NHS Skole Kook duo cooks up a storm!
We’ll soon know how NHS team mates fared in kykNET’s Die Groot Ontbyt’s Skole Kook competition, but in the meantime, they talk to us about their culinary skills, the competition and the future.
It took a few nerve-wracking moments to get to the final. For each episode, contestants were presented with only a theme and a list of sponsored ingredients and given leeway with the rest. How they interpreted and executed the task, were entirely up to them. The girls wasted no time getting noticed. In round one, their sweet and savoury pancake combo won over the judges.
Working independently (although this counted against them), Chevonne thrilled with a pork belly delight; Elrisa with her take on crêpes Suzette. “We went big, right from the word go,” they grin. They have subsequently learnt to pool their skills and pull together as a team, each person concentrating on her personal strengths.
Both Chevonne and Elrisa grew up in a foodie environment. The former is part of the Böhm Zeederburg of Sabie clan; mom Andrea’s cooking skills the stuff of legend. She lives in Kaapsehoop and often helps out in her parents’ restaurant, the Bohemian Groove Café. Elrisa’s sister is a trained chef and her mom caters for people with special dietary requirements. Baking and creating are part of their world. “I often cook at home,” she smiles. “It’s something my sister and I enjoy doing together. My mom gets tired of making food.”
The food looked and tasted fantastic – and sent them through to the Mpumalanga finals
In the second round, having to incorporate Deeghuys’ pastry in their cooking, the girls played on a chicken theme: Chevonne making a layered loaf with olives, feta and pesto and Elrisa going for bite-sized portions in a black cherry-and-brie sauce. Beautifully styled on a piece of slate found in dad’s garage, the food looked and tasted fantastic – and sent them through to the Mpumalanga finals.
In this, with the instruction to bake “a masterpiece with three layers” they went to town. “We went totally OTT,” Chevonne laughs. “Our cake had about nine layers.” The cake was baked beforehand and was assembled on the day. Sugar roses, the girls confess, they learnt to make then and there, after a quick hour-long crash course. It was held together with PVC pipes and resembled a woodland fantasy, with its chocolate bark, marshmallow fluff and lashings of buttercream winning over the judges. The cake itself, they say, was delicious, the result of a modified recipe they found on the Internet. They enjoyed this last round the most, liking the experimental, playful aspect of it.
When the interview takes place, the waiting game for the final is on. With the venue and theme yet unconfirmed (either Pretoria or Stellenbosch, depending on who else qualifies), team Nelspruit is excited, yet slightly nervous. “It gets tough towards the end of each challenge, and one stresses about not having enough time to plate up and finish,” Chevonne explains. “But working in a restaurant kitchen helps, as I’m used to the pressure.”
Both girls plan on a career in the hospitality industry and are applying for spots at South Africa’s top culinary schools next year. Elrise has her eyes on Capital Hotel School in Pretoria, where her sister studied. Chevonne sees herself in an eventual teaching role and hopes to head to ICA (Institute of Culinary Arts Chef School) in Stellenbosch. A bursary to the latter is one of the competition’s prizes, so there’s much at stake.
The girls are quietly optimistic about their chances, but are well aware of how badly (and fast!) things can go wrong. Whether they win or not is immaterial in a certain sense, because these young women are destined for the kitchen – in the best possible way.