MasterChef SA Season 2: what can we expect? No Tsogo Sun restaurant prize!


The publicity for the start of Season 2 of MasterChef SA is still surprisingly low key, with little PR for the new series having been seen to date.  A number of changes relative to last year’s Season 1 can be expected when Season 2 kicks off on M-Net tomorrow at 19h30, the biggest being that the value of the winner’s prize package has dropped dramatically to about R1 million, from R8 million in Season 1:

1.   There will be two shows a week, for 13 weeks on Tuesday and Wednesday evenings, at 19h30, with 26 episodes in total.

2.  The show content will be less focused on cooking, and more on the human drama, with in-depth interviews with the contestants, video diaries, fun moments and ‘extended storylines’. Interviews with experts, guest chefs, and the judges will also feature.  There will be more masterclasses, and more rewards, M-Net Publicist Ingrid Engelbrecht has told the Sunday Times.

3.  There is a ‘significantly higher’ standard of cooking than in Season 1, according to Ms Engelbrecht, as the Season 2 participants had a better understanding of what was expected of them from having watched Season 1, reports the Sunday Times.

4.   There are fewer Finalists, now called ‘contestants’: 16 instead of 18.

5.  Season 2 was filmed at Nederburg at the beginning of this year.

6.  The same judges Pete Goffe-Wood, Andrew Atkinson, and Benny Masekwameng are involved, and Chef Arnold Tanzer is the Culinary Producer once again.

7.  One episode (9 July) will feature food bloggers, including Andrew Lieber from Gourmet Guys, Ishay Govender from Food and the Fabulous, Candice Bresler from The Gorgeous Gourmet Blog, and Sam Linsell from Drizzle and Drip.  We have been told that Jane-Anne Hobbs, Anel Potgieter, Nina Timm,and Andy Fenner were also invited to participate in the episode filmed at Maiden’s Cove, between Camps Bay and Clifton, but were cancelled in the last minute, as were we.

8.  Gordon Ramsay is a guest chef and judge, a Tweet by Chris Whelan has indicated.

9.  Nederburg is the wine sponsor again, and is offering eight ‘online master classes in food and wine pairing’, conducted by its cellar master Razvan Macici, a new clip posted on the Nederburg website every two weeks, its PR consultancy De Kock Communications has announced.

10.   Fledgling Bakoven restaurateur Zahir Mohamed of Baked Bistro auditioned for MasterChef Season 1 and 2, and he features in the first fifteen minutes of the first episode tomorrow, an interview in yesterday’s Sunday Times has revealed. Mohamed is the son of Shawn MacLachlan, who owns a catering company looking after Manchester United and its fans.  Other contestants are Cape Town based Zane Jacobs, Tiron Eloff from Randburg, Alta Wasson from Stilbaai, and Khumo Twala from Johannesburg, according to the Sunday Times.

11.  The winner’s prizes offered by the official sponsors have been announced by M-Net:  R400000 cash from Robertsons, a VW Golf 7 (new sponsor replacing Hyundai), five nights at the Maia Luxury Resort & Spa in the Seychelles from Tsogo Sun, one year’s free shopping to the value of R100000 at Woolworths, and a year’s supply of Nederburg wines plus a sommelier course.  The modest Tsogo Sun prize is a surprise, given the generous two year restaurant contract which Season 1 winner Deena Naidoo received at Montecasino!   We have been told that the hotel group does not expect as high a viewership of Season 2, and that the controversy surrounding the Montecasino restaurant prize led Tsogo Sun to drastically downscale its contribution to the winner’s prize package.

12.  The bar has been raised for MasterChef SA Season 2, relative to MasterChef Australia, the producers wishing to exceed the standard of the latter.  Lani Lombard, M-Net’s Head of Communication, has said about Season 2: ‘The first Season of MasterChef South Africa definitely inspired amateur chefs to get more creative. We noticed very early on during the Audition phase that the contestants’ standard of cooking was significantly higher this year and because of that, the show provides pressure-cooker entertainment right from the start’.

12.  MasterChef SA Season 3 is likely to follow.

In January I was the only blogger to be be invited to a Media Day on set at MasterChef SA at Nederburg.  Our blogpost (edited by M-Net) of the Media Day provides more background information.

MasterChef SA Season 2 starts cooking on Tuesday 11 June at 19h30, after the last episode of MasterChef Australia.

Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: Twitter: @Whale Cottage

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18 replies on “MasterChef SA Season 2: what can we expect? No Tsogo Sun restaurant prize!”

  1. Hi Francois

    To be able to attend the Media Day, we had to sign a contract to state that our articles/blogposts have to be approved by M-Net’s PR department.

    M-Net removed details about the number of contestants, where they were from, etc, information which they shared with us on the Media Day, when I submitted the blogpost for approval.


  2. Hi Chris
    And you allow this? Censorship by M-Net? I would have expected more backbone from someone of your ilk who has a refreshing fearlessness.

  3. I did Francois.

    I had to make a choice, six months before the start of Season 2, when I attended the Media Day and wrote about it. All the journalists invited had to as well!

    I can report about the episodes from tomorrow onwards, but will have to obtain permission from M-Net if I want to interview any contestant, and must submit any such interview blogposts before posting them. M-Net has invested millions in the series, and cannot afford that any details are revealed that can endanger this investment. I went through the same process for the contestant interviews last year. I think we have a relationship of trust now, and M-Net’s Ingrid Engelbrecht made very few changes.


  4. Sounds fair enough Chris. Enough said.
    Keep up the good work my Angel and speak to you soon.

  5. Viewership will remain an issue for brands who want a decent RIO (read ‘viewership figures’ aka Audience Ratings )and it’s not surprising that one sponsor has altered their involvement and another declined to go with Season 2.

    At this level of investment (to quote your above “millions”) of sponsors’ money (not their own) 120 000 (but usually less) viewers do not buy sufficient levels of the sponsoring brands’ products to make up the investment for brand custodians – regardless of the LSM of the viewers being in the 9s and 10s.

    That said, I do wish the producers and contestants all the best and hoping that they have a stellar season of entertaining and thrilling us viewers – their primary objective.

    BTW Chris, I disagree that a channel should edit ANY copy or crit. What arrogance and then to play Hobson’s choice with the copywriter/reviewer … eish ê ô ô, no merrim! You should try calling their bluff … you have the guts to do so.

    And good luck to you and your blog too, following the series. Looking forward enormously to your usual frankness 🙂

    Warm regards

  6. Thank you for your (TV food reality TV producer’s) input Anne.

    I agree in principle about the M-Net ‘censorship’, especially as we had to sign a intimidating legal document too. I made the choice to follow the rules, so that I can receive the information from them. No contestant will speak to a writer without approval from M-Net anyway, so I would be shooting myself in the foot. They only delete factual information about what will happen in future episodes. Information gleaned from other sources are fine. They do not judge or delete any critical writing, so not to fear!

    I do note very little excitement about MasterChef SA on Twitter, and no mention of Facebook to date, which must be worrying for M-Net.

    I am looking forward to Season 2 starting tonight!


  7. I also look forward to the first episode. I think the immense media hype created such high expectations, last year that I actually look forward to the series without all the noise. Realistic expectations will surely result in being thoroughly entertained and impressed. Let’s tweet-watch tonight.

  8. Thanks for explaining, Chris. I ‘hear’ you but want to remain on record that it sucks and is not the norm. The mind wanders to all the thousands of whodunnit books, movies and television series and their equally thousands of crits who were never controlled and who seldom revealed the outcome to their readers … and so spoiling the plots…

    Also thanks for the assurance that you will remain true to yourself and not pay lip service to any kind of PR hype from anybody.

    Warm regards and respect as always,

  9. Absolutely Anne!

    I think I am already stirring about the prize value – what a vote of no confidence from Tsogo Sun.


  10. I’ll try my best Errieda.

    It’s quite a challenge taking notes and photographing at the same time, will Tweet as much as I can, and a summary afterwards.


  11. As we are in production with our next series already, I do not want to dwell too much on this but must point out that Tsogo Sun is wise, in my opinion. It’s a matter of time before the rest wakes up to the ARs not producing any RIO but n fact, producing negative perceptions like we saw last year with the fresh and dried saga.


  12. having rarely an opportunity to watch any of these….one of the judges I spoke with not long ago was very positive. Everything is better as they are now that much more experienced.

    As for dried out “saga’s”. Gordon Ramsay must be on series number whatever of Hell’s Kitchen USA. As well as whatever else he is in. He has no problem with viewing figures I would imagine.

    My point being…Personalities keep you interested. I am of the opinion that our TV personality (in general on everything local) is only matched by the Germans, Finns and possibly Uzbekistani’s.

  13. Thank you for a more positive commment Ryan from Ryan’s Kitchen.

    Gordon Ramsay received rave reviews for his performances at the Good Food & Wine Show last month.

    I don’t get your ‘point’ at all…!


  14. south african personalities come across as dour when on the telly.
    hell, even the ozzie rugby commentators outdo us.

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