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September 04, 2012

Grand Chef, Master Chef!

Peter Tempelhoff and Sue-Ann Allen. Photo courtesy The Greenhouse Restaurant, The Cellars-Hohenort, The Collection by Liz McGrath

Cape Town always has a little something happening with a creativity and flare that we love to share with the world. This time it's culinary genius that is in the spotlight.

Sue-Ann Allen, runner up of Masterchef SA 2012, will complete a month’s internship with Peter Tempelhoff at The Cellars-Hohenort Hotel’s Greenhouse Restaurant and improve upon her culinary skills.

Says Tempelhoff, “We are delighted to welcome Sue-Ann to The Cellars-Hohenort and we are sure that she will enjoy her time working with our team. I was extremely impressed by the way she executed my dish during one of the elimination challenges. Sue-Ann shows real promise and I look forward to mentoring her in the coming weeks.”

Tempelhoff is the executive chef for The Collection by Liz McGrath – three five-star hotels which are Relaise and Chateaux members. He oversees the restaurants across the hotels, including The Greenhouse, which was awarded Eat Out’s Restaurant of the Year award for 2012. In November 2011, Templehoff was awarded Relais & Châteaux Grand Chef status and joined the likes of Raymond Blanc of Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons and Heston Blumenthal of The Fat Duck.

Sue-Ann shares her thoughts with us on this exciting opportunity.

What was it like being on a show such as Master Chef SA, which has helped cultivate creativity and on-the-spot moments to do your best?

There was a lot of pressure in the Master Chef kitchen, but I usually produce my best when in a tight spot, so I managed to remain calm (most of the time). I love being creative with food, and to produce something great you sometimes have to take risks. Sometimes those risks pay off, sometimes they don't, but you certainly learn something new every time, which allows you to grow even more.

Peter Tempelhoff definitely adds another feather in the hat for our destination. What does it mean to be working with Peter for a month, after having had to recreate one of his dishes during the show, especially since he was impressed with your execution of this dish?

There is no doubt that Peter is one smart and creative chef and I am in awe of what he is capable of doing. I am incredibly honoured and grateful to be working with him and I know that what I learn will be invaluable. I loved doing Peter's dish on the show. He makes the type of food that inspires me.

As a Capetonian what one ingredient is there that you cannot cook without?

I'm not sure if this ingredient has anything to do with Cape Town, because I think it has to do with the whole world, but it's butter – I love the stuff!

What about Cape Town inspires you as well as your culinary creativity?

The diversity of the people really does inspire me – there is a lot of cross cultural cooking and I love all of it. From Cape Malay curries, the hearty stews of my Afrikaans friends, to Asian-inspired trends, which have taken the city by storm, beautiful sushi, fine dining, and then a good old braai; I would not want to pursue my food dream anywhere else. This is where I am happiest.

Which one dish is quintessential Cape Town for you?

Freshly caught crayfish, basted and cooked over the coals.

What is your secret Cape Town gem?

Well it's not a secret gem, but Llandudno beach is one of my favourite places. Sunday mornings in summer, it's me, my book, some good sunscreen and my beach. I love it there. It makes me happy every time.

For more information on The Cellars-Hohenort and The Collection by Liz McGrath visit www.collectionmcgrath.com.

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