Plate & date

The way to the heart is through the belly, says new lo­cal match­mak­ing show Din­ner Date.

TV Plus (South Africa) - - REALITY -

Sea­son 1 Wednesday (from 5 April) SABC3 (*193) 19:30

New re­al­ity show Din­ner Date (2017cur­rent) is a combo of cook­ing and dat­ing shows mixed into one. The hosts rus­tle up a three- course meal of their choice and then wel­come their dates into their homes. Af­ter go­ing on three con­sec­u­tive dates with a new host ev­ery evening, a favourite is picked and the con­tes­tant goes on a din­ner date with their cho­sen host at a lo­cal restau­rant. The two un­lucky hosts get a mi­crowave meal for one. In the com­fort of their own homes, at least…

LO­CAL FLAVOUR

The orig­i­nal Din­ner Date has aired in the UK since 2010 and pro­ducer Coco Se­fanyetso says that “while the con­cept re­mains true to the Bri­tish for­mat, we’ll in­tro­duce South African cui­sine as well as the dif­fer­ent races and cul­tures we have in our coun­try”. Sea­son 1 was filmed en­tirely in Joburg and will have 13 episodes, fol­low­ing one sin­gle on their three dates. Be­fore

film­ing started, the pro­duc­ers con­ducted in­ter­views and the con­tes­tants were paired up with po­ten­tial hosts ac­cord­ing to per­son­al­ity type, likes, dislikes and com­pat­i­bil­i­ties. Each con­tes­tant was given five menus and told to choose the three they like most and that’s how the hosts are picked.

CHAL­LENGES

While the ini­tial match­ing-up process was rel­a­tively easy, Coco jokes that “the rest of the process was a lit­tle trick­ier”. “We got a good re­sponse, but then when we ap­proached the en­trants, they got cold feet. Some of them re­ally didn’t want to do it. In fact, they didn’t even en­ter them­selves and it turns out they were en­tered by a fam­ily mem­ber.” There were also a few hic­cups with film­ing as Coco ex­plains that “some­times it felt like in­va­sion of pri­vacy. We went into the per­sonal space of the hosts and that’s tough. All we wanted was for them to be as nat­u­ral as pos­si­ble on cam­era, be­cause noth­ing was scripted, but some of them were re­ally shy”.

MORE MATCH­MAK­ING?

Dat­ing shows are catch­ing on in SA and that’s part of the rea­son Coco and her team took on the chal­lenge. “Peo­ple’s re­sponses on so­cial me­dia to these dat­ing shows [like Date My Fam­ily and Mar­ried At First Sight: SA, 2015- cur­rent and 2017- cur­rent] gave me hope for Din­ner Date. I think South Africans no longer be­lieve that find­ing ‘ the one’ is go­ing to hap­pen in a tra­di­tional, oneon-one dat­ing way. Peo­ple have to put them­selves out there.”

And while sea­son 1 has only just started, Coco ad­mits that they’re eye­ing plan­ning for a sec­ond sea­son that they hope will be filmed in Cape Town if they get the green­light.

Din­ner Date’s pro­ducer Coco Se­fanyetso.

Coco was on hand to make sure ev­ery shot was per­fect.

The hosts are filmed prep­ping the meals.

The team takes over the host’s home for film­ing.

Some hosts needed a liq­uid boost to get over their nerves.

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