Sunday, January 9, 2022

MasterChef SA season 4 on M-Net: The judges are Justine Drake, Zola Nene and Gregory Czarnecki.

by Thinus Ferreira

The three new judges for the fourth season of MasterChef SA on M-Net (DStv 101) are the food editor Justine Drake as well as the local and international chefs Zola Nene and Gregory Czarnecki.

The fourth season of MasterChef SA, filmed at the V&A Waterfront's Makers Landing in Cape Town, where the kitchen for the contestants was constructed, will start on Monday 28 February at 18:00 and will this time run with daily episodes from Mondays to Thursdays, with the finale on Thursday 31 March in which the winner gets R1 million.

"We are focused on improving the gender balance in MasterChef judges worldwide. Over the last couple of years, we have increased the number of female judges and this is something we are continuing to improve upon," says Dave De Bie, format consultant at Banijay, the content producers who own the rights to the show.

"Out of 37 active markets, 26 now have female judges. We are delighted that MasterChef SA joins the likes of Israel, Norway and Brazil with two female experts on their panel."

Yolisa Phahle, MultiChoice CEO of general entertainment and connected video, says "We're very excited to have one of our most-loved shows – and toughest of reality competitions – returning to our screen after some time away",

"We have always had a rich crop of home chefs to choose from, but the pandemic has certainly created more, and this is the perfect time for MasterChef South Africa to make a comeback."

As the culinary masters whose palates and expertise will guide a new crop of contestants in the MasterChef SA kitchen, Gregory Czarnecki will bring the perspective of an international chef with Zola Nene and Justine Drake being the local experts.

Zola Nene's professional journey with food started in 2007 when she enrolled at the Institute of Culinary Arts in Stellenbosch.

She has since gone on to great success within the food industry and in television and authored two popular cookbooks – 2017's Simply Delicious and 2018's Simply Zola. She was also part of the judging panel for The Great South African Bake Off on BBC Lifestyle (DStv 174) in 2017.

Born in France to parents who were gourmands, Gregory Czarnecki was head chef at The Restaurant at Waterkloof and won the coveted Chef of the Year award from Eat Out in 2016. 

He served as a mentor for the prestigious S. Pellegrino Young Chef competition in Africa and the Middle East, and his French heritage is carried intelligently and creatively in his food.

Justine Drake is the launch editor of Pick n Pay's Fresh Living magazine. Having worked in food media since 1988, she has authored five cookbooks, is an experienced TV host and during the Covid-19 pandemic started hosting Just Cook at Home SA with Justine Drake on YouTube.