ULTIMATE BRAAI MASTER! "WE'RE OPENING APOP-UP SHOP!"
yusuf and stephen want to open a pop-up food store after winning the third season of ultimate braai master.
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?
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.
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.