Johannesburg, 11 November 2019. With less than one week until the launch of the highly-anticipated debut season of The Taste Master, SABC 3 and Stella Artiois are proud to introduce you to the eight contestants who will show off both their culinary and presenting skills in the hopes of becoming the new resident foodie on SABC 3’s popular variety show Afternoon Express.
The series, which debuts Tuesday 12 November at 19h30 on SABC 3, will follow judges Zola Nene and Gregory Czarnecki with host Harmony Katulondi as they put eight finalists through a series of challenges, with the lowest scoring contestant eliminated each week, until only one is awarded the title of The Taste Master.
Zola Nene is no stranger to the world of television. This celebrity and author is best known as the resident chef on the SABC 3 breakfast show Expresso. Zola understands the ins and outs of creating the perfect, TV-ready plate. Meanwhile, Gregory Czarnecki, who has worked at several Michelin-starred restaurants in Paris, is currently the Executive Chef at one of the most sought-after eateries in the country – The Restaurant at Waterkloof in Somerset West, which recently won a Top 10 award in the Eat Out Mercedes Benz awards.
Ahead of the series premiere next Tuesday, meet the eight finalists who will be battling it out for the coveted spot.
Boitumelo ‘ChewMe’ Mogoai
32-year-old Boitumelo Mogoai is the director and executive chef of ChewMe Food. Boitumelo fell in love with food when she was just 11 years old and started experimenting in the kitchen not long after that. The first dish she ever tried to make was ox liver and recalls getting it completely wrong after deciding to boil instead of grill the liver. Boitumelo hopes to impress the judges with her ability to take simple ingredients and make them ‘pop’. “I’m excited to see what challenges lie ahead on The Taste Master and find out how we will be tested,” Boitumelo says, “I know the end goal is to eventually become the resident chef on Afternoon Express, but I’m also looking forward to the actual journey – and hopefully making some new friends along the way.”
28-year-old Imtiyaaz Hart is a media coordinator and a barman at a popular bar in Cape Town. Intiyaaz has always been passionate about food and recalls many fond memories in the kitchen with his grandmother, where they would whip up a feast. “I would always ask if I could help her with her samoosas or pies and on occasion she would let me mix the ingredients for chocolate cakes and lamingtons,” Imtiyaaz recalls. Now, he’s ready to show the judges what he’s made of. “I can’t wait to learn more about food and share my experience with foodies who can relate to my love of cooking. I want the world to know that even though you didn’t become a chef or attend a culinary school, you can still be confident with your self-taught cooking skills.”
Marketing executive Alex Torrão fell in love with food while growing up in a small farming town in Portugal. The 34-year-old recalls spending time with his grandmother in the kitchen where she would lovingly make the family’s favourite dishes. He later moved to Macau and fell in love with street food culture. After making his way to South Africa, Alex was inspired to open up a food truck of his own and his business has been thriving ever since. Now he hopes to take his passion for food to the next level by participating on the debut season of The Taste Master. “I want to inspire South Africans to be adventurous with their cooking and not be intimidated by crazy recipes. For me, it’s all about simplicity and I can’t wait to show off that side of myself on the show.”
Charmaine is a jack of all trades. Besides being the founder of Glam Foodie, a social media community centred around a common love for food, she is also a recipe developer, a digital content creator and an event architect. The 35-year-old, like many of the contestants, fell in love with food at an early age and is looking forward to showcasing her skills on the debut season of The Taste Master. “I’m looking forward to sharing my passion for food and cooking on such a big platform. I’m excited about meeting new people who have a common love for food and I look forward sharing what promises to be an amazing experience with fellow foodies and chefs. I love being able to take an old recipe and interpret it as my own and I can’t wait to show off what I got on the show.” Charmaine is excited to bring her glam style into The Taste Master kitchen.
Chaba “Sweetgenious” Mokake
32-year-old Chaba Mokake takes his food seriously. Today, he is a private chef, DJ and event host who, through Mafikeng Hotel School, got the opportunity to jet off to the United States where he worked under a popular pastry chef and drastically expanded his knowledge. Chaba is ready to take the next step in his career and hopes to inspire people through a platform like Afternoon Express. Every time you see him on screen you can be sure he’s bringing his A-game. “I admire both Gregory Czarnecki and Zola Nene, so cooking for them is a dream come true,” Chaba says, “I can’t wait to show the country what I am made of.”
MacDonald Maepa Satikge
MacDonald Maepa Satikge is a private chef who is hoping his flair and technical abilities will help him become The Taste Master. The 28-year-old developed an interest in food when he was just 10 years old, cooking fish and pancakes with his grandmother. He continued to be inspired by taste and knew he was destined to work in the culinary industry. MacDonald says that he is famous for bold colours and interesting flavours when it comes to his dishes and is looking forward to offering viewers at home a unique experience when it comes to his food. “I’m really looking forward to the different challenges on The Taste Master,” MacDonald says. “Not only will it give me the opportunity to prove to myself what I am capable of, but I hope it will inspire people to try something different.”
Food is something that wardrobe and make-up artist Masego Marite enjoys dabbling in during her spare time. While she doesn’t work in the culinary space on a daily basis, Masego’s knack for experimentation and obsession with flavour has made her quite the foodie. Food is something that means a lot to Masego and creating dishes is always a special experience for the 29-year-old. Masego hopes to bring something different to the competition. “I would say I have a farm-style cooking technique,” she says, “I love working with fresh ingredients and serving something unique for my family and friends. I am also passionate about creating delicious, healthy options with fresh ingredients and proving that healthy eating doesn’t necessarily mean bland food.”
23-year-old Nikara Ramdial is the youngest contestant this season. Nikara is a Sport Management honours graduate and currently works as a marketing manager and admin assistant at a service station in Kwazulu Natal. Cooking food has always been a bonding experience for Nikara and her family which has made food a source of comfort and love for Nikara – a feeling she’d like to share with the rest of South Africa. “I look forward to growing as a foodie and increasing my culinary knowledge on The Taste Master, as I know it is a never-ending learning experience,” Nikara says, “I also hope to share my love for food and inspire others to use the kitchen as much as I do – and there is no better platform to achieve that than Afternoon Express.”
Estee Burger, Marketing Manager: Stella Artiois says “Through The Taste Master platform, Stella Artois aims to create desire for our premium European lager by familiarising audiences with the concept of ‘meal occasions’ and encourage them to Start with a Stella. Through their audition videos, the eight contestants have proved that they have the tenacity to become the ultimate foodie and we are excited to see them grow through the series in the coming weeks.”
The Taste Master premieres Tuesday 12th November 2019 at 19h30 on SABC 3. For more information, visit www.thetastemaster.co.za.