That is almost unbelievable MasterChef SA has had an eight-year hiatus, but the new look and feel of the upcoming season will show that some things have changed.
With less than a week to go until the long-awaited return of MasterChef South Africaexcitement for season four is palpable.
1. New Season = New Broadcast Model
episodes of MasterChef SA season four airs four times a week, between Monday and Thursday, as opposed to the traditional reality TV model of one episode a week.
According to M-Net, this is a first for a local reality show.
2. … but the format remains the same
As an international show with a detailed serial bible to be followed religiously, MasterChef SA will work the same as in any other country.
The only format difference this season is that there was no MasterChef Bootcamp due to Covid restrictions.
3. Breathtaking set design
The show’s producers are extremely proud of the set they designed at Makers Landing on the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town, one of the world’s top tourist destinations.
All 20 episodes of this season of the show were shot at the location.
“The set was beautiful and absolutely huge. The setting is unsurpassed, combining the grittiness of a working harbor with the world’s largest table – Table Mountain – as a backdrop,” said Paul Venter, one of the producers of MasterChef South Africa in a statement.
“We had the advantage and privilege of working with triple volume spaces of great design, with quiver trees on guard, the impressive kitchen fully equipped by @HOME and the incredible Pick ‘n Pay pantry with its amazing range of local and indigenous produce.
South African elements have been incorporated into the design in a contemporary way.”
4. No Fake Drama
M-Net also states that the nature of the cooking competition show didn’t give the production team room to create drama in front of the cameras in the same way that some other productions might have to.
“They just had to make sure they were always there to film it.”
“It’s a pressure cooker environment. 20 contestants, three judges, a challenge (which gets more difficult as the episodes go on), a pantry with overwhelming choices, a nerve-racking mystery box with unknown ingredients, and cameras that follow your every move with no place to hide even your smallest mistake,” explained MasterChef SA content producer Errieda du Toit.
5. Intense selection process
With over 1000 comprehensive submissions to analyze, producers then chose the ones that stood out to participate in the next round: Zoom interviews looking at various aspects, from culinary knowledge to a hands-on demonstration of knife skills.
Producers also wanted to get an idea of how the participants interacted with South African heritage and local products. None of them were allowed to be chefs or have attended culinary school.
40 were then shortlisted to audition in Cape Town, before the final 20 were selected.
6. The mental health of the participants was paramount
Filming a show like MasterChef SA is not easy, especially in the midst of a health and social crisis. M-Net says the production team therefore took extra care of the contestants to ensure their mental health was taken care of even after filming was finished.
7. The pandemic hasn’t taken “the magic” out of the show
The MasterChef SA set was a “Vaccinated Only” location, therefore no one was allowed on the set if they had not been vaccinated or unless with special permission.
“Strict Covid-19 protocols were followed on set and there was an on-site Covid testing facility where all guests and visitors had to undergo a rapid test and wait for the results before proceeding.”
Luckily it was when filming started Level 1″ so we had a little legroom and we’re proud to say that the whole production of MasterChef SA Covid-free,” adds producer Paul Venter.
8. Not from this world talent
M-Net believes that this season’s diverse roster of contestants all deserve their place on the show and viewers will enjoy watching their sheer talent in the MasterChef SA kitchen.
“It’s an amazing group of talented, interesting and enthusiastic South Africans, each with their own food dream, brought together by their love of food and cooking,” says Du Toit.
And what about the three new judges: Justine Drake, Zola Nene and Gregory Czarnecki?
“They exceeded all our expectations and are simply a joy to watch. They have a special chemistry, and they are very real, knowledgeable and witty,” added Venter.
9. It really is proudly South African
This season of MasterChef SA they are also expected to “truly celebrate” the country’s amazing culinary culture and rich array of ingredients.
According to Du Toit, this diversity contributes MasterChef SA by the contestants and the challenges presented to them is what gives this season its true South African character.
“We’ve all immersed ourselves in this incredible opportunity to capture the essence of our culinary melting pot.”
Producer Venter sums it up perfectly when he says: “South Africans will love the relativity of the show – we know the people, the food, the emotions and the connecting power of food. We’ve kept it truly South African, without the need to look over our shores for inspiration.
“We think everyone will be proud that a show of this caliber has been produced locally to these high standards. This is a feel-good show.”
not missing MasterChef SA season four, starts on February 28 on M-Net (DStv Channel 101), Monday through Thursday at 6:00 PM.
The final will be broadcast on Thursday 31 March.
Curated by Kaunda Selisho