Thursday, February 27, 2020

The Next Bosch Chef Cooking Competition

We have a good working relationship with Bosch and were last in their Cape Town showroom for the judging of the Sommelier Awards. This time, they invited us to cover their new competition for #TheNextBoschChef - someone with a passion for cooking and baking who would put their appliances and cooking studios to good use with their culinary skills
The competition was held in Cape Town and Johannesburg
We were welcomed by Lauren Jappie, BSH Home Appliances Showroom Manager. The competition cook-off was held at their Bree Street Studios in New Church Street, Cape Town, last Saturday morning. The Johannesburg competition was held earlier in the month. The winner gains the title of #BoschChefCPT and is also granted use of the Bosch Cooking Studio to host their very own cooking or baking classes for 6 months, where members of the public would be able to book for these classes on the website
Entry for the competition was through Instagram where each contestant had to publish a picture of a dish they had cooked
Some canapés and pastries to keep us fuelled while we watched the contestants cook
The contestants: We were sent brief profiles of each contestant beforehand
Marlon De Freitas, 26, takes his cooking inspiration from different cultures and recreates them in modern cuisine
Should he win the competition, Marlon would offer Food and Drink Pairing classes and Cooking on a Budget
Astrid Ford, (no relation to us), 38 years, is a food scientist, blogger and recipe developer
Astrid published her first recipe book called High Tea at Home in December 2019
and would like to offer high end patisserie and dessert classes should she win the competition
Ilhaam Banoobhai-Anwar, 33, loves cooking simple dishes that require minimal ingredients
and incorporate her Indian heritage into the recipes
 Ilhaam would like to offer classes where one can learn about the spice combinations,
Cooking 101 for Beginners and Freezer Friendly Dishes, should she win the competition
Imtiyaaz Hart, 29, enjoys fusion cooking and putting his own twist on traditional South African recipes
Should he win the competition, Imtiyaaz would like to offer classes teaching Gourmet Budget Friendly Recipes 
and Taking Home Cooking to a Gourmet Level
Christine Capendale, 59, has a natural healthy cooking style
She’d like to host Basic Baking classes or South African Cuisine with a Twist, should she win the competition
Christine also published her third recipe book called MEALS last year
Miranda Steduto, 56, describes her cooking style as “cooking with heart and flavour”
Miranda would offer classes which focus on healthy seasonal ingredients, combined with simple recipes,
should she win the competition
Mariam Jakoet, 40, a cancer survivor, bases her cooking on wholesome nutrition which is both innovative and delicious
Her signature dish is ramen. Mariam would offer Meal Prep and Asian style cooking workshops should she win the competition
The judges: Grace Stevens is the owner and founder of Cupcakes by Design
and is currently one of the Bosch Chefs granted use of the Bosch Cooking Studio
Jon Venter is a keen observer and Janene Apps, a BSH Sales Representative
Ready to start
and they are about to get to their cooking stations and begin the journey
Lauren tells the contestants how the 90 minute competition will work 
The pantry was laid out on the counter in front and also in fridges on either side of the blackboard
However, from what happened during the competition, we were not sure that they all took this in,
as some did not find the selection of ingredients in the fridges, which could have helped them
and out came more temptation for the watching friends, family and media
In true Masterchef fashion, each contestant was presented with a mystery box
and they were told that they had to use two of the four ingredients it contained in their dishes
They could make a savoury or a sweet dish
Running through the open pantry
Equipment was in shelving on the side. We thought some of the equipment was a bit sparse
and there were very few small pots, so people had to make large quantities of sauces for just one dish
One contestant had to make a litre of crème patissière and she needed only a small amount
Three mixers, a few mixing bowls, three electric whisks
Two stick blenders and the pots and pans
Before the "Off", a quick lesson on how to use the very impressive Bosch equipment. They had an oven and an induction hob
We love cooking on these, but they can be foreign country if you don’t know how the buttons work
This is how to use the oven
Lots of questions were asked
Three bloggers
The mystery basket is revealed. "Oh hell", went the faces as they were asked to use two of the four ingredients in a dish. The selection did not really speak to many. It certainly was a very challenging selection. Beetroot, canned apricots (which a couple of contestants thought were peaches), fresh figs and a strip steak on the bone, which most removed. If you were making a dessert, you had apricots and fresh figs and, for savoury, perhaps beetroot and steak which are not natural matches; nor were the two fruits ingredients that go well with steak. There was a lot of hesitation and some panic while they began to plan their dishes. One contestant looked completely stumped and was very slow off the starting block. What followed was quite innovative in some cases, very safe choices in others, but not all the combinations worked. Cooking the beetroot did present some problems as much was woefully under cooked. Some boiled it, some baked, some did both and no one used the microwave, which we find infallible. One contestant said s/he didn't see it in the front of the room
The pantry ingredients were at the top of the room, and in the two fridges and microwave behind the pantry table
Lots of fruit, but a lack of green vegetables, which were in the fridge with a good selection of cheeses
These went unused and are so good with figs, but we are not sure that the contestants heard the announcement
Selecting their ingredients
It's a puzzlement!
Lots of other fruit, but making a fruit salad was a copout. Luckily we had two experienced bakers in the room
A selection of fresh herbs
Astrid is more au fait with cakes, baking and desserts, so that is what she decided to make
Ilhaam chats to judge Grace as she chops garlic. She chose to use the steak and the beetroot
and she cleverly spotted some red peppers with which she made a coulis
Lots and lots of planning by Imtiyaaz, who also chose the steak and beetroot
Christine was the other baker and was so impressively fast off the starting block
She made a choux pasty and was piping it within the first 20 minutes
Judge Jon liked the way Ilhaam worked; she was neat and organised
Many contestants did not realise that neatness and organisation were also marked
Messy tables cost some of them valuable marks
Judges watching preparation with eagle eyes. They also asked lots of questions
John took lots of photographs and Lynne, as a cook, also asked some cogent questions,
but we specifically tried to stay on the outer perimeter and not get in the way or distract the contestants
The worst mistake made by nearly all of the contestants was to cook their steaks far, far too early,
so many were cold and completely overcooked by the time they were judged
However, some did make very good sauces, so the steaks were very flavourful, if grey rather than pink inside
Searing on a very hot ridged pan with garlic and herbs
Getting that fat nice and crisp was essential
Fried potatoes with beetroot cubes, mashed potato and crisp fried carrots accompanied this steak
This was the only dish with a green vegetable
Sweetened glazed carrots and beetroot with this steak, pre-sliced
Herb butter accompanied this steak. Much of the fat had been removed
Mash, butternut purée, cubes of beetroot and sprinkled chives
Deep fried Parisienne potato balls, beetroot pickle, fresh figs and a red pepper coulis
The steak was topped with crisply fried spring onions **
Dessert made by Christine was choux pastry fingers filled with crème patissière on an apricot sauce,
which sadly seemed to have soaked into the choux, very buttery shortbread biscuits, meringue, fresh figs and canned apricots
Astrid's dessert, caramelised roasted figs with a white chocolate mousse, presented on a rich biscuit crumb and sliced apricots*
The chefs had to take their dishes downstairs and explain them to the judges, who then tasted on their own
Mariam talking to the judges about her dish. We were most impressed with one of her ideas
She said she needed and could not find any balsamic vinegar so, using the apricots and the beetroot, she made a substitute
The hard job of tasting. (Masterchef judges pick up a lot of weight during the series)
Waiting in anticipation of the final results
The runner up prize went to Astrid Ford for her delicious dessert
And the winner is Ilhaam Banoobhai-Anwar, who so impressed the judges
with her excellent knowledge of different cooking methods and a rather good dish
If you look at the pictures of the dishes, the runner up dish is marked with one asterisk and the winner's with two
Lauren presents her with her certificate and we are all showered with golden sequins as we shout "Congratulations!"
And there is a prize of a Bosch stick blender and a bottle of something to celebrate with - Lautus dealcoholised sweet bubbly
Watch the Bosch website for dates when Ilhaam starts to offer her cookery experiences in Cape Town, which you can book for
The judges with Lauren Jappie and Ilhaam Banoobhai-Anwar, winner of #TheNextBoschChef

1 comment:

rockets said...

Thank you for this article! I was wondering what the constructive criticism was from the judges since the winner was announced but no one was actually told what they did wrong, too much, too less of. When you enter competitions like this the feedback is essential so that you can grow and learn from that experience.