Friday, December 12, 2014

BREAKING. Durban assistant train driver Roxi Wardman wins 3rd season of M-Net's MasterChef South Africa, wants to open a café and pâtisserie.

Roxi Wardman (26), a train driver assistant from Durban, was announced the winner of the third season of MasterChef South Africa on M-Net (DStv 101) in the reality show which concluded with a live winner's announcement, beating out fellow contestant Siphokazi Mdlankomo (39), a domestic worker from Cape Town.

Roxi Wardman wins R500 000, a Volkswagen Tiguan, R100 000 worth of food from Woolworths, a trip to the French winelands, a year's wine from Nederburg, and a holiday in the Seychelles.

The final episode saw Roxi Wardman and Sipho Mdlankomo duke it out in an intense three-part cook off with a celebrity chef appearance by the British restaurateur and TV chef Marco Pierre White.

"I'm no longer a train driver assistant, this is what I want to do," said Roxi Wardman. "As soon as I get back to Durban I'm going to be looking for premises and be looking for a really kick-ass team. I want people with no formal training to create jobs and I need them to think out of the box. I want to open a café and pâtisserie combined."

"It's something I've wanted for so so long," said Roxi Wardman, who's no longer an assistant train driver. "It proves that you're never too old to follow your dreams and no matter what your background is. Nothing can stop you if you put your mind to it."

Roxi Wardman revealed that she's quit her job as a train driver's assistant where she did routes from Durban up to the North coast and South Coast to Port Shepstone - grueling, hard work and 12-hour shifts in what she calls "a man's work".

"I worked day shifts, night shifts, early mornings where you actually start at midnight. It was quite hard. It was fun at the beginning but then I started hating every single day that I went to work."

"Basically if anything happened en route I would then have to get out the locomotive and walk the line back by myself and check for any faults. You are put in that man's world and they won't treat you any different."

Siphokazi Mdlankomo, who acknowledged that she's become an inspiration for millions of South African domestic workers on the pay-TV broadcaster programme, said "hopefully I will have my own TV cooking show. It's one of my biggest dreams".

"A lot of domestic workers, they have been supporting me. I'm a role model for them now. Everywhere I go they ask me, 'Sipho, how do you do it?"

"The house where I work, you will find every single recipe book. I try every recipe that there. That's how I'm learning. Every Taste magazine, every food and home magazine, I have to try it. So that's how I cook."

Siphokazi Mdlankomo said she would entertain offers from hotel groups, restaurants and places who perhaps want her to come and work for their establishments as a chef.

She didn't have DStv but took out a contract after she became a top 12 contestant in order for her mother and son to watch her in MasterChef South Africa, the Shine International format produced for M-Net by Lucky Bean Media and Quizzical Pictures.

"We could see from the beginning how great they were, but still they had to fight for their positions and that was really amazing to see," said MasterChef SA celebrity chef and judge Reuben Riffel. "For me I'm really proud to say that the two best cooks made it to the end."

Victor Eckard, M-Net channel director told TV with Thinus that the growth in social media has elevated MasterChef South Africa.

"Everybody in South Africa loves to cook, so the engagement when it comes to recipes is huge with people who get access to these kinds of recipes, and to watch TV and PVR it and watch it while you cook it yourself is big. It really works well for the audience and is doing good for M-Net," said Victor Eckard.

"Social media is great focus research for us. We track it to see and listen what people say say. There's lot of ideas coming from people. We get a sense of what the audience wants and actually helps to determine the challenges coming up. So it's a very useful tool," said Donald Clarke, executive producer from Lucky Bean Media.

Donald Clarke said MasterChef SA added the live winner's announcement for the first time for the 3rd season "to capture the energy that we had last year when Kamini Pather was crowned the winner because the atmosphere was electric".

Speaking about the progression of the show - from bigger and bigger challenges, an island mystery location, and surprising guest chef appearance in the latest season - Harriet Gavshon, executive producer from Quizzical Pictures told TV with Thinus that "every season we say 'that was great, but now how are we going to raise the bar?"

"So we challenge ourselves. And the audience expects us to be better and better. It is constantly challenging and interesting."

Celebrity MasterChef South Africa starts on M-Net on Sunday 8 February on M-Net at 18:00 with local celebrities competing for their charities and another season of Junior MasterChef Australia is also starting soon.

On Thursday 18 December Feast starts on M-Net, a 4-part special in which the three MasterChef SA judges and Marco Pierre White show their homes and share recipes and hosting ideas with viewers for the festive season.