Road trip of a lifetime next on MasterChef SA winner’s menu
Shawn Godfrey shares the lowdown on life after winning, his family and what’s in store for the new celebrity chef
He’s just been crowned MasterChef SA 2022 (MCSA), having won the fourth season of the competition and a grand prize of R1m. Shawn Godfrey tells Hilary Biller about winning, family life and future plans.
Congratulations, what a great victory. The series wrapped up a couple of months ago and it’s been so difficult to keep your lips sealed about your big win. How has life changed?
It was a tough secret to keep for four months as I just wanted to shout it off the rooftops, but it did give me a chance to prepare for the next chapter. I started an Instagram account in lockdown called @TheRoastedDad and since making it through the top 20 of MasterChef SA I started to practise new techniques and dishes more regularly and so I had more to post. I launched my own website and last month we launched our store, which includes Roasted and Little Roast products.
What were you doing before MCSA?
I was — and still am — an entrepreneur. I (co-) own a few companies, but spend the majority of my day-to-day running a lighting company in Cape Town.
Spending weeks away from family, which has grown to three since the competition, it must be good to be home?
I missed them so much. It’s very good to be back. We are planning a family trip of a lifetime through SA and planning to meet the country’s best chefs and TV personalities. We will be sharing our trip on social media and be followed by different media.
What was the first thing you cooked once you got home after winning MasterChef SA? I feel sure it was something on the coals as viewers discovered you are a man who loves cooking over the flame?
I braaied a lamb rump and served it with butternut and tonic water-flavoured leeks. Preferring to keep lamb simple, especially Karoo lamb, I rubbed it generously with crushed coriander, Maldon salt and ground pepper.
I served it with speculaas (a spicy Dutch biscuit)-flavoured butternut, rounds of butternut rubbed with olive oil and ground mace, cinnamon, ginger, cardamom and pepper. And finished with tonic water and thyme-flavoured leeks. The rump needs some love on the braai as it can quickly either be overcooked or charred on the outside as it’s a big hunk of meat! So watch it closely and have a medium-heat fire.
Who and what inspired your love of food and your food influences?
It has been my mom — by getting me and my sister to help with more household chores — was definitely key in my starting to cook, as I naturally gravitated towards the kitchen. My parents always supported and encouraged me in my cooking. My main food influence was Jamie Oliver, as he is also a dad and passionate about cooking and eating healthy, as well as Heston Blumenthal for his creativity.
However, since being on MCSA I’ve been exposed to a lot more local talent so I’d now say I’ve been inspired by chef Mmabatho Molefe, who runs Emazulwini Restaurant at Makers Landing at the V&A Waterfront, who takes traditional African ingredients and uses modern techniques to elevate them to a fine dining level. I also admire chef Jan Hendrik’s [van der Westhuizen] creativity and Kobus van der Merwe for opening my eyes to foraging and the delicious things you can cook with what is readily available to us.
How has the MCSA journey changed the way you cook?
It has defined who I am as a cook. I’m more focused on SA ingredients and finding how they work.
As a family man you shared with viewers how you involve your children in the preparation and eating of different foods. How do you do it?
My wife and I are very passionate about ensuring that our children fit into our lives and are part of our lives, so we don’t cook different meals for them. They eat the same things we do, and especially since I started practising for MCSA and since winning the competition, they have been exposed to a lot more fine dining! But even before, they’d eat everything from curries, salad, veggies and so on.
Integrating our children into our food journey where they help cook, cut and mix is important. And as I’m cooking I explain in detail what I’m doing. This has developed a relationship that our children have with food into a positive one. In society our children have lost touch with how food is made, what the ingredients are. I think we underestimate the importance of this relationship. I believe it’s the foundation that is hugely missing from modern society. Food is seen as a convenience not a way of life, which it should be.
What would you say to prospective entrants to the next series of MCSA? Make sure you understand SA ingredients and be prepared to be able to elevate them. Practise all the basic techniques, seek out all SA recipes and look how you could change them up and make them your own. You’ll need to practise the basics and know them well as once you’re in the MasterChef kitchen there is no room to still learn those basics or make mistakes on them.
• Catch the new MasterChef SA winner in action at the The Chefs' Collective exclusive pop-up event. For three nights only, Shawn will be cooking with chefs Darren Badenhorst and Callan Austin for a special event of 20 guests only for a multi-coursed dining experience which will include some of Shawn’s dishes he made during the series.
Dates: April 27, 28, 29; 6pm-11pm at Makers Landing, Victoria & Alfred Waterfront, Cape Town.
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