Q&A With Masterchef Australia’s Ben Ungermann Ahead of His SA Tour
Ben Ungermann – runner-up of MasterChef Australia 2017 – returns to South Africa this month for a nationwide series of three different Masterclasses. The two-hour Masterclasses will take place at Capsicum Culinary Studio campuses in Pretoria (March 11); Johannesburg (March 12 and 13), Port Elizabeth (March 15), Cape Town (March 18, 19, 20 and 21) and Durban (March 25, 26 and 27).
Ben Ungermann in South Africa
Ungermann will be presenting 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, giving masterclasses.
Q&A With Masterchef Australia’s Ben Ungermann
What have you been doing since your last visit to South Africa?
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.
Tell us about this year’s South African masterclasses and what people attending can expect from them?
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 do you believe 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.
We’ve just watched the winner crowned in MasterChef Australia 2018. Any advice for Sashi?
I don’t think Sashi needs any advice, he 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 a bit 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 cost per Ben Ungermann Masterclass is R950 and includes an apron to take home as well as time afterwards for talks and photos with Ungermann. The Masterclasses are presented by Capsicum Culinary Studio in partnership with Kenwood South SA.
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