Ben Ungermann, the runner-up of MasterChef Australia 2017, returns to South Africa for a nationwide series of three different Masterclasses in 2019.

Ben Ungermann Masterchef Australia SA masterclasses
Ben Ungermann from Masterchef Australia presents masterclasses

The two-hour Masterclasses will take place at Capsicum Culinary Studio campuses in Pretoria (11 March); Johannesburg (12, 13 March), Port Elizabeth (15 March), Cape Town (18 – 21 March) and Durban (25 – 27 March).

Ungermann will present three classes: The Whole Chicken Masterclass in which he will demonstrate how to take apart and use every part of a chicken; The Fish Masterclass where he will show how to fillet and cook fish perfectly every time and The Dessert Masterclass, which will include some of Ungermann’s famous desserts including his much-loved ice cream.

In 2017 Ungermann decided to pursue his dream of a life in the world of food on MasterChef Australia. He finished as runner-up and discovered a love and talent for desserts. Since MasterChef Australia Ungermann has been travelling the globe, from Japan to England and Indonesia, as well as his homeland in the Netherlands.

What have you been doing since your last visit to SA?
I have been continuing to hone my skills in kitchens around the world and have settled in Indonesia where I have just become an ambassador for a cooking brand, made a guest appearance on MasterChef Indonesia and am working on opening my new milk bar/retro diner concept in Seminyak.

What can we expect from this year’s SA? 
This year’s masterclasses will be about techniques that attendees can use to aid them at home, to make their ingredients stretch further and help with plating to make it look gourmet, just like on the show and, of course, taste absolutely delicious.

What are the latest food trends?
More and more people are exploring a vegetarian and vegan diet. I am an absolute carnivore and I love meat but it’s no lie, to produce protein that ends up on the plate takes a larger toll on the environment. There is a big push to cook more with vegetables and non-protein items.

Do you have plans to visit any SA restaurants?
My last time in South Africa I visited Restaurant Mosaic which was absolutely phenomenal. Chef Chantel Dartnall is remarkable and it is one of the best meals I have ever eaten. I would love to explore Cape Town which I’ve heard is the food capital of South Africa, but I know that saying that will upset lots of other cities.

What are you most looking forward to on this trip?
Meeting South Africans. My biggest following is in India and I have travelled all over the world, but I have to say the people who have been my favourite are South Africans.

Sashi was crowned the winner of MasterChef Australia 2018, what’s your impression?
Sashi is true foodie at heart, he has a fantastic following and I can definitely see him as one of the most successful MasterChef Australia contestants ever.

Tell us about your ice cream shop in Australia?
Ungermann Brothers in Australia is a shop that presents gourmet, out-of-the-box flavours to the public. All our ice-cream is preservative free, we use the freshest local ingredients and it is completely natural with no stabilisers. My brother Danny and I are both parents and we believe when you are feeding the people you care about, you use the best possible ingredients at your disposal. It has never been about making a quick buck but rather about giving people quality.

Three favourite ice cream flavours?
My organic carrot cake, which has become my absolute favourite, secondly my salted caramel bacon and pecan and the third, which we don’t make at my ice-cream shop in Australia, is boysenberry, it’s just one of those flavours which gets me.

Favourite chicken dish?
Chicken karaage – fried Japanese chicken with an amazing flavour.

Favourite fish dish?
Well-cooked fish, still very moist, with hollandaise sauce will just do me every time.

The SA Masterclasses are presented by Capsicum Culinary Studio in partnership with Kenwood South SA.

Who: Ben Ungermann Masterchef Australia
What: Ben Ungermann Masterclasses South Africa
Book Ben Ungermann Masterclass tickets: R950, includes apron to take home, time for talks and pics with Ungermann
Schedule: Keirisha 086 111 2433, chef@capsicumcooking.co.za, https://www.capsicumcooking.com/ben_masterclass
Ben Ungermann tickets: https://www.quicket.co.za/organisers/15664-capsicum-culinary-studio/
WS