Aspiring cooks and bakers have fully utilised the platforms of TV cooking competitions to launch their careers and The Taste Master SA is ready to make another star.
The South African Film and Television (Safta) award-winning show on SABC2 is returning for season two but with a different focus. This time they are looking for the best new South African baking influencer, in partnership with Royal Baking Powder.
The Citizen recently had a chat with The Taste Master SA season one winner Tumi Mogoai. Here, she gives advice for the new contestants, how to cook under pressure and how life has changed since walking away with the grand prize.
The Citizen: Winning season one of The Taste Master SA is a big deal, how has this changed your life?
Tumi Mogoai: Winning The Taste Master SA has opened me up to so many opportunities first of which was becoming the resident chef on Afternoon Express.
I’ve been blessed to meet so many culinary icons I would have not normally been able to interact with but was able to through the show. Some of these people include Gregory Czarnecki, who I believe to be one of the best in our industry, Abigail Donnelly who is a mastermind in the food styling space and the amazing Basetsana Kumalo.
Winning has also forced me to push myself into a space of constant and continuous learning with having to create new recipes and food content for Afternoon Express and for myself.
ALSO READ: How to enter My Kitchen Rules SA 2021
The Citizen: The Taste Master SA is changing into the baking edition this year. Any advice to season two contestants with this format?
TM: First and foremost, be you. Being able to stick to your originality allows you to be as authentic in your delivery and creativity. This will make you stand out from the rest. Two, have fun, and three, do everything from the heart. Like I always say, food is a love language and this is evident in how one prepares and presents their food.
The Citizen: The most memorable challenge in your season and why?
TM: My most memorable challenge must be the final where we were challenged to create a feast that borrows from the Belgian traditions and translate that to our own personal cultures and influences. This allowed me to tap into memories of myself and my mother and granny in the kitchen. It reminded me how beautifully food brings us all together with all our differences. No other challenge spoke to my heart than this.
The Citizen: Your grand prize included a trip to Belgium? Did you end up going, if so how was it?
TM: Oh yes, I definitely went. That was one of the biggest motivations for me, as I had never travelled outside of South Africa before. Knowing I could get the chance to travel to another country and eat their food was everything. Belgium was great and so much fun, but there is no place like home. That said, when is the next trip?
The Citizen: You won the Luxe Restaurant Award of Rising Star. How did that make you feel?
TM: That validated all the sacrifices I made to becoming a chef. Leaving a stable, high-paying job and stability for something I had no clue about. An industry I had no knowledge of. Leaving the comfort of familiarity for uncharted territory all in the name of following a childhood dream. Nothing made sense but it all made sense. And winning the Luxe Rising Star Award made it all worth it.
The Citizen: Five must-have ingredients in your pantry?
TM: Garlic, butter, cream, lamb and loads of gin…
The Citizen: Go to dish when you are short on time?
TM: Judge me all you want but a peanut butter sandwich never hurt anybody. No cooking, no dishes and filling. But if I must cook, then it would have to be pasta.
The Citizen: Who is your food inspiration, a chef or family member’s who helped your food journey?
TM: My mom. Growing up she would make some of the most delicious and filling dishes with ingredients that I sometimes think she made magically appear.
My flavour influence is rooted in her ability to make something out of nothing. She was very experimental and I think I get my creative streak from her. That is why it made sense to have her as my plus one at the Luxe Awards.
Being able to share these wins with the people that see us through our toughest times is something I cannot emphasise enough. We are our ancestors wildest dreams.
Season two of The Taste Master SA: The Baking Edition premieres on 10 September at 7pm on SABC2.