Tag Archives: Sue Nel

‘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 →

‘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 →