The fourth season of MasterChef South Africa kicks off Monday, February 28 with three new judges! Zola Nene, Justine Drake and Gregory Czarnecki are all bringing the heat this year. 20 home cooks from all over Mzansi will compete for R1 million proudly using South African ingredients.
Here are 10 things you need to know about MasterChef AG season four.
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1. A CHANGE FROM TRADITIONAL REALITY TV
Unlike most reality TV shows, MasterChef AG will air four times a week (Monday through Thursday). This moves away from the traditional reality TV setup and is a first for a local reality TV show.
2. VIEWERS WILL ALWAYS LOVE THE ‘MASTERCHEF SA’ RECIPE
Although the show departs from traditional reality TV, it will operate the same as in any other country.
The only format difference in season four of MasterChef AG is that there is no Chef Bootcamp due to COVID-19 restrictions.
3. THE ‘MASTERCHEF SA’ SET IS GORGEOUS
The 20 episodes of MasterChef AG season four was filmed at Makers Landing at the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town, one of the world’s top tourist destinations, in November 2021.
“The decor was beautiful and absolutely huge. The setting is unparalleled, combining the granularity of a working port with the largest table in the world – Table Mountain – as a backdrop,” said one of the show’s producers, Paul Venter.
4. NO FAKE DRAMA
Due to the nature of the cooking competition show, the production team didn’t have to manufacture any drama for the cameras – they just had to make sure they were always there to film it.
MasterChef AG Content Producer, Errieda du Toit, said: “It’s a pressure cooker environment: 20 contestants, three judges, a challenge (which gets harder as the episodes progress), a pantry of overwhelming choices, an agonizing mystery box with unknown ingredients, and cameras that track your every move with no place to hide even your smallest mistake.
5. THE SELECTION PROCESS
Among the 1,000 home cooks who entered MasterChef AG, the producers chose a group that stood out to join the next round. In the Zoom interview series, various aspects were discussed, including culinary knowledge and a hands-on demonstration of knife skills.
The producers also got a sense of the participants’ approach to traditional South African cuisine and local produce. 40 candidates were shortlisted to audition in Cape Town and from there 20 were selected for the show.
“The 20 successful candidates most deserve their Chef aprons, ticking so many boxes: a deep passion for food, a clear food dream, talent and a lot of personality,” said Paul Venter.
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6. MENTAL HEALTH
Filming in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic was certainly difficult. The production team took care of the contestants to make sure their mental health was taken care of, even after filming was over.
“Many support systems have been put in place to ensure the emotional well-being of applicants with a duty of care mentor, as well as a psychologist looking out for their best interests.”
“They receive counseling and emotional support long after the show has aired, particularly due to pandemic and social media pressures. We take this very seriously,” said Errieda du Toit.
7. THE PRODUCTION TEAM CREATED MAGIC EVEN DURING COVID-19
the MasterChef AG the set was a “vaccinated only” site – no one was allowed on the set unless they were vaccinated or had special permission. When guests and visitors arrived on set, they had to take a quick test and wait for the results before proceeding.
8. THERE IS AMAZING TALENT
Of the nominees, Peter Venter said: “They are an incredible group of talented, interesting and enthusiastic South Africans, each with their own culinary dream, brought together by their love of food and cooking.”
Of the three new judges, Venter said, “They have a special chemistry and they’re very real, knowledgeable and witty.”
9. ‘MASTERCHEF SA’ IS PROUDLY SOUTH AFRICAN
Ingredients used to showcase heritage foods, MasterChef AG season four truly celebrates our incredible food cultures.
“What sets South African cuisine apart are the many different influences. Cultures and traditions that make it so multi-layered,” du Toit said.
ten. VIEWERS WILL LOVE THE NEW SEASON
“South Africans will love the relatability of the show – we know the people, the food, the emotions and the unifying power of food,” said Peter Venter.
“We kept it really South African, without needing to look across our shores for inspiration.”
MasterChef AG the fourth season will premiere Monday, February 28 at 6:00 p.m. on M-Net (DStv Channel 101).