The readers’ choice Kamini Pather
Some of my earliest childhood memories involve food, and my grandmother and mother were always in the kitchen, with food bringing us together,” says chef and SAFTA award-winning TV host Kamini Pather.
But it was only when she left her home in Durban to study copywriting in Cape Town that the 32 year old started cooking herself. “I had my own kitchen for the first time and I wanted to experiment, so I began googling, ‘What’s the most difficult recipe?’ and made things like choux pastry. I wanted to push the boundaries,” she says.
This led Kamini to audition for season two of Masterchef SA in 2013. “For the first test, I prepared yoghurt panna cotta with curry fruit salad and honeycomb tuile. After it was tasted at Cape Town’s Cullinan Hotel, I was told that I’d made the top 100. Three challenges later, I was in the final 16.
“I didn’t expect to get that far, but knew if I was going to do it, I had to do it properly. But it’s just as stressful as it looks – early mornings, high pressure and working six days a week. It was survival of the fittest.”
And Kamini did more than survive – she won. “It was surreal, and the win opened up a new world to me, from doing demos at expos to inspiring people to cook.”
But her biggest dream was to do her own TV show, and that’s how Girl Eat World came to be. “I met with bloggers from 10 cities in the world, and they became my insider guides, showing the viewers and me their cultures and countries through food.”
Not only was the show a hit in SA, with a SAFTA win for best magazine show, but it was also picked up by the Food Network, Netflix US and TVO in Canada. “We’re going to start filming the second season at the end of the year,” says Kamini.
Next for the foodie? “I’m developing a range of pots and working on a book. It will include recipes, but it’s a bigger story about the way that food reflects our experiences.
“Food has allowed me to live my dreams, face my fears and immerse myself in different cultures. Through cooking I’ve found a very true part of myself.”