DURBAN 03112012 Masterchef contestant Ken Goldstone, Suncoast. PICTURE: Jacques Naude

Hundreds of amateur cooks queued at Durban’s Suncoast Casino yesterday in the hope of securing a part in the second season of the country’s biggest cooking show, MasterChef South Africa.

For Durban cooks, the auditions were especially meaningful – everybody wanted to be like local chef Deena Naidoo, who was crowned the first season’s winner.

The day-long auditions for the second season, which will air on M-Net next year, saw many turning up with creative and delicious cold dishes to impress the judges.

Auditions are complete in Joburg, and will continue in Cape Town next weekend.

Of those trying out, 100 will be flown to Joburg to prepare hot dishes for the judges and hopefully be selected as part of the 50 who will go to the MasterChef “boot camp” for three days. Of these, 18 will go to the MasterChef kitchen for the|finals.

M-Net’s Ingrid Engelbrecht said Durban was a “strong city” because of its recent wins in both MasterChef and Idols.

Culinary producer Arnold Tanzer said the standard was higher than last year’s.

Durban’s Ken Goldstone, who was in last season’s top 50, came back again for a second try.

“I enjoy cooking and it makes me happy to see people enjoying my dishes,” he said.

Greg Wolsh of Hillcrest said: “I have passion for food, and one day wish to open my own restaurant. By winning the competition I’ll be a step closer.”

One of the judges, Benny Masekwameng, said: “We mostly judge on taste and the presentation of the food.

“We are looking for a personality who has a passion for food.”