TV trends: food fight!

2014-04-27 15:00

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They’re succulent, they’re tasty and they’re now in season all year round: local food reality shows are part of a bigger movement, writes Thinus Ferreira.

The food reality TV phenomenon, where ordinary folks show their inventive mettle in pressurised cook-offs, is part of the broader lifestyle revolution happening all around us in South African consumer culture.

It’s been quietly happening on almost every food shelf in every grocery aisle for the past decade – from the biggest shopping mall to the smallest spaza shop near you.

The clues are all around us.

There’s South Africa’s awakening coffee culture, currently in its third generation of DIY household coffee machines where your morning brew is the push of two buttons away. (“Do

you want me to make you a latte mocca half-and-half flat white skim double espresso, dear?”)

There’s the instant availability of exotic and not-so-exotic fresh produce all year round (strawberries are no longer just for Wimbledon).

There’s a profusion of internationally sourced ingredients on the shelves that’s as daunting as it is limitless for the new generation of amateur home chefs.

There are space-age kitchen utensils.

Pots with removable handles and draining holes, frying pans with Thermalon and amazing-looking kitchen devices that grandma thinks went missing from the ­obstetrics ward at the hospital.

A more versatile, more informed, more food-empowered consumer is being beamed at us from the box. Even viewers who don’t cook are tuning in.

The original staple viewing diet of Two Fat Ladies, Nigella and Jamie Oliver has slowly but surely given way to the next wave, where ordinary people are feeling brave enough (armed with a shiny Russell Hobbs smoothie maker and a Zyliss garlic press) to no longer just watch them, but be them.

And this also has to do with the fact that food making has moved from a Julia Childs to a Siba Mtongana, who can have her own show on the Cooking Channel.

With understandable recipes, actually doable challenges and familiar products, a show like MasterChef South Africa will soon see its third season start on M-Net.

With contestants under pressure behind pressure cookers, blow-by-blow commentary and analysis of all the dicing, slicing, mincing and grating, food making has become a spectator sport.

.?MasterChef SA season 3 starts on August 21 on M-Net with new twists. There are rumours of a secret MasterChef SA celebrity edition for 2016

.?Chopped on the Food Network on DStv is getting a South African edition.

Four contestants are given a basket of ingredients they need to turn into a three-course meal. Judges ­include Jenny Morris, Siba Mtongana and Lindsay Venn

.?Kitchen Queens will start on e.tv on Sunday May 11 at 6.05pm with Kenneth Nkosi as host and six ordinary South African mothers in a community cook-off

.?MasterChef UK season 9, BBC Entertainment (DStv 120), Mondays at 8pm

.?Hell’s Kitchen USA season 8, BBC Entertainment (DStv 120), Mondays at 9pm

.?MasterChef Australia season 5, M-Net, weekdays at 6.30pm

.?My Kitchen Rules season 4, M-Net Series Reality (DStv 114), Tuesdays at 8.30pm

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