Andrew, who was known for his ability to balance incredibly high culinary standards with a generous level of empathy towards contestants, was on the judging panel for Seasons 1 and 2 of the series. At the end of 2013 he received an offer to fill the full-time position of Executive Chef for a hotel chain in Johannesburg an opportunity that he could not refuse. Andrews permanent responsibilities in his new role mean that he can no longer commit himself to the busy schedule of the filming of the series.
MasterChef South Africa exposed me to a diverse variety of wonderful, talented cooks from all corners of our beautiful country, says Andrew. Being on the show was an incredible experience, especially because I was flanked by two great colleagues, Pete and Benny. I cant think of a better choice than Reuben to join them. Weve been friends for many years and I have no doubt that he will do the role of MasterChef judge justice.
Reuben Riffel began his career in the town where he was born Franschhoek. He started off at the Monneaux restaurant, establishing it as one of the Top 10 restaurants in South Africa, before moving to Cambridge, UK. After racking up rave reviews abroad, he returned to his roots; his flagship restaurant, Reubens, currently finds its home in Franschhoek. In 2009, Riffel opened his second Reubens at a boutique country hotel in the Robertson wine valley, and shortly thereafter the third Reubens was opened at the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town. His awards list includes that of Chef of the Year and Restaurant of the Year in the Eat Out awards of 2004, and Reubens in Franschhoek was ranked in South Africas Top 10 restaurants for three consecutive years. In addition to his successful restaurant portfolio, Reuben has also published 3 best-selling cookbooks.
Says Riffel: Ever since the first season of MasterChef, my family and I have been big fans. Everyone was so proud of me when I appeared on the show as a guest in Season 1 and I was lucky to spend some time with the contestants. Their enthusiasm and eagerness made me realise how privileged I am to be working in this industry. I’m excited to join my good friends Pete and Benny in the kitchen, and hope to make a positive contribution to the show. I wish Andrew all the best of luck with his new venture as I’m sure there will be many people that will miss his presence in the series.
Auditions for Season 3 of MasterChef SA are right around the corner. Amateur cooks who want to impress the new judging panel with their unique culinary skills need to diarise these dates, according to their preferred audition city:
Saturday, 15 February in Durban at Suncoast Casino, or
Saturday, 22 February in Cape Town at Southern Sun The Cullinan, or
Saturday, 1 March in Johannesburg at The Pivot Conference Centre (at Southern Sun Montecasino).
As was the case in the past two seasons, the open auditions for MasterChef South Africa require a pre-prepared cold dish. However, the process for subsequent audition rounds has been tweaked slightly. For everything one needs to know about MasterChef South Africa Season 3 auditions this year, visit: http://masterchefsa.dstv.com/2014/01/15/masterchef-sa-season-3-faqs. The competition is open only to South African citizens over the age of 18, who have not cooked professionally before.