Braai master all fired up

By philip
11 February 2013

Brent Meersman surveys the success of Justin Bonello’s TV series and highlights that there is a call for contestants for the new series.

Cooking began in the open, says Justin Bonello, and the challenges are unlimited.

Meersman: I ask Bonello what he looks for in participants.

“I’ve discovered that five-tenths of the protagonists we use in content will develop ego, and ego is the killer for me … If they can retain the humility, then I’ll use them again.”

And in the contestants? “Obviously they have to be able to cook but, then again, it’s television and there has to be the entertainment element.”

Aspirant braai masters have to be screened and must answer an on-line questionnaire. For the first series, one question was: How would you cook a warthog? “Venison is notoriously difficult to cook but the minute I saw the third red wine and pineapple recipe, I knew it was cutting and pasting from the internet, and there is no skill set involved in that.

“I boiled it down to one point — generally, the contestants were the one within their circle of friends who was the braai master … the gregarious one, the life and soul of the party.”

After a few days, the contestants forget about the camera.

Looking ahead, I wonder what is left to braai in the second series. Bonello laughs. He says almost anything can be done on the braai. “We’ve been cooking in the outdoors from time immemorial … There’s an alchemy behind food … You can do an Eggs Benedict on the braai!”

Indeed, before electricity and gas, fire was the stove. And the fire, like Bonello’s own flair, gives it something unique.

Find entry forms online no later than Friday February 15. Filming will start in May with the Ultimate Braai Master 2013 series premiering on SABC3 in spring this year.

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