The inaugural Fire Up Your Stoke evening by the Ballito Pro, presented by Billabong, on Wednesday 29 June was a massive success with huge crowds enjoying the cook-off contests, whiskey and wine tasting as well as fashion shows and a film premiere.

The fabulous food and fun event forms part of the 12-day festival, running from 22 June to 3 July. This popular holiday entertainment takes place annually in KwaDukuza and is centred around the famous international surfing contest.

“We couldn’t have asked for anything better,” said event organiser, Collette Bundy. “Everything went so well with the participating chefs really showing off their talent on the evening while visitors enjoyed all the activities and entertainment on offer.”

There were a number of cook-off contests suited to all ages starting with the Mini Cooks (ages 3 to 6), the Fine Young Cooks (ages 7 to 13), the Ultimate Grill-off Ballito Style and the Battle of Ballito Burger involving local restaurants.

Adding some spice to the evening were the judges; MasterChef South Africa winner, Roxi Wardman and Ultimate Braai Master competitors, Eldry Liebrandt and Louis Pillay, of Team Shisa Mfethu. The trio were impressed with the high calibre of contestants and took time to deliberate about the final winners.

In the Fine Young Cooks category, chefs had to pair up and prepare scrumptious sosaties using their own secret recipe with a side dish, cooked on a Weber gas braai. There were nine teams competing for the top spot but it was M & A Cooks, Minénhle Nzama (13) and Alwande Ncube (13), who blew the judges away with their special sauce. In second place was Grill Masters, Matthew Wocke (12) and Keenan Tocher (12) and in third was Nacho Mammas, Kai Muller (11) and Gerhard Ehlert (11).

The next category was the Ultimate Grill-off Ballito Style where teams of two had to create a main course with either a starter or a dessert on a Weber gas braai, while dressing the part. The event saw seven brave teams preparing the delicious dinners but it was Salty’s Dolphins – Patrick Zenzile and Rich Sibiya – who took the crown. They were followed by Team Zombie (George and Emma Morey) with Minnie Munchers (Gemma Limbect and Tusca Elmes) in third place.

Local restaurants had to win over the appetites of visitors by preparing a signature burger and sides for the Battle of the Ballito Burger title. Although it was a close call, East Oasis, won over the crowd, beating the other four competitors for the 2016 title.

In addition, the audience was treated to a special Celebrity Cook-off which saw renowned Billabong surfer, Emma Smith, of Jeffrey’s Bay going head-to-head with World Surf League’s IT Manager, Mano Ziul from Rio, Brazil. Smith and Ziul were given 20 minutes each to create a dish containing the ingredients from their mystery baskets. This included fillet steak, prawns, chilli, garlic, lemon, coconut milk, spinach, baby corn, peppers and broccoli. Two judges were selected from the audience with both naming Smith the overall winner.

Besides the festive feasts, visitors enjoyed some live music, dancing and fashion entertainment including the prestigious Upcycle Designer Fashion Show. Here, young designers were given the platform to showcase their talents by creating garments using recycled materials.

The junior category saw children designing their own garments which were modelled on stage in the Trash to Fashion Show. This was won by the talented Alzanne Barnard, followed closely by Chandre Swanepoel in second place and Jasmine Stoffberg in third.

The professionals’ section required that young designers created a garment for an allocated model from Simply Models. These garments were judged by four professionals in the fashion industry, namely; Ashley StaRin Eddy (Mr KZN), Tracey-Anne Buckley (Mrs KZN), Levinia Lea Naidoo (Mrs SA Finalist 2016) and Genevieve Tomkinson Daw (Winner of Designer Competition 2014). The winning design was from Josey by Josey Rage, modelled by Megan van der Mescht. In second place was Kat Shoesmith, modelled by Nathalie Hullett, and in third was HUGE label (Simphiwe Samson Dludla) modelled by Tanyka Tyas.

“We had about 1 500 attend the Fire Up Your Stoke evening and Ballito really showed off with some spectacular winter weather,” said Bundy. “Matt Bromley and Guy Mac’s film, ‘Risky Business’, which premiered on the night, was also really well received.”

Bundy extended her thanks to the evening’s sponsors; Lifestyle Centre and Lifestyle SuperSpar, Chilloes, Weber and Hirschs.

Cook-off Results:

Fine Young Cooks Teams
1. M & M SISTERS – 9 & 7 (ages)
2. SWEETIE SISTERS – 11 & 7
3. NACHO MAMMA – 11 & 11
4. PEBAB LONGSTOCKING – 9 & 9
5. THING 1 & THING 2 – 11 & 11
6. SALT & PEPPER – 11 & 8
7. THE GRILL MASTERS – 12 & 12
8. M & A COOKS – 13 & 13
9. DANCING CHEFS – 7 & 8

Winners
1ST M & A COOKS – MINENHLE & ALWANDE NCUBE
2nd GRILL MASTERS – MATTHEW WOCKE & KEENAN TOCHER
3RD NACHO MAMMAS – KAI MULLER AND GERHARD EHLERT
4TH DANCING CHEFS – KAYLEIGH AND KEIRA FLETCHER

The Ultimate Grill-off Ballito Style Teams
1. YUMMY MUMMIES – KAREN & LEIGH
2. MINNIE MUNCHERS – GEMMA & TUSCA
3. BRICKS – ANGUS & NICK
4. SALTYS DOLPHINS – PATRICK & RICH
5. TEAM ZOMBIE – GEORGE & EMMA
6. SWEETARTS – ABIGAIL & KAI
7. FUNKY GRASSHOPPERS – CHAD & WILLIAM

Winners
1STSALTYS DOLPHINS – PATRICK ZENZILE & RICH SIBIYA
2ND TEAM ZOMBIE – GEORGE & EMMA MOREY (father and daughter)
3RD MINNIE MUNCHERS – GEMMA & TUSCA
4TH SWEETARTS – ABIGAIL VAN DER LINDE & KAI COATES

The Battle of Ballito Burger Entrants
1. EAST OASIS
2. CAFFE LUSSO
3. MOZAMBIK BALLITO
4. GRANDSTAND
5. MOZAMBIK GATEWAY

Winner:
EAST OASIS

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