In the latest season of Ultimate Braai Master, a team of chefs – dubbed The Sexy Chefs – competed in the outdoor cooking and travel show. The Maslow’s breakfast Chef de Partie, Wenzokuhle Mandiwana, together with co-chef, team mate and best friend, Nonkosi Vellem, also an employee of Sun International at Time Square in Menlyn, decided to enter after being encouraged by a colleague.

“We applied while sitting in the canteen one day and got called for a cook-off.  It was merely about the fun and just experiencing the whole thing but we made it through to the next round, and the next and the next. When we realized how far we had gotten in the competition, it dawned on us that we might just have some talent,” she smiles. Unfortunately, they didn’t make it to the finals, but they certainly enjoyed the competition and would encourage other chefs to enter as well. Here, we chat with Chef Wenzokuhle Mandiwana about the experience:

What was your experience on Ultimate Braai Master like? My experience was out of this world, from how we were treated by the crew to the challenges we were given that tested our strength and cooking skills. I enjoyed the travelling and the whole atmosphere amongst us as contestants.

What was it like watching yourself on TV? Unreal. I still can’t believe the whole of South Africa was watching us do our thing on TV – and soon it’ll be the entire world when it goes onto Dstv travel Channel.

What was a highlight and what was a lowlight? The highlight was traveling South Africa, meeting new people and just getting to spend time with my friend Nonkosi. Lowlight? Hmm… there isn’t one actually! The entire trip was overwhelming and new to us – I think it’s safe to say we had the time of our lives

What was the best thing that you think you cooked while you were on the show? Our first dish, which was mugodi (tripe), steam bread and spinach. It was a true reflection of who we are, where we are going and where we’ve been. We had to make a dish that is indicative of ourselves, so that’s where the inspiration came from.

Which was your favourite place to visit? Haga Gaga! My gosh that place is gorgeous, the beach was at our doorstep.

Any cooking tips you gained from the show that you can share? Always think out the box and taste your food.

Any advice for other chefs who want to enter UBM next year? Go for it! The sky is the limit – we didn’t think we’d make it until episode 10/13 and we did.

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