Finalists chosen for Curry Cook-off competition!

With a keen interest in all things hot & spicy, Durbanites with a passion for home cooking, entered into the Springfield Retail Centre Curry Cook off competition with the hopes of securing a winning place in one of the four categories- mutton, chicken, seafood or vegetable.


Image Supplied by Springfield Retail Centre

The entries have been gathered and 12 finalists have been selected to compete on Saturday, March 17th which will see them re-creating their recipe for the judges, who will be taste-testing and deciding who has the best curry per category.

The judges are all local Durbanites and seasoned professionals who have all been involved in the food industry for more than a decade. These include Chef Warren Frantz (Complex Executive Chef for uShaka Marine World); Executive Chef Petros Madoda Cele (Gooderson Tropicana Hotel); Frank Chemaly (Independent on Saturday Food editor and food critic) and Ingrid Shevlin (Food Blogger for Shrewd Food)

Chef Warren Frantz is the Complex Executive Chef for uShaka Marine World. He has become a household name in the South African Culinary Industry, and has judged many competitions. He was lured into the wonderful world of food when working weekends as a youngster at a five star hotel. On experiencing the passion of those in the kitchen, he fell in love with what has become a 24 year long career which has also seen him serve on the DUT Hospitality Board for 2017, being appointed as Vice-Charge de Mission for the Chaine des Rôtisseurs KwaZulu Natal Regional Board in 2016, being a Unilever Chef of the Year Judge for the past 4 years, amongst many other accolades.

Hailing from the Independent on Saturday, Frank Chemaly has been a journalist for more than 20 years, having worked on a number of publications in the Independent Newspapers stable. He was also a food writer for The Mercury for 5 years and has a keen interest in food, lifestyle and travel. For him, “there is something special about a rich and flavourful Durban curry”. Although Chemaly writes about and critiques food, he can also whip up a few good dishes himself, describing himself as a “messy” cook who enjoys a well-cooked plate of food.

Executive Chef Petros Madoda Cele is the man who has kept the finely tuned cogs within the busy kitchen at the Gooderson Tropicana Hotel, turning over the past two and a half years. His passion for the hospitality industry started in 1999. He worked as a commis chef until 2000 before completing his studies through the Three Cities International Hotel School as well as at the Christina Martin Culinary School, graduating with a Diploma in food preparation and cooking and Culinary Arts in 2003.

Finally, Ingrid Shevlin will also be joining in on the judging panel. With over 30 years of Journalism experience, Shevlin has made a name for herself in the culinary industry having written for the food column for the Sunday Tribune for close on 20 years. She was also responsible for creating the annual Cafe Society - a coffee competition aimed at promoting the industry and helping readers become better informed about the ins and outs of coffee drinking. Now retired, she now has more time to focus on her passion for all things food and coffee related – and of course, dining out.

As part of the judging process in selecting the finalists, the creativity of the dish and the team name were taken into consideration.

The 12 finalists are as follows:


Team Red Hot Chillie Peppers - 49-year-old Pranitha Singh from Isipingo with her Creamy Prawn Delight

Team Durbs to Goa…Like it hot! 58-year-old Zora Bee Khan from Shallcross with a Goan style hot and spicy crab and prawn curry

The Hot & Spicy Pair – 54-year-old Samson Maistry from Isipingo with his Fantastic Fish Curry with Fish Roes


Fiery Headed Chefs – 41-year-old Tanusta Jainarain from Reservoir Hills with a Victorious Vindaloo

The Flaming Flamingos - 34-year-old Adeline Ellapen from Newlands West with her Cheeky Butter Chicken

Dads at its best – 44-year-old Devendra Parsuram from Merebank with his Klucking good chicken curry


Team Thabheki – 54-year-old Bajabulile Msomi from Bluff with a Vegetable Curry Extravaganza

How to cook so she loves you - 35-year-old Hitesher Gef from Amanzimtoti with his Forgiveness Curry For Husbands

Golden Fierys - 54-year-old Radha Thumarnath from Newlands West with a Special Delicious Charo Green Banana and Chickpea Curry


The Flaming Charous - 38-year-old Pregan Moodley from Queensburgh with a Volcanic Mutton Curry

Chop it like it’s hot - 41-year-old Pravina Pillay from Glenwood with a Karahi Dhal Gosht with Calabash

The Mirchee Tails - 30-year-old Rakesh Thumarnath from Newlands West with a Tika Thitha Lamb Curry in Coconut Cream


All 12 successful finalists will have to cook and present their dish within 1 hour on the day at a specified time between 9:30am and 3:00pm, with the help of one assistant of their choice and with ingredients supplied by Springfield Retail Centre.

Up for grabs includes R5000 in cash for the winning dish in each category, a R1000 hamper and set of Lassar Knives for 2nd place in each category and R1000 hamper for 3rd place in each category.

So come down and support our cooks this Saturday, March 17th! Limited tasters will be made available to the public. 


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