An elated Kevindren Pillay of Jeera Restaurant said: “It was four months of non-stop hard work trying to perfect the winning recipe for the ultimate Durban bunny chow and was all worth it. I’m so excited and happy. I don’t know how to express my emotions right now.
“It was a challenging competition but also eventually rewarding.”
Pillay, of oThongathi, who has worked at Jeera for 18 months, said they prepared bunnies every day, often testing the flavour combinations on their families and customers and, through trial and error, found the perfect taste.
Northdene’s Curry O’s placed second and Durban’s North Beach Café third.
The other finalists included last year’s winner Chetty’s Takeaway (Jacobs), Café India (Seaview), Swaadisht (Shallcross), Five Star Takeaway (Effingham), The Bunny Bar (Morningside), BP Express (Chatsworth) and Fire ’* Spice (Durban Central).
The Curry O’s won an award for highest sales in the past six months and Chetty’s Takeaway scooped an accolade for Best Stall.
The judges at the event, held at the Blue Lagoon, included POST editor Krisendra Bisetty and recently retired specialist Indian cuisine sous chef at the ICC, Sheila Somers.
Coca-Cola Beverages South Africa’s KZN events manager, Kas Naidoo, explained that apart from presentation, ingredients and taste, an important requirement for judging included the finalists being health and licence compliant. Coca-Cola sales were also measured.
“Thirty days prior to the event, we go around tasting at the outlets, completely anonymously. We pay for the bunny chow. This was done by the Master Chef Academy run by Fatima Stanley. It’s done completely independently with her chefs.”
On Sunday, the 10 finalists did a brisk trade, despite the chilly weather. Apart from the spicy bunnies, there was entertainment that drew hundreds of people to Blue Lagoon.