Deena Naidoo wasted no time in making Samantha Nolan his first pick for the team challenge on board the SAS Amatola in Simonstown.
The second MasterChef SA team challenge saw the contestants cooking in the ships galley for 100 hungry sailors. Deena Naidoo and Thys Hattingh having been given the captains armbands after winning the episode six curry challenge made quick work in selecting the strongest teams possible. Deena picked first and after declaring “my mandate today is to pick the strongest team. I cannot go into an elimination challenge”, called upon Samantha Nolan. He picked Samantha for her” overall understanding and knowledge of food”. The Capetonian has quickly installed herself as favourite to win the competition with consistently strong performances each round earning the respect of all her competitors. Sarel Loots, Jade de Waal and Manisha Naidu quickly followed with Brandon Law and Khaya Silingile bringing up the Blue Team rear.
Thys Hattingh made Sue-Ann Allen his first choice with Guy Clark and Ilse Fourie being further definitive choices. Babalwa Baartman and Lungile Nhlanhla made up the numbers and Mmusti Maseko joined them by virtue of being the last remaining choice.
Deena got organised very quickly and made good use of Samantha by going with her Deep Fried Chicken recipe and appointed Sarel to work with her in getting it all ready.
Deena’s strategy was to “keep it simple, yet effective”. He kept a close eye on everything that was happening in his kitchen especially the chicken and on one occasion warned Sarel that his oil was too hot and that the chicken, while browning was not cooking on the inside. He instructed him to reduce the temperature.
Thys Hattingh’s Red Team was going with lamb chops and he had Sue-Ann and Guy looking after the meat. It’s no coincidence that both captains appointed their first two picks to look after the main component of their meals.
The team challenges make for entertaining viewing as the tension mounts in closely contested play off’s. In the Harvest Challenge, Samantha Nolan’s Red Team narrowly won by a couple of votes and similar scenes were playing out on the SAS Amatola. Deena Naidoo’s Blue Team won the challenge with 51 votes to 46.
Deena led the team well but it’s no coincidence that Samantha Nolan is on the winning side once again. She continues to dominate the kitchen with both her food and personality. The reality is that whoever has Samantha on their team will be odds on favourite to win just as she is to win the competition outright and claim the title of South Africa’s first MasterChef.
Who do you think will be South Africa’s first MasterChef?