Tiso Blackstar Events once again partnered with the Gautrain Management Agency for a successful Sunday Times Goodlife Gautrain Taste Experience event, which celebrated cookery in South Africa with a cook-off between this year’s top ten finalists to decide the 2018 champion. The cook-off took place on 2nd November 2018, at the Pick ‘n Pay Good Food Studio in Sandton.
The top ten finalists re-created their recipes for adjudication by a panel which included chef Kabelo Segone, vice-president of the South African Chefs Association; Sam Rolland, last year’s winner; Dorah Sitole, former magazine editor and food stylist; and Gautrain Management Agency’s senior executive manager: communication & marketing, Dr Barbara Jensen. Sunday Times Food editor, Hilary Biller, managed the MC duties for the event. The dessert dishes were evaluated on taste, originality, presentation, their South African ‘feel and flavour’, as well as the ability of their creators to organise themselves efficiently in the kitchen.
While the hour-long cook-off was taking place, the guest audience enjoyed two master classes presented by chefs Dorah Sitole and Kabelo Segone.
Willem Boonzaaier from Johannesburg was awarded first place with his ‘Date and nut pudding in a pot’, and received a cash prize of R7,000.  Jessica Govender from Durban claimed the second spot and took home R3,000 cash for her ‘End of the line sweet bread pudding’. Third place, and a cash prize of R1,000 went to Lucille Kistiah from Johannesburg for her ‘Letting off steam churros’.
The other finalists were:
• Demi Engelbrecht from Pretoria, with All aboard the berry express!
• Adél February from Cape Town, with Naartjie tail lights with spiced chocolate sauce
• Jenny Kay from Johannesburg, with Fast track tipsy tart roll
• Monyane Mbele from Johannesburg, with Strawberry cheesecake parfaits
• Boitumelo Tseleng from Johannesburg, with Himbasha with custard
• Margaret Angela Clare Weisswange from Port Elizabeth, with Chooco mousse express
• Jeannette Marie Wentzel from Pretoria, with End of the line saucy whisky chocolate pudding
All finalists were rewarded for their efforts and walked away with prizes including: a pre-loaded Gautrain gift card to the value of R150; 24 piece Otima Hamper; bottles of wine; copies of Home Owner Magazine, as well as Nova paper towel. Sally Williams – the world’s finest honey nougat – was served as the main dessert on the evening.
“Last year the campaign was well received, and it was thus fitting to be part of the Sunday Times Goodlife Taste Experience again this year, as it provides an opportunity to position Gautrain as a lifestyle choice’’ says Dr Barbara Jensen, Gautrain Management Agency Senior Executive Manager for Communication and Marketing.
Click here to view the Top 10 contestant recipes.