After nine tough weeks on the road, through 9000km’s of the most beautiful and harsh terrain that southern Africa has to offer and countless location-based challenges on the fire, the top three rival teams made their way to Felix Unite Round the Bend Camp on the banks of the Breede River to compete in the final grueling challenge.
Teams were kept busy the entire day as they had to produce breakfast, lunch and a dinner feast for the finale with a series of surprising quick-fire challenges thrown into the mix to push the finalists to their culinary limits.
The final challenge saw Gauteng based Kaiings and Afval, KwaZulu Natal based Mix Masala, and Western Cape based Tikka Boys battle it out from breakfast until the dinner feast, which ultimately saw the Tikka Boys walk home with R500 000.00 cash, the Renault Duster 4×4 valued at R260 000.00, and the all-expenses-paid trip from Robertsons Herbs and Spices to India with Justin Bonello, a Big Green Egg valued at R15 000 each and the title of this year’s Ultimate Braai Master! The runners up each walked away with R40 000.00 worth of weekends away courtesy of Sho’t Left as well as a host of other prizes!
Junior Sous Chefs and best friends, Braai Master Yusuf Sujee (26) and Braai Buddy Stephen Mandes (26), are both from Cape Town and left their jobs at De Grendel Restaurant in Plattekloof to pursue their dreams of becoming South Africa’s youngest Ultimate Braai Master team.
Says Braai Master Yusuf, “I always read quotes saying that if you believe in a dream you should pursue it. The dream was to become the youngest champions of the Ultimate Braai Master ever and it happened! It was the best journey of my life – meeting new friends and the awesome crew that we worked with everyday who became our family. It was truly an incredible journey. During the final I was fasting and could not taste anything at all, so Stephen had to do the tasting and he clearly did an awesome job. When Justin announced that we had won I couldn’t believe it – it’s a dream come true! We are the champions and fully deserve it as we were the underdogs even though we are chefs! Thank you to all who made this possible.”
“Yusuf entered the competition not thinking much of it. He was invited to the auditions and asked me to do it with him. After seeing the turn-out we knew this would be a huge opportunity to get our names out in the industry. Since winning, I have been working at the wine estate. It’s been tough keeping it a secret but it feels great to be the youngest winners of this epic experience – one that I will treasure forever. The judges and crew were really cool and I had so much fun. I can’t stop saying thank you to the Cooked in Africa team and everybody involved!” says Braai Buddy Stephen.