Tag Archives: Chopped South Africa

Woolworths under consumer pressure, on the back-foot, in massive Sunday Times supplement?!

Woolworths Good Food News Front page Whale CottageWe wrote recently how Woolworths has been misleading consumers with claims about its Ayrshire milk, deceiving food labelling, and how it tries to create an image of healthy produce via its ‘Hayden Quinn: South Africa‘ series on SABC3. The group Grass Consumer Food Action has been persistent in its criticism of Woolworths, and appears to have hit a raw nerve in the Good Business Journey division at Woolworths, the retailer having launched a brand new ‘Good Food News‘ 16-page insert in the Sunday Times yesterday! It looks like a Taste magazine (the Woolworths sponsored magazine published by New Media Publishing) but printed in Tabloid format on recycled paper!

While the Tabloid has ‘headlines’ on page 1, to attract one’s attention to the content, it consists of a mix of ‘advertorials’ of its award-winning wines (since when are wines a food, as per the name of the publication?) in ‘Crowned as the best‘; ‘responsibly sourced‘ fish;  braai suggestions for ‘Ready Steady Braai’; and ‘Flavours of Home‘ (preparedWoolworths Good Food News Responsible Sourcing Whale Cottage foods with strong spices such as curries, and traditional foods such as koeksisters and milk tart); as well as editorial. It is obviously planned as a monthly insert, numbered ‘Issue 01′, and dated September 2014.  The focus of the first issue is ‘lovelocal‘:

*   ‘New on the shelf‘ (page 3) showcases new pack designs for wine boxes, braai tins, braai marinade, braai Continue reading →

What has happened to Woolworths? Misleads consumers, no link between TV shows and stores!

Woolworths LogoI have no idea who heads up Woolworths’ Marketing department, but it seems that the retailer has lost the plot!  Once the darling of all, seen to be above reproach in the quality of the products it sells and the lengths that Woolworths will go to find the most organic and animal-friendly produce for its customers, it is being lambasted for copying other brands, for importing tomatoes, peas and more, and for making misleading claims about its products. In addition, it seems to have lost the link between its expensive sponsorship of TV food programmes and its stores!

Let’s start with ‘Hayden Quinn: South Africa’, a programme which has been running on SABC3 for the past 9 weeks, a travelogue of our beautiful country, and documentation of Woolworths’ sourcing of sustainable and ethical produce, or so it is presented.  We have been exposed to Woolworths suppliers of tomatoes in Stellenbosch, organic wines made in Franschhoek, apples and pears grown in Grabouw, SASSI-friendly fish sourcing, and theHayden Quinn SA 8 Sunflowers Nortehrn Cape trestle table Hayden plus 2 pasture-fed lamb from the Karoo.  Criticism has been leveled about the use of an Australian surfer who came third in MasterChef Australia in 2011, as the tour guide to our country and the guide to its sustainable food and wine treasure chest, a self-confessed ‘cooker’ and not a chef!  The dishes in the eight episodes to date have been as basic as salads, pizzas, and sandwiches, with a mussel pot and an Eton Mess too.  In some episodes the Woolworths punt has been so strong (i.e. the tomato growing) that it has become irritating, but of late the strong Woolworths promotion has been toned down. Surprising is the low-key advertising for Woolworths in its half-hour episodes, and is nothing as mouthwatering as the Woolworths’ commercials we have seen on MasterChef SA Seasons 1 and 2.  Nedbank is the other Continue reading →

MasterChef SA Season 3 hits the pan tonight; first SA MasterChef SA Celebrity on the 2015 menu!

MasterChef SA Season 3 Chefs Benny, Reuben, PeteMasterChef SA fans have been waiting in anticipation for their favourite reality TV cooking show to return to their screens, with the first episode of Season 3 starting at 19h30 this evening.  A new judge is introduced, and the contestants are said to be of a high standard. M-Net has also announced that its first Season of MasterChef SA Celebrity will stir things up for charity in January.

The M-Net media announcement about Season 3 is full of food clichés and fighting talk about how excellent the programme series is:  ‘The contestants are hungry for victory, the Judging panel has been refreshed by the addition of award-winning chef Reuben Riffel, and viewers can look forward to epic culinary triumphs as well as some spectacular gastronomic fails. MasterChef SA Continue reading →

‘Chopped South Africa’: Chef contestants prepare dishes chop-chop!

Chopped SA TitleHaving attended the launch of Food Networks’  ‘Chopped South Africa’ at Jenny Morris’ Chef’s Playground a week ago, we were shown most of the first episode of the programme, so the four contestants for the first episode last night were familiar to us.   Feedback on Social Media was varied, Chef Jenny Morris being praised for her supportive yet honest feedback to the chef contestants.

Packaging the preparation and evaluation of a three-course meal into a 45 minute programme was a tough challenge, which meant that everything had to be prepared chop-chop, the contestants being given 20 minutes to prepare their main course, and 30 minutes each for their main course and starter, being very tight and unrealistic timing deadlines.   The time pressure made it hard to follow which chef’s dish was being evaluated at times.  There also was little time for the contestant chefs to explain which additional ingredients they had chosen from the pantry, in addition to the mystery basket of ingredients.  The local ingredients such as mebos, putu pap, and koeksisters were not well explained to foreign viewers.

Chopped South Africa‘ follows the format of the American ‘Chopped’, and is broadcast on Food Network on channel 175 on Monday evenings at 21h00.    It is the first professional chef reality TV competition in South Africa, and the first international adaptation of the programme.  The local version was created due to the series’ very strong following in our country, with 25000 Continue reading →

MasterChef SA Season 3 hits the pan on 21 August!

MasterChef SA Season 3Multichoice has been very low key to date about its MasterChef SA Season 3, other than announcing earlier this week via Facebook that the new season commences on 21 August.

The Facebook post strangely showed a photograph of only judge Chef Benny Masekwameng and new judge Reuben Robertsons Pop-Up and Pop-In Riffel, excluding judge Chef Pete Goffe-Wood.  Interesting is that so few MasterChef SA Facebook fans liked the post, and that many are so negative about the outcome of the previous Season 2, and express the hope that the winner of Season 3 will not be rigged and pre-selected as they feel it was in Season 2.World Class Pete Goffe-Wood Whale Cottage

At the recent World Class Diageo Reserve mixologist national finals, I chatted to Chef Pete, and he told me that the filming for MasterChef SA Season 3 has been completed.  The series will be shown on Thursday evenings, going back to one program per week, based on feedback from extensive market research conducted.  He said that the quality of contestants has improved dramatically, being somewhat older and more mature cooks. Continue reading →

‘Chopped South Africa’: first SA professional chef reality TV competition show!

ChoppedSA Banner Whale CottageChopped South Africa’ was launched at Giggling Gourmet Jenny Morris’ studio in De Waterkant yesterday, to publicise the 10 programme Food Network series on DStv channel 175, commencing on Wednesday 23 July at 21h00.

Chopped South Africa‘ is the first professional chef reality TV competition in South Africa, based on the American ‘Chopped‘, but with a South African flavour. It is the first international adaption of the programme, and was created due to the series’ very strong following in our country, with 25000 viewers per programme, I was told by Nikki Cooper, the Commissioning Editor of ‘Chopped South Africa‘, based in London and working with programming for Europe, the Middle East, and Africa.  She said that she was ‘blown away by the talent and graciousness’ of our local chefs.  Due to the strong support of South African viewers, Food Network is investing in creating content for our country, but with appeal to its international viewers too.

We were welcomed by Jacques Verster. He introduced the four judges, being Jenny Morris who has hosted programmes on Moroccan and on Mediterranean cooking for Food Network (and who turned out to be a tough judge, explaining that she wanted to be honest with her feedback, and for it to have integrity); David van Staden, the Executive Chef of the Tsogo Sun Group; Siba Mtongana, who has her own ‘Siba’s Table’ program on Food Network; guest judge Rebecca Hurst, who runs the Hurst cookeryChopped SA judges Whale Cottage school; and guest judge and Chef Lindsay Venn of Tsogo Sun The Cullinan (not in the photograph).  We were told how strongly the judges believed in their standards, and fought for their point of view in deciding which chef would be ‘chopped’. Heinz is the main programme sponsor, while Shoprite-Checkers provided all the ingredients for the cooking on the program.

Nikki explained how the series works, with each of the ten programmes having four contestants, 40 selected from many applications received from young professional chefs in South African kitchens.  Shot in Johannesburg, hosted by Denvor Phokaners, produced by Sue Nel from Snelco in association with Continue reading →

WhaleTales Tourism, Food, and Wine news headlines: 26 November

WhaleTalesTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

*   Sir Richard Branson is said to have bought the Mont Rochelle wine estate and hotel in Franschhoek.

*  Tsogo Sun has announced that it plans to bid for a gambling licence for Cape Town, should a second casino be allowed.   The hotel group already has casinos at Club Mykonos, on the Garden Route,  and in Caledon.

*   A new reality TV cooking show called ‘Chopped South Africa’ , based on an American counterpart, is to be screened on local TV, and will feature chef judges Jenny Morris,  Siba Mtongana, Rebecca Hurst, and Lindsay Venn. Four contestants will feature in each episode, out of a total of 30 chefs.

*   Buitenverwachting’s Bayten Sauvignon Blanc 2012 has been recommended as one of ten wines for Thanksgiving dinner or to bring as a gift, the only South African wine on the list.

*   Tourism to South Africa is estimated to grow by 86% Continue reading →