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: www.whalecottage.com Twitter: @Whale Cottage