,” he offered.
Said Marais: “Fresh produce, perfect seasoning and having respect for the ingredients and produce you’re working with.”
● Catch the Ultimate Braai Master finale on e.tv (DStv Channel 194) and OpenView HD (Channel 104) on Sunday April 30 at 4pm.