Cape Town – BBC Studios Africa has revealed the pop-up restaurant "cast" of First Dates SA, who will welcome, make the shakes, take the orders and bring the plates to the tables of potential lovers in the new dating reality show starting on Wednesday 16 October at 20:00 on BBC Lifestyle (DStv 174).
Produced by Rapid Blue who built an art deco inspired pop-up restaurant in Greenside, Johannesburg where episodes were filmed a few months ago.
Viewers will see how people put their best - and sometimes worst and weird - selves forward as they go on blind dates, looking for love.
Multiple discreetly placed cameras capture the crazy, the flirty and what could be a proposal as nervous diners meet for first dates. Dates end with a pop-in at the First Dates booth, where each dater reveals what he or she really thought - and whether true love has blossomed.
THE MAîTRE D
Batsile Ramasodi is the Maître D' who will be greeting daters at the door and escort them to their tables. As a father and husband, Batsile is a self-proclaimed romantic and will help daters along on their first dates.
"My wife and I love watching dating shows together so when the opportunity came to audition for the South African version of First Dates I leapt at the chance. It has been such a privilege to welcome and meet so many incredible people at the restaurant, to hear their life stories and what has brought them through our doors in the first place," he says.
THE WAIT STAFF
Tamara Lesabe is a waitress in First Dates SA, but also a genetics and medical cell biologist, in addition to being a model, a blogger, an artist and a former real-life waitress. Currently, single Tamara says she's a romantic at heart and an "old soul" and that it was her romantic nature that made her audition for one of the restaurant staff supporting roles in the series.
Joey Mathe has worked as a model, salesman and a waiter. He can also speak 13 African languages. Currently single, he also describes himself as a romantic. He says he wanted to join the team as he is a huge fan of the British version.
Ash Daniel is the show's third waitress and is an experienced real-life waitress. She's currently single and says she is "slightly cynical about romance and love" although she is "a total sucker for big romantic gestures.
Travis Kuhn is South South Africa's current Bartending Accolades, and Recognition (BAR) Awards Bartender of the Year, and on the show he will be behind the bar counter, serving the cocktails shaken and stirred. Travis has been bartending for over 20 years, has been married for 12 years and has three children and says he's a romantic at heart.
After getting the call to be the bartender for the First Dates SA restaurant, Travis set himself the personal challenge of wanting to be able to make any cocktail ordered by a dater – and describes his drinks as "out of this world".
"It has been so much fun joining the team and making the show. I have been blown away by the amazing people who have put themselves out there and signed up to come for a first date and have it filmed – as they are nerve-racking enough," says Travis.
"We had such a variety of people, old and young, come and sit at the bar and I've loved chatting to them all and seeing how they approach a blind date – for many, a shot of tequila seems to do the trick!"
(Photos supplied: BBC)
Before First Dates SA starts on 16 October, the UK version of First Dates will begin on BBC Lifestyle from Monday 7 October on weeknights.