Celebrities prove their culinary skill at this year’s Ballito Pro Family Food Festival

This year’s Ballito Pro Family Food Festival, presented by Ballito Junction Regional Mall, attracted visitors from across the province with its delicious programme of Cook-off Competitions, quality markets, non-stop entertainment and the programme highlight – the Celebrity Cook off. Running from 1 to 2 July, this formed part of the expansive Ballito Pro festival – presented by O’Neill – which runs alongside the global surfing contest from 27 June to 7 July.

Things got heated in the Cook-off on Monday night as teams rustled up enticing meals using ingredients from the Mystery Box. But it was ‘The Cuzzies’ from Ballito, aka Abigail van der Linde (18) and Thailen von Allemann (14), who proved themselves the cream of the crop this year as they took the winning aprons. Tuesday night saw the likes of Sal Masekela – ambassador for this year’s Ballito Pro – Natasha ‘Bash with Tash’ Munien; South African singer, Bok van Blerk and his wife, Hanna Grobler; and the mystery surfer contestant – Slade Prestwich – competing for first place. After some stressful cooking conditions, the judging panel eventually selected Team Booyakasha aka Bok van Blerk and Natasha Munien as the winners!

Both cooking contests were emceed by the charismatic Diogo Barendse with the judging panel consisting of local restaurateurs, including Trevor Wolf from Al Pescatore, Brett Michielin of Mozambik, Dianne Duncan from Old North at Karibu and Fabien Durocher-Yvon from Fiamma Grill.

Full List of Winners:

Cook-off Competition
1st: The Cuzzies – Abigail van der Linde and Thailen von Allemann
2nd: Cooking Dynamite – Lizette Steyn (39) and Luke Fisher (17)
3rd: Douglas Duo – Shane (33) and Ryan (8) Douglas

Celebrity Cook-off
1st: Team Booyakasha – Bok van Blerk and Natasha Munien
2nd: Team Alakazam – Sal Masekela and Slade Prestwich
3rd: Team Survivor – Hannah Grobler and Darren Maule

Lewaine Von Allemann, organiser of the Ballito Pro Family Food Festival, said visitors were kept entertained at the two-day festival with numerous onsite activities: “The atmosphere has been so incredible and we’ve been really excited to welcome visitors from far and wide to the event. Congratulations to all the cooking participants, the standard was set very high this year, and audiences were treated to truly innovative dishes using the Mystery Box ingredients. A big thanks to all our sponsors as well as to all our Young Entrepreneurs, Eco Living Market traders, food and drink stalls, and all other stall holders. Without your support, the event could not have been such a success!”

Geraldine Jorgensen, CEO of Ballito Junction, also extended her thanks to the sponsors and everyone involved in putting together such a successful family fun event: “We were delighted to, once again, host The Ballito Pro Family Food Festival at Ballito Junction Regional Mall. It was well supported by both the local community and holidaymakers, with everyone getting a chance to really enjoy Ballito’s culinary talents and superb entertainment.”

In addition to the cooking contests, the Ballito Pro Family Food Festival hosted a marine conservation presentation by SA endurance swimmer, Sarah Ferguson; a Young Entrepreneurs’ Market; Green Living Market; Eco Brick Making; Recycling Craft Area; SMG Mini Rocks Adventure Zone; Pop up Restaurants; a Games Area and non-stop entertainment in the form of music and dance.

Visitors can still enjoy action at the Ballito Pro festival, running until 7 July. Some of the activities include:

· Sal Masekela African Surf Adventure Driven by SMG Rocks and Hosted by Coco de Mer
· The Ballito Pro Music Concerts presented by 5FM
· After Dark Parties – hosted by Crush Ballito
· Extreme Sports – adrenaline-fuelled Monster activations
· Daily Beach Action, Retail Area and Kids’ Corner
· Save the Waves – Litter4Tokens recycling programme
· South African surfboard shapers

If you’re looking for an experience that #feelslikefreedom, get to the Ballito Pro presented by O’Neill!