Deena Naidoo is SA's first Masterchef
DURBANITE Deena Naidoo is the country's inaugural Masterchef.
And he did well to fake the shock, following last night's announcement, at his new restaurant, MondoVino at Montecasino.
In fact, Naidoo, 45, was installed as the winner of the television cooking game show in March, but the public learnt of the news at the end of the 90-minute finale.
Naidoo beat out Capetonian Sue-Ann Allen, 30, for the prize.
He won a Hyundai Elantra 1.6 GLS, valued at more than R190000, R250000 in cash, a week's culinary trip to Italy, a year's supply of Nederburg wine and, of course, the new restaurant donated to him by Tsogo Sun.
The first quarter of last night's episode - which was the 19th - began with the three judges (Pete Goffe-Wood, Benny Masekwameng and Andrew Atkinson) hosting the pair for a three-course meal.
M-Net commissioning editor Anne Davis said the channel was looking for "schedules and budgets to see whether a second season is possible". She said the show had displaced Greys Anatomy and Desperate Housewives in popularity.
Naidoo said: "I'm happy because I'm not just starting a restaurant from nowhere, but I have an amazing machine behind me."
Naidoo's restaurant is scheduled to open on November 1.
Sunday Times Chef of the Year 2012
For the sixth consecutive year Sunday Times Chef of the Year in association with Foodcorp launched on Sunday 22 July 2012.
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