yusuf and stephen want to open a pop-up food store after win­ning the third sea­son of ul­ti­mate braai master.

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ul­ti­mate braai master

sea­son 3 – Fi­nale aired was thurs­day 4 de­cem­ber

Cape town had bet­ter clear its streets: ul­ti­mate braai master’s (2012-cur­rent) new win­ners yusuf su­jee and stephen man­des (aka tikka boys) are plan­ning to open a pop-up food stall with their win­nings! so what can we ex­pect?

yusuf (26)

how did your pas­sion for food

start? when i was 10, i’d help my gran cook and i en­joyed that a great deal. i fin­ished school and wanted to do civil en­gi­neer­ing, but after job-shad­ow­ing, i re­alised it wasn’t for me and re­turned to my orig­i­nal pas­sion.

why did you en­ter the com­pe­ti­tion? i’ve al­ways been told i should en­ter some sort of food com­pe­ti­tion, but since i’m a pro­fes­sional chef, i couldn’t en­ter masterchef sa. then a col­league i’d worked with at gor­don ram­say’s maze restau­rant in london, sug­gested ul­ti­mate braai master. i gave it a go and hey, here i am! and you chose stephen as your braai buddy – why? we’ve known each other since 2010 when we worked to­gether at the cape grace ho­tel. i know him like the back of my hand and we trust each other’s judge­ment, which is im­por­tant in a com­pe­ti­tion setup.

what was the most chal­leng­ing part? be­ing

out of the kitchen, us­ing a dif­fer­ent heat source – fire, which is hard to con­trol. i’m used to cook­ing in com­fort and that wasn’t al­ways the case. also, fight­ing over hot show­ers in the morn­ing wasn’t fun.

and the best part of be­ing on the show? when we cooked snoek for about 250 schoolkids in luderitz (episode 7 on 23 oc­to­ber), as well as win­ning the chal­lenge and re­ward in sos­susvlei (episode 8 on 30 oc­to­ber) – es­pe­cially be­cause the con­di­tions there were ex­treme and pre­par­ing food in that heat was a huge chal­lenge. what have you taken away from ul­ti­mate braai master (be­sides the prize)? the flavour that fire gives food is dif­fer­ent and we’d like to in­cor­po­rate that into the food we make. we’re still brain­storm­ing for now, but food trucks are tak­ing over glob­ally and we’re go­ing to make it work here too.

stephen (26)

have you al­ways been into

culi­nary arts? my in­ter­est in food started at a young age. my dad was the cook in the house and i’d spend time with him in the kitchen. as i grew older, i con­sid­ered mar­ket­ing or some­thing of­fice-based, but cook­ing was al­ways my first pas­sion.

why did you agree to join yusuf on the show? it’s an awe­some plat­form for chefs like us and is a fully south african pro­gramme that shows off all our lo­cal land­scapes and the won­der­ful tastes each place presents.

what’s the big­gest hur­dle you faced? not know­ing what you’re go­ing to cook be­fore­hand. the 24-hour chal­lenges were al­ways the hard­est and it tested a lot of el­e­ments within our team – our work­man­ship and culi­nary skills, as well as our re­la­tion­ship.

and your big­gest high­light? go­ing river raft­ing on the orange river (episode 10 on 13 novem­ber) – even though it was for two hours and ex­haust­ing. and, of course, the fi­nal an­nounce­ment that we’d won. what do you con­sider the tikka boys’ best dish this sea­son? we got con­tin­u­ous good feed­back from the judges for most of our dishes, but i’d say the dish we made in sos­susvlei, namibia. our spiced and crushed wilde­beest fil­let is a fa­mil­iar con­cept to us as we do it on a daily ba­sis. show­cas­ing your braai­ing skills led to vic­tory – what now? i’m tak­ing my wife of a ro­man­tic get­away and then yusuf and i will be­gin our plan for a pop-up eatery, mak­ing some­thing for our­selves and get­ting our names out there as young chefs.

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