TV Guide: Mouth-watering viewing

2013-02-03 10:00

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Cooking and being surrounded by hot flames and inhaling delicate smells is not my pastime treat.

I blame this on my mother because she used to say: “No meal is a good meal without meat.”

I’m a pescetarian and, for me, that made the kitchen an unattractive place.

However, having had the opportunity to go behind the scenes during the filming of MasterChef: SA Season 2 to watch as those amateur chefs turn into household names, I have new-found respect for the pots and pans.

We are at the Nederberg Wine Estate in Paarl, Western Cape, where the reality cooking contest is recorded.

Dear reader, having sworn to secrecy and signed the pact of thieves never to reveal all, this is a little teaser of what to expect.

No names shall be mentioned.

The torture for the wanna-be chefs begin when they are given an hour to prepare a meal.

Actually, they are given two days to practise before the actual recording.

While they get into their cooking mode, I have to contain my noise levels and excitement for my favourite, taking it all in her stride.

I want to scream and shout, but I’m prevented from doing so because everything is done in silence.

That’s so boring. I’d prefer my couch and my remote so that I can scream to my heart’s content.

As the judges pace up and down, causing more sweat on my hands, even more on the contestants, I see the budding chefs move so slow that I start getting irritated.

Then the smell of something coconut-like reminded me that being part of the recording is a slow and draining process.

The beauty is in the fast and compressed version that we see on TV in jubilation.

As the time lapses and the judges poke their faces in the dishes, Pete Goffe-Wood warns the contestants of how much time is left.

With that alert, the fun begins in earnest.

A contestant keeps the producer on his toes as he has to deal with a broken stove and then an issue with his pastry.

I also spot another burning his meatballs, ­

while the last battles to operate a pressure cooker.

As I look at the food, I notice that there isn’t a smile on their faces, just nervous people rubbing their hands together and looking at the plates of others.

The camera crew is less than friendly to the chefs, constantly in their faces and as soon as their food is burning, they zoom straight into it.

One woman looks irritated, but remains composed.

I giggle at that, a way of amusing myself to the slow pace of the show.

But the decadent smell that comes out of that kitchen is indescribable.

There is nothing more alluring than the smell of a chef’s kitchen.

I was in heaven. But then again, I’d rather be on my couch, screaming for my favourite chef to hurry up.

Pleasure viewing is back as we are about to have our mouths watered and all diets thrown out the window.

» MasterChef: SA will be broadcast on M-Net in March

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