The Ballito Pro Food and Wine was a two-day culinary feast for visitors and competitors with hidden cooking skills brought to the boil during the beachside contests on Tuesday, 4 and Wednesday, 5 July.
Forming part of the action-packed Ballito Pro presented by Billabong festival programme, the Ballito Pro Food and Wine consisted of enticing food contests for all ages, quality vintages for sampling, as well as a variety of music, fashion and dance.
“The Ballito Pro Food and Wine is certainly one of the highlights on the festival calendar and we were so fortunate that the stunning KwaDukuza weather played its part,” said event organiser, Collette Bundy. “Both cooking contests saw a number of daring entrants really bringing something different to the table so huge congratulations to all the competitors for putting on a fantastic show. We are also very grateful to the elite panel of judges – Luci Hirsch, Diogo Barendse, Callie-Anne Gavazzi, and Eldry Leibrandt – for their time and effort, as well as all our generous sponsors who contributed to making this event such a success.”
The first evening saw contestants, aged six to 13 years, pairing up for the Freak Shake competition. Here, teams of two had to compete to make the wackiest, freakiest milkshake possible using whatever ingredients they brought along on the evening with judges critiquing both taste and appearance.
Taking the top position in this tasty contest was ‘The Rainbow Genes’ consisting of Ava and Noa Muller from Ballito. The winners of this colourful event – sponsored by Hirschs, Defy, Concha Café, Fine Young Cooks and Counter Culture – took the Ballito’s Freak Shake Team title of 2017 with the decadently creamy dessert set to feature on the Concha Café menu.
They were followed closely by Daniel Westerhoff and Kai Muller of ‘Bribe the Judges’ in second place with Ava and Kade Chapman of ‘Minty Little Freaks’ in third position.
The exciting celebrity cook-off saw Darren Sykes of Ilembe surfriders take on commentator, Kai Linde, in a mystery box challenge set up by Brett Michelin of Mozambik. This fun event was judged by Michelin, Diogo Barendse of Concha Café as well as Dean Fletcher from Grandstand with Ballito resident, Darren Sykes taking the win.
Things got heated the following night as the adults got their chance to prove their kitchen skills in the Shisa Nyama Proudly African Cook-off. For the top spot, teams of two had to compete in a sizzling mystery box challenge organised by Lewaine von Allemann of Fine Young Cooks.
This year’s mystery box included wors, liver, chicken wings, T-bone steak and a pork chop which had to be fused with bread dough, carrots, green pepper, onion, tomato, cabbage and chilli. The contestants had to incorporate all the mystery box items and were also given a selection of pantry items to choose from.
Bringing their finest shisa nyama dish to the table was the winning team of Zuko Maja and Zandile Msuka, aka The Rakeez, from the recently opened Verulam restaurant, The Zulu Pot. Loret de Musso and David Muller from Loret’s Kitchen followed in second place with Jacobson Mthembu and Arthur Bertrum from Team Kasi Taste in third.
Throughout the Ballito Pro Night of Food and Wine, visitors were also given the chance to sample some of the country’s best vintages at the Wine Tasting, sip on tasty mixes at the Cocktails and Flaring stand, and taste some of the best local fare at the Artisanal Food Market with a difference. Local restaurants also offered enticing taster menus showcasing signature dishes.
Entertainment on both evenings came in the form of Simply Models’ fashion shows and best-dressed competitions with dance entertainment performed by the Parkour Crew, Street Riders. Musical talent provided by Avade and DJ Fuego Heat – sponsored by Counter Culture – kept the vibe up-tempo throughout.