My township “cook off” experience started on a shuttle bus which left from the Durban Tourism Offices in Florida Road, firstly to Umhlanga’s beautiful Oyster Box Hotel to collect the Good Food and Wine Show celebrity chefs Brent Owens, Renae Smith, Peter Ayub and Siphokazi Mdlankomo and then on to Eyadini Lounge in KZN’s Umlazi township for a food experience with a difference.
On arrival at our venue we were greeted by Mayasree Moodley who is the PR officer at Durban Tourism as well as Sharen Thamboo who oversees the Websites and Social Media for eThekwini Municipality. Eyadini Lounge was a buzz of activity with bloggers, media people, photographers, chefs as well as honoured guests. In the lounge, ready to partake in the “cook off” was our very own loved and treasured Giggling Gourmet, Jenny Morris and celebrity chef and close friend, Reza Mohamed. There was a lot of activity and excitement going on as we were officially welcomed by Councillor Dumisani Ngema.
Soon after the welcomes, the first 4 chefs got ready for their “cook off”. On the left the Aussies prepared a very different, yet delicious Pilchards curry with Renae’s added special ingredient, peanut butter, to make the sauce extra creamy. This was served on a bed of pap which is a fabulous alternative to serving curry with rice.
On the right was the South African team comprising of Jenny and Reza. Together they made a delicious vetkoek and boerewors combo which too is poles apart from the traditional boerewors and bread roll. By this time, we were all complaining of hunger as we salivated over the appetizing food that was being prepared in front of us.
After a short break and clean up, the chef’s station was prepared for a second “cook off”. This time round it was Peter Ayub cooking against our very own Masterchef runner up, Siphokazi. Peter made a fantastic lamb hotdog which was smothered in a creamy, garlicky sauce and Siphokazi turned out a scrumptious looking burger with mushroom sauce which I unfortunately didn’t get a chance to taste.
After tempting us all with amazing aroma’s and good looking food, it was our turn to tuck into the spread that was prepared for the guests behind the scenes. In true township style, we were treated to platters and platters of shisanyama (Zulu for meat) and uJeqe (steamed Zulu bread) which I’m getting the hang of pronouncing. One of my favourites is pap and chakalaka (South African vegetable relish) which was served as an accompaniment to the mountains of meat. There was also a choice of butternut with your meal or coleslaw. I chose the latter.
After a glorious experience, we all hopped back on the bus and headed back to Durban Tourism offices to go our separate ways. It was an unforgettable experience for me and I’m sure for everyone else too. I headed back home, exhausted but satisfied.