Chef de Partie at Rust en Vrede wine estate Phillip Nel was eliminated from SABC 3’s Top Chef South Africa last night after whipping up an average Caprese sandwich during the street food inspired Elimination Challenge.
Phillip who had performed consistently well throughout the competition was also a favourite among viewers. He’d racked up four Quickfire Challenge wins since the competition started. But it was Martine Christian that won this week’s Quickfire Challenge, securing immunity and her spot in the final five.
This week’s episode was all about festivity and feasting. The Top Chef SA cheftestants were asked to whip up a Mexican fiesta like no other during the Quickfire Challenge. From tortillas to tacos and bold flavours it was ultimately Martine’s jalapeno poppers stuffed with smoked tomatoes and cream cheese and her beef taco cooked with tequila and lime that came out tops.
‘Fast, fresh and easy to eat’ were among the judges requests during the Elimination Challenge that then had the chestestants cooking to a street party theme for 30 guests that were due to descend on the Top Chef kitchen. Television presenter Roxy Burger joined Lorna Maseko, Neill Anthony and Lesego Semenya at the Judges’ Table this week. She said that she was looking for the chefs to bring a smile to her face with something fun.
But despite the festive theme, the remaining six cheftestants weren’t smiling. The pressure of the competition seemed to be taking its toll. Even the usual top performers admitted to feeling overwhelmed with having to cook for a crowd in just two hours.
After the wave of guests, food bloggers and celebs, got to taste their street food fare it was more clear who was at risk of leaving and who was in the top spot. The top two chefestants were Martine, with pork pitas and Prego beef sandwiches and Annemarie Robertson, with her mini burgers with zucchini fries and vanilla marshmallow dessert. Annemarie was named the top performer of the week.
Sachin Gosai, with his butter chicken and tuna sushi style dish, and Phillip, with his vetkoek and mince and Caprese baguette, were at the bottom. While both made good attempts at street food it was Phillip who was asked by Lorna to pack his knives and go. The humble and talented young chef, who is also a San Pellegrino Top Young Chef Nominee this year, said while he was sad to be leaving the show he was happy to be going back to work in his organised kitchen.
FYI: Next week Tuesday, 13 September at 8pm on SABC 3, just five cheftestants are left vying for the title of Top Chef South Africa. The local version of the hugely successful American TV series by NBCUniversal International Format is produced by Urban Brew Studios.