PE's hosts with the mosts shine in reality TV cooking show

Louise Liebenberg finds out how Bay’s ‘Come Dine with Me’ winners snagged the cash


Eight competitive Bay dinner hosts pulled out all the stops on the hit BBC series Come Dine with Me South Africa in their gloves-off bid to win a stash of cash.
Dané Emms of Providentia and Nelis Britz of Kabega Park emerged as the overall winners of the two episodes filmed in Port Elizabeth. The episodes, screened on April 22 and 29 respectively, were part of the fifth series of the popular international show which sees four guests dining at one another’s homes in the hopes of being named the “host with the most” – and winning R10,000.
Medical rep Dané, 50, beat game lodge manager Tracy Weeks, “momster” and claims consultant Chirene Bennett, and air traffic service officer Jordin Brooks to the cash on her episode
Photographer Nelis, 34, triumphed over undertaker Hannes Marais, tyre sales rep Imke Smit and Tina Turner fan Lorna McNamara.
We caught up with Dané and Nelis following the screening of their episodes.
How would you describe yourself?
Dané: Outgoing and friendly, bubbly, warm and caring. I’m also fussy and a bit of a perfectionist at times.
Nelis: Charming, entertaining and confident.
Are you a ‘Come Dine With Me fan’ and why did you decide to enter?
Dané: I absolutely love the show. I entered because I think I am a very good hostess and a fairly good cook. I enjoy entertaining.
Nelis: I’m a big fan and have watched just about every episode. A lot of people said I must enter, but one night – after a few drinks – my husband saw the advert and made me enter. When I got the call-back from Rapid Blue, the production agency, I didn’t even remember entering!
What was going through your head when you put your menu together?
Dané: I knew that my menu needed to be balanced. Oxtail is very rich so my starter had to be light and refreshing.
Nelis: I asked myself, what would my family like for Sunday lunch? I also created a menu I felt confident about.
Why do you think you won your episode? What was it that appealed most to the other diners?
Dané: My food was really good and beautifully presented. I also focused on being an excellent hostess and wanted my guests to feel comfortable and relaxed.
Nelis: Hosting is a very important part of a dinner party. I guess my guests enjoyed the overall feel of the evening.
With whom did you watch your winning episode?
Dané: My husband, my two daughters and our closest family friends.
Nelis: My husband, mother-in-law and a few friends.
Even though you knew you’d won, were you nervous to watch your episode?
Dané: The final countdown was nerve-wracking. The other contestants from my episode – Tracy, Chirene and Jordin – and I were texting each other seconds before the show aired.
Nelis: I was very excited, but waiting to hear the narrator Dave Lamb's comments had me feeling a bit nervous.
Was there anything on your night of hosting that didn’t go to plan?
Dané: I forgot to pipe creme fraiche onto the smoked salmon and only realised it after sitting down. I then grabbed it out the fridge and spooned it onto the plates, which didn’t look good at all. My creme brulee was also slightly scrambled!
Nelis: I could’ve roasted my starters a bit longer, but other than that it was a perfect evening.
Even the weather mostly played along.What was the best part of your CDWM experience?
Dané: I met three wonderful women. We formed an instant bond and our friendships will hopefully last a lifetime.
Nelis: Meeting new interesting people, not just the other guests, but also the crew. They were so friendly and awesome at their jobs.
And the worst?
Dané: I’d just started a job with a new company, so I was working all day and then having to shoot an episode for four nights in a row. I was exhausted, but it was worth it.
Nelis: The dressing up for a different theme every evening. I prefer to be comfortable and the outfits made me get hot very quickly. The third evening was a black tie theme and it was a hot day in PE. I nearly died.
Is there anything that happens during filming that viewers might not realise when they’re watching?
Dané: There’s a lot that happens that the viewers don’t see. For example, any slight noise in the background, like a car driving past your house or a dog barking, means you have to re-shoot the scene. At one stage there were about 20 people in my house because the day production crew had to swap over with the night crew and there were also two photographers.
Nelis: I didn't pick up on anything.
Are you still in contact with other diners from your episode?
Dané: Yes. We are constantly sending one other WhatsApps. We have a group called 4 Squared!
Nelis: I speak to Imke from time to time. We became wine buddies, so we need to go out and have a wine evening. Hannes lives around the corner from me, so we bump into him and his wife quite often. There is a long overdue braai happening one of these days!
Do you have any regrets following the show?
Dané: Without a shadow of doubt, not ONE regret!
Nelis: Not at all. It was one of the best experiences of my life.
Nelis’s winners
STARTER | Roasted tomato, buffalo mozzarella and carpaccio saladServes 4Prep time: 15 to 20 minutesINGREDIENTS4 tomatoes200g buffalo mozzarella300g rocket500g smoked carpaccio100ml balsamic vinegar100ml olive oil2 tbsp whole-grain mustardMETHODSlice tomatoes and mozzarella into discs.Place in layers – tomato then mozzarella.Roast (10 minutes).Roll carpaccio into tubes.Place tomato and mozzarella on rocket.Garnish with carpaccio.Drizzle with dressing made from the vinegar, olive oil and mustard blended together.
MAIN | Karoo lamb shanks with baby spinach and potato mash
Serves 4
Prep time 10 minutes; cooking 5 hours
4 x 250 to 300g lamb shanks
750ml Marsala wine
100g bay leaves
100g garlic
50g Aromat
50g black pepper
500g shelled prawns
4 onions
100g butter
6 potatoes, boiled and mashed
100g cheese
200g baby spinach
50g baking powder
Add lamb shanks, Marsala, onions and spice in a pot and slow-roast for five hours.
Mix together potatoes, baby spinach, butter, milk, cheese and baking powder for the mash.
Add gravy thickener to the pot.
Serve shank on top of mash and drizzle with gravy.
DESSERT | Crunchy caramel pots
Serves 4
Prep time: 15 minutes
200g honeycomb
200g caramel biscuits
250ml caramel
250ml whipped cream
Bash the biscuits in a bag until crumbs.
Crumble the honeycomb.
Layer the biscuits, caramel and whipped cream into pots.
Add honeycomb for garnish.
Dané’s winning recipes
STARTERS | Smoked salmon tartare
Serves 6
Prep time: 40 minutes
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp sesame oil
Juice from half a lemon
1 Tbsp lemon rind
800g smoked salmon
1 cup chives
Pinch of salt and black pepper
2 avocados
1 cucumber
1 red onion
Half a cup of dill
1 Tbsp Tabasco
Chop salmon into small, bite size pieces and place into bowl with lemon juice, rind, olive and sesame oil, salt, pepper and Tabasco.
Finely chop onion, avocado and dill and add.
Mix all ingredients together.
Cover and chill in fridge.
When ready to serve, place thin cucumber strips onto plate.
Use a metal ring to mould mixture into place on top of cucumber and garnish with avo and chives.
Serve with crackers.
MAIN | Asian oxtail and mash
Serves 6
Prep time: 4 hours
For the oxtail:
2 kg oxtail
1 cup flour
2 cups chicken stock
2 red onions
Half a cup soya sauce
8 garlic cloves
8 star anise
6 slices fresh ginger
Bunch of spring onions
Bunch of bok choy
1 Tbsp brown sugar
2 cups rice vinegar
Half a cup of oyster sauce
30ml coriander
1 Tbsp Chinese five-spice powde
2 cups water
3 bay leaves
6 cloves of garlic
Bunch of fennel
For the mash:
10 potatoes
250ml cream
3 Tbsp butter
Cut the fat off the oxtail; dust in flour.
Braise and season.
Remove from pot and add to a slow cooker along with all ingredients apart from the bok choy which will be steamed before serving.
Simmer for at least three hours before checking.
Boil potatoes, then add butter, cream and seasoning to taste and mash until correct consistency.
DESSERT| Creme Brulee
Serves 6
Prep time: Half an hour
6 egg yolks
4 Tbsp white sugar
Half teaspoon vanilla extract
1 vanilla pod
2 cups heavy cream
2 Tbsp brown sugar
Punnet of berries
Preheat oven to 150°C.
Whisk yolks, sugar and vanilla together.
Pour cream into a pan and heat until hot, then add to the yolk-and-sugar mixture.
Remove from heat and pour into a double boiler.
Stir over simmering water until mixture lightly coats the back of a spoon – roughly three minutes.
Remove from heat and pour into shallow, heat-proof ramekins.
Put hot water in a baking tray.
Put ramekins in the water and bake for about 25 minutes.
Take out when set and cool to room temperature.
Before serving add brown sugar on top and blow-torch until hard and caramel in colour.
Garnish with berries.

See Episode 8 of Come Dine With Me South Africa on Mondays at 8pm on BBC Brit (DStv channel 120). It is repeated on Wednesdays at 9pm and on Saturdays at 7pm.
Catch Nelis at the Locally Yours Market at Tramways on Saturday May 4, where he and his husband, Gerhard Meiring, will have a food stall...

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