Published by Quivertree Publications, a publisher which is known for its quality books, the book consists of ten articles which Chef Pete wrote for GQ in the past 10 years, each article paired with dishes, and recipes provided. The photographer was Craig Fraser, with styling by Hemelhuijs’ Jacques Erasmus. The foreword is written by Michelin star restaurant Chef Michel Roux Jnr of La Gavroche in London, who calls himself a friend, praising Chef Pete as a ‘true gent’, but also as a ‘very gifted chef’.
Chef Pete admits that he had no family inspiration to become a chef. In his digs in Cape Town he offered to do the cooking as he hated washing dishes. He had worked as a waiter at the Balalaika Hotel on weekends as a teenager, but Continue reading →
On Thursday evening Chef Pete Goffe-Wood was the first MasterChef SA judge to have an episode in the new M-Net mini-series ‘Feast’ dedicated to him and his cooking, the highlight being the Christmas meal he prepared for his family and friends. Continue reading →
* The Reserve Bank Monetary Policy Committee has kept the repo rate unchanged at 5,75%, the new Governor Lesetja Kganyago has announced. The rate did not change due to the reducing inflation rate, the lower international oil prices being an inflation benefit, and the weak economy.
* The Vancouver Sun writes about ‘Sensational South Africa‘, highlighting its ‘Big Five must-see list’. It includes Cape Town (‘the country’s prettiest city‘, Bo-Kaap, the City Bowl market – certainly not the best Cape Town has to offer – Table Mountain and its ‘tram ride‘, the Mount Nelson Hotel, and Robben Island), the Winelands (Franschhoek and its Wine Tram), Himeville and the Drakensberg, Durban, and Safaris.
* The City of Cape Town has announced its extensive plans for the safety of the city and its visitors over the Festive Continue reading →
Today an exciting new reality TV series starts airing on SABC2 at 8h30, which will do for food blogging locally what the release of the movie ‘Julie and Julia’ did internationally three years ago. ‘Dinner Divas’ is a 13-part series with 12 contestant Food Bloggers, vying for the title of the Ultimate Dinner Diva 2012, with prizes to the value of close to R100000. It is the first food blogger TV series cook-off in the world.
2 Blonds and a Redhead Filming Producer Anne Myers is a Diva in her own right, having produced many programmes and Advertising Funded Programmes (AFPs) for SABC2 and SABC3 over the past 27 years, the latter being televised credible advertorials for sponsor brands. Myers had watched MasterChef SA, and found that it had many deficiencies, given her production experience, and therefore devised the unique ‘Dinner Divas’ concept, signing up sponsors, contracted with SABC2, invited food personalities as judges, and used Social Media to find 12 suitable food bloggers, the majority being from Cape Town. The shoot took place at Kitchen Cowboys, which belongs to MasterChef SA Judge Pete Goffe-Wood.
The twelve Food Bloggers are Anel Potgieter (‘Life is a Zoo Biscuit‘ Blog), Barry Gerber (‘What’s Cooking’ Blog), Candice Le Noury (‘Gorgeous Gourmet’ Blog), Janice Tripepi (‘janicetripepi‘ Blog), Kate Liquorish ‘undomestiKATEd’ Blog), Kristy Snell (‘FoodMonger‘ Blog), Nina Timm (‘My Easy Cooking’ Blog), Sue Green (‘Sous Chef’ Blog), Tami Magnin (‘Rumtumtiggs’ Blog), Thuli Gogela (‘Mzansi Style Cuisine’ Blog), Usha Singh (‘Healthy Vegetarian Foods’ Blog), and Zirkie Schroeder (‘PinkPolkaDotFood’ Blog). Both Anel and Candice entered MasterChef SA, and did not make the Nederburg kitchen. Anel shared that not making it on MasterChef SA had triggered off a depression, which she tried to get out of by eating Zoo biscuits, and led to her creating her Blog as a type of therapy. Initially she and Candice (photograph left) were hesitant about participating on ‘Dinner Divas’, given the stress they experienced at MasterChef SA, which had taken the fun out of food making, but they loved the fun of ‘Divine Divas’. Janice shared that participating in ‘Dinner Divas’ had led her to relook her Blog, and to ‘make it even more perfect’. She raised the question many Bloggers ask: ‘Who is reading my Blog?’. Candice said that ‘Divine Divas’ had re-inspired her to become a better cook and blogger. Anel blogs once a week on average, and said that it takes up to ten hours to write a Blogpost, having to research a story, buy the ingredients, prepare the dish, and photograph it (good light is best when she gets up early in the morning) before work, or over weekends. Barry shared that his Afrikaans Blog ‘Wat Eet Ons?’ became more English, to attract more readers. MasterChef SA Finalist Lungi Nhanhla was present at the launch, in her capacity of new deputy Food Editor of Drum, and she shared that things were much more controlled on MasterChef SA, given that it is a franchised programme series.
In introducing the programme at the media launch on Thursday, Producer Michelle Coleman said that ‘Dinner Divas’ recognises the best Food Blogger and not necessarily the best cook amongst the twelve finalists.
The Food Bloggers were evaluated by five judges (chairman of the judging panel Aubrey Ngcungama is the ambassador of the One & Only Cape Town, was on ‘Come Dine with Me’, and is an absolute hoot from the first episode we were shown at the launch, more than a Diva himself!) over the series, but only three per show. The judges of the first episode are Aubrey, Leila Padayachi (pastry chef), and Caro de Waal, editor of Food24, and they evaluate the meals of the Divas without knowing who prepared the recipes and cooked the food. The other judges used for the series are Chef Fernando Roman of the Five Rooms restaurant at The Alphen, and Andrew Lieber of ‘Gourmet Guys’ Blog.
The sponsors are Mr Price Home; Rhodes Foods (who make cheeses – such as the award-winning Portobello – under their own brand name and some for Woolworths, as well as canned jams, and tomato, fruit and vegetable products); Nulaid eggs, Sasko Flour; and Whirlpool kitchen appliances. Prizes for the winner of the Ultimate Dinner Diva 2012 title includes exposure for the winner’s Food Blog, as well as R50000 cash, a cookbook deal, vouchers of sponsors’ products, and R25000 worth of Whirlpool appliances.
In preparation of their appearance in the TV programme, each Food Blogger had to create a menu for a family weekend meal, with the recipes, and blog it in 100 words. On set the Food Bloggers had to cook their meal within 90 minutes, set the table for the judges, and style and present their dishes. The judges evaluated the dishes ‘anonymously’, on authenticity, originality, balance and nutritional value of the menu, seasonality of the produce, the reasonable cost of the menu, the creativity in blog writing, the styling of their food and the table setting, and the food preparation skills.
The first episode we saw showed only two of the twelve Food Bloggers competing against each other. Nina Timm prepared a most colourful Mexican family dish, which included meat balls, refried beans, guacamole, and healthy tacos, a meal which she described as a ‘maaltyd om te eet’, and as ‘fingerfood’; while Kristy Snell made fillet steak and her mom’s Peach and Almond baked pudding. Aubrey will be remembered as the most direct and honest judge, who does not put across his opinions diplomatically at all, making for fun TV. He was critical of Nina’s dish being too salty, while Kristy was not spared, Aubrey describing her salad as ‘a bit tired’, the sauces being confusing, and her dish being an ‘unexciting concoction‘. Yet both Nina and Kristy went through into the Semi-Finals.
Filmed in Cape Town, the first episode we saw had beautiful shots of Cape Town, which will benefit tourism to our city too, with the TV series’ national viewership. Seeing the first episode, the comparison to MasterChef SA was immediate. Only focusing on two contestants per episode, means that one can get to know each Food Blogger better, and the pace was much slower, allowing one to understand how the dish was made, and pick up some cooking tips, proving to be far more educational than MasterChef SA.
‘Dinner Divas’ plays an important role in enhancing the contribution of South African Food Blogs, which will have a stronger voice via the new TV series, and which are already characterised by their passion and inspiration. Food Bloggers’ success already is evident by the increasing number of cookbooks being launched by them. It was emphasised that the days of print media are numbered, and that Food Bloggers are taking over. Season 2 has already been committed too by the SABC, it was announced at the launch, being a winning recipe for the programme sponsors, SABC2 viewers, and Food Bloggers!
POSTSCRIPT 20/10: Episode 2 surprised this morning, in two respects: Judge Fernando Roman, Executive Chef from The Aphen hotel, offended bloggers when he said outright that he does ‘not fancy bloggers at all’, ironic as ‘Dinner Divas’ is a TV programme about bloggers cooking their recipes! Not surprisingly, this caused a flurry of Tweets from critical bloggers, sure to avoid the hotel’s Five Rooms and La Belle restaurants! In addition, contestant Sue Green cooked a pork dish, but judge Leila Padayachi does not eat pork! However, Sue still made it into the semi-finals. Tami Magnin’s KFC-style chicken dish was dished by judge Aubrey, describing it as ‘boring to look at’ and as ‘inedible’!
POSTSCRIPT 5/1: Anel Potgieter has won season 1 of Dinner Divas.
Dinner Divas, SABC2, Saturdays, 8h30, from 13 October, for 13 weeks. www.ilovecooking.co.za Twitter @DinnerDivas1
Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com Twitter: @WhaleCottage
I am not a cooking program type at all, and have never watched any MasterChef programme. Last night I watched the first episode of MasterChef SA, and loved every minute of it. While there were some irritations, the tension that built up over the hour-long reality programme, the pithy comments from the judges, and the heartfelt emotions with tears and joy reminded me of a mix of ‘Who wants to be a millionaire?’ and ‘Idols’.
Interesting at the outset was the PG13 warning about strong language for the programme, which was not evident in the first episode. From 4000 hopefuls starting off in Cape Town, Durban, and Johannesburg, fifty out of 120 aspirant amateur chefs received a MasterChef SA apron, to attend the MasterChef SA ‘boot camp’. The judges Pete Goffe-Wood, Bennie Masekwameng and Andrew Atkinson have a combined culinary history of more than 50 years, they said proudly, and individually have cooked for royalty, for Johannesburg’s rich and famous, and have judged and participated in local and international competitions. The difference between a good and a great chef is the burning desire to be the best, the participants were told. ‘Just being good is not going to cut it’, the judges added. Judges are searching for culinary perfection, and told the participants to go if that is not what they will deliver. Participants were told that the judges would be evaluating them on passion, skill, and the perfect flavour. It was nice to see the multi-cultural and multi-gender mix of participants, even if the judges were all male, one of the first criticisms of the judges’ selection! The judges appeared stiff initially, almost relying on the judgement of one of the others to be brave enough to say a dish was excellent or really bad, but they grew in confidence throughout the programme, being more bold to go against the majority view of the other judges. The show was said on Twitter yesterday to have been R500000 over budget in its production.
Time-keeping was tough, each participant having thirty minutes to prepare their dish off-screen, and five minutes to plate it in front of the judges. Initially the contestant names were seen on the screen, with the name of the dish, but towards the end of the first episode, fewer names were mentioned or depicted. One could guess that if a profile of the aspirant chef was screened before he or she faced the judges, that the contestant would receive the MasterChef SA apron to get into the ‘bootcamp’.
Successful top 50 amateur chefs included Khayakazi Silingile, who prepared scallops and smoked salmon with an unusual rhubarb tart and orange juice, a colourful presentation. The judges praised her ‘magical combination’ of ingredients and described her dish as ‘clever’. Jade was a bundle of charm, energy, and confidence, and her chocolate tartlet with fresh berries and somewhat heat-melted cardamon ice cream won the judges’ approval, in that they said that she knows what she is talking about, that her dish was ‘magnificent’, and not ‘jaded’! Callie-Anne was lucky to achieve two Yes votes for her fillet of beef with a mushroom and zucchini ragout, and started crying when she realised that the judges were not all ecstatic about her creation. Sanjeev appeared over-confident, even singing for the judges, and his ‘lamb party’ curry dish was voted for by two of the judges. Bongumusa received an apron, as did Sarel Loots. Ilse Fourie received a very strong vote of confidence from all the judges for her tagliatelle and salmon steak with a citrus dressing, for its taste as well as presentation, the judges showering her with accolades: ‘presentation is superb’, ‘tasted absolutely awesome’, ‘brilliant’, ‘you can cook with passion’, and ‘I was mesmerised by it’. Lwazi’s crusted kingklip and Lungile’s duck burger and apple and plum sauce met the judges’ approval. Chef Pete loved Deena Naidoo’s butter chicken so much that he took the plate back to his seat to finish off the dish, describing it as ‘moreish’ and ‘creamy’. An unnamed contestant made a sour cherry frangipane tartlet and served it with his home-made ice cream. The judges could not stop eating it! An unnamed contestant made ‘pap en vleis’, and was praised for her South African dish of a lamb chop. Luxolo received a sympathy vote from Chef Bennie, rewarding the scullery worker with a Yes vote for the passion in preparing his ‘Fish House’ dish of fish, mussels, and prawns. He went down on his knees in tears when he received the vote to join the ‘bootcamp’. The judges appeared to drift away from their stated judging criteria in their evaluation of the dishes, not really providing any depth feedback about the dishes in culinary terms. Some of the recipes of the ‘bootcamp’ finalists are on the MasterChef SA website.
Wayde The Fudge Man from Johannesburg was less lucky, his pasta not having been cooked well enough, and was described by the judges as a ‘lump of goo’. A soup was described as a ‘bowl of emptiness’ by Chef Pete. The editors of the first episode were kind in showing very few of the dishes that did not make the grade, with the associated negative judges’ comments. Interesting is that a contestant posted a complaint on ‘Hello Peter’ about the auditions at Montecasino on 3 December, for his dish being evaluated by one judge only, and no feedback having been given to him at all for it not making the grade. Chef Pete said about himself with a laugh: “It turns out that I’m less empathetic than I thought I was”.
Ads for sponsors Woolworths, Robertsons, Nederburg, Southern Sun, and Hyundai ran throughout the program, the advertising breaks being used to build up the tension about whether a contestant would stay or go. Lacking credibility in its running in the programme was Chef Reuben Riffel’s endorsement of Robertsons Paste, many viewers feeling that he would or should not be using Robertson’s herbs and spices in his restaurants! Interesting is the pay-off line which Robertson’s was using in its ads during the programme, of ‘Masterclass’, nonsensical in that no contestant was seen to add any Robertson’s products during the show. The word means teaching a group of students, and is mainly used in a music context, and this is not what the programme is about, and therefore does not match the definition of the word. Interesting is that Robertson’s has appointed erstwhile chef Sonia Cabano as its ‘Social Media Manager’, she announced on Twitter a few days ago, and seems technically ill-equipped to deal with the demands of the position, asking for advice on running multi-accounts on Twitter, for example, and who has a reputation for causing trouble with other Tweeters. She is outspoken about herself (writing about her ‘drunk tweeting’ last week, for example) and others. One sensed the restraint with which she Tweeted when some Robertson’s Tweets were criticised!
Having visited a Woolworths branch in Sea Point yesterday afternoon, one would have thought that the retail outlet would have prominently advertised its participation in the programme and encouraged viewership via posters or flyers, but there was nothing at all to alert one to the programme or to Woolworths’ sponsorship of it. The company commissioned Platypus Productions to direct twenty TV commercials to highlight its role as the food sponsor of the show. Nederburg ran a few ads in the programme, but the setting of its transformed 1000 square meter Johan Graue Auction Hall venue was not visible to viewers. The wine estate has launched new wines in conjunction with Woolworths, to coincide with MasterChef SA, and has also just announced that it is starting a series of online Winemaster’s Classes, which will be broadcast on www.nederburg.co.za, and viewers can win Le Creuset cookery sets. Interesting is that Spar advertising was allowed in the programme – Chef Pete Tweeted last week that his column in Pick ‘n Pay’s Good Living magazine has been cancelled after many years, due to Woolworths’ involvement in MasterChef SA. Loreal was a non-food advertiser.
On Twitter the judges were criticised for not looking professional enough, in not wearing chef’s outfits, and looking rather formal with a tie (Chef Andrew), and jacket (Chef Pete). The judges seemed inconsistent in their evaluation on occasion, either raving about a contestant, or destroying them in their cruel feedback at times. Kenneth Goldstone’s pan-fried kingklip and tarragon and mushroom sauce was highly praised by Chef Andrew, rejected by Chef Bennie, and even though Chef Pete did not seem enthusiastic about the dish, he gave it a Yes. Not only the contestants were under pressure, but the judges too. They started shooting on 4 January, and it was a tough 10 week schedule, 12 hours a day, six days a week, necessitating that they move to Paarl for the duration of the shoot, Chef Pete told Eat Out. Interesting is the fuss that the publication made of Chef Pete yesterday,with an in-depth interview in a special newsletter to co-incide with the start of the MasterChef SA series. Last year the publication fired Chef Pete as one of its Top 10 Restaurant judges. Chef Pete said that the judges were ‘blown away by the calibre of the contestants’, given that all were amateurs. He predicted that the top five contestants will enter the culinary industry. Chef Pete expressed his hope that MasterChef SA will be followed up by a second series.
POSTSCRIPT 21/3: A Kfm 94,5 presenter poorly read an ‘advertorial’ style ad about Chef and Judge Pete Goffe-Wood this afternoon on behalf of M-Net for MasterChef SA, with very out-of-date CV information – e.g. that he is the ‘author’ of the ‘newly launched book ‘Blues – Essence of Cape Town’ (the Blues staff say the book was launched about 5 – 7 years ago), that he is ‘currently involved in developing 95 Keerom Street for Rhodes House’ (the latter building was pulled down years ago, and the restaurant opened years ago), and that he owns Wildwoods (he closed down the Hout Bay restaurant almost a year ago)! On his Kitchen Cowboys website he advertises his next Kitchen Cowboys course as starting on 23 August 2011! The radio announcer called him ‘Pete Goffe’, all in all a very poor reflection on M-Net and MasterChef SA, and its judge Pete Goffe-Wood for his very out of date CV information!
POSTSCRIPT 21/3: One wonders why the M-Net publicity department is depicting the three MasterChef SA judges in silly photographs, as the one in this blogpost, as well as the ones in the Sunday Times last weekend, based on the Three Monkeys, using pumpkins to cover their ears, eyes, and mouth, and Chef Pete wearing a pumpkin as a hat! MasterChef SA is a very serious program for its contestants, and one would hope that the chef judges thought so too. The pohotographs do not do the judges nor the program justice!
POSTSCRIPT 23/3: Sarel Loots Tweeted today that he did make the top 50 ‘bootcamp’ – our apologies for misinterpreting the judges’ sentiments, and we have made the correction.
POSTSCRIPT 23/3: It was just a matter of time before we (unintentionally) irritated Robertsons’ Social Media Manager Sonia Cabano enough with our questions relating to Robertsons’ ‘Masterclass’ advertising positioning in its MasterChef SA TV commercials that she blocked our Twitter account today, unprofessional behaviour on behalf of a client. One wonders what she is signalling through this action, in wanting to hide something about her client! Being in defensive mode, she has Tweeted in particularly poor English today, using literal translations of Afrikaans words in the wrong context.
MasterChef SA, M-Net, Tuesdays, 19h30 – 20h30. www.masterchefsa.dstv.com Twitter: @MasterChefSA
Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com Twitter: @WhaleCottage