MASTER CHEF SA!
THE SHOW’S MAURITIUS MAKEOVER!
white beaches, palm trees and cocktails – now doesn’t that sound like a winning recipe? the only things missing are exotic dishes and a competition element. surprise – that’s exactly what happened in may this year when tvplus packed our bags and flew to mauritius for a culinary adventure with the team from masterchef sa (2012-current). the episodes that air on thursday 6 and 13 november on m-net at 19:30 were filmed on the island and we devoured everything that took place like hungry children. here are some of the delicacies that we sampled…
silence is golden
the top-7 amateur chefs got the chance to prove their cooking skills on the tropical island in both an invention and pressure test. first up was the invention test, which was an outdoor affair at the five-star long beach holiday resort, where the show’s competitors and production team also stayed. the first thing we noticed was how quiet it is around the production team from the moment the director yells “action”. masterchef’s always got music playing in the background when we see it on tv, but it was so quiet that you could hear the kitchen utensils clattering.
publicist ingrid engelbrecht explains that the music is added to episodes afterwards by the technical team. “as soon as the episode is edited, background music is added into the scenes.” after all, the music adds a lot to the sense of drama on the masterchef screens.
shooting outdoors isn’t just put together in five minutes – in fact, the careful planning process starts a year before the actual filming. arnold tanzer, the show’s culinary editor, explains that it happens in phases: “we throw ideas around in our offices in joburg and decide where we want to travel. then we go scouting. we went to mauritius in february this year. then we draw up a plan that we put to the producer, broadcaster and director.”
when the time comes for the invention test episode to be filmed, the production team was up before dawn to set everything up. it took about six hours to build up all seven cooking stations, the pantry, camera equipment, cables and a generator for the challenge – a challenge in itself. the chefs then had just 60 minutes to dream up a mouth-watering mauritius-inspired dish, and there was lots happening behind the scenes at the same time. photos are taken, judges check in with each contestant and chat to them, the camera crew have to take individual shots of the dishes that have been prepared, and the contestants need to explain their process to both the judges and the cameras.
the show’s judges (from left) reuben riffel, benny masekwameng and peter goffe-wood. guest judge chef shelina permaloo (orange), who’s of mauritian descent, was crowned masterchef uk winner in 2012 and she was approached in may by the show to be a guest judge while masterchef sa was in mauritius.