With $10 000 in prize money up for grabs and 16 culinary hopefuls ready to battle it out for top culinary honours, it’s no surprise the second season of Battle of the Chefs, to be launched this Sunday, is one of the most highly-anticipated local productions to be screened on ZTV in a long time.
The revamped TM-PicknPay Battle of the Chefs will reflect the commitment the supermarket giant has made to the cooking sensation. Season two launches on ZTV at 7pm on Sunday (April 10) and will run for 13 weeks, each episode featuring four contestants, one of which will be eliminated every week.
A panel of expert judges, made up of Chef Lincoln Myambo, Chef Innocent Masuku, Chef Cherylyn Conlon, Chef Stephen Hyde and Chef Karl Eckard, will rate the cooks, decide who goes home at the end of each episode and choose the winner, to be named in the season finale on July 3.
Also on board in terms of sponsorship for the second season are Saturn, Cairns, Tanganda, CFAO Motors, KWV (Bull Red Distribution), Edgars Zimbabwe, Bathroom Boutique, Seapride Food Services and Selby Farm.
While not only bumping up ZTV’s viewership, Battle of the Chefs also has the potential to launch contestants’ cooking dreams. Season one was won by Musodzi Mushonga and Tafadzwa Anifasi who have both gone on to pursue culinary careers: Musodzi is currently with Simply Asia and Tafadzwa has his own TV show called Homemade.
The Battle of the Chefs, inspired by international cooking competitions like MasterChef, Chopped and other greats but designed with a distinctly local flavour, was the brainchild of Joseph and Veronica Bunga.
The first season was filmed in Bunga’s home with no budget…he and his wife financed it largely from their own pockets and, by the end of the season, were broke and dispirited. Until the show caught the imagination of TM-PicknPay. Impressed by the show’s success and following, the supermarket chain agreed to become the headline sponsor of the second season.
Each episode of Battle of the Chefs takes 10-14 hours to film and production has relocated from the Bunga’s kitchen to a purpose-built set on a beautifully landscaped 26-acre stand in Borrowdale.
The strong corporate backing has been a huge game-changer in more than just set location: filming is now being done by a crew comprising some of the top players in the local film industry, headed by director Ben Mahaka and producer Christine Mills, using the show’s own state-of-the-art camera equipment.
“Last year we were using borrowed cameras and even tripod stands from friends,” said Bunga. “This season we have our own gear and it’s amazing to see the difference the resources are making.”