Nafisa Saleh (29) from Brixton, Johannesburg beat eight other bakers to the title of Capsicum Culinary Studio Cake Boss Bake Off competition, and won a R100 000 patisserie bursary from the school.
More than 1 340 entries were received via a call for entries made during the broadcast of the new season of Cake Boss on TLC and this was whittled down to the final nine bakers who competed against each other at the Capsicum Culinary Studios campus in Rosebank.
The judges were Chef Deon Roets (academic and quality manager, Capsicum Culinary Studio), Helma Holloway (Capsicum Culinary Studio, Rosebank campus) and Andries Kemp (owner of Rolkem South Africa).
Says Roets about the winning cake: "The judges’ overall impression of all the cakes was good. We looked at what was used to cover the cake and how it was decorated but for us the texture was what was most important. The texture of Nafisa’s cake was moist, yet very soft and light and the accompanying buttercream made it even more ‘wow’.
"They just complemented each other as if they were born with the same baking DNA."
Saleh says: “I have always wanted to pursue the art of patisserie making, so winning this bursary will allow me to make my dream come true. I want to thank Capsicum Culinary School and Rolkem for this amazing opportunity, and also a big thank you to the students and the staff of Capsicum for the hospitality. It felt like home.”
She adds: “I've only baked for friends and family, but I love it and thanks to this opportunity I might further it as a career. I bake for fun, I learn by trial and error. My biggest critics are my mum and dad. Mum wants perfection when it comes to taste and dad will comment on the overall look.”
And she has a clear favourite when it comes to cake: “Chocolate cake. I can eat anything made with chocolate. Who doesn’t love heavenly chocolate? A cake dripping in chocolate ganache is my thing.”