28 March 2004

South Africa: Celebrity Chef to Film South African Cook-Off Series

Johannesburg — AINSLEY Harriott, the celebrity British chef, is to shoot a cookery series in South Africa.

BBC Food, the cookery channel on DStv, has announced it will be filming the new series, entitled Off the Menu, in South Africa from May.

The 13-episode series will feature recipes from top South African chefs and ordinary cooks.

In a statement, Harriott said he had visited South Africa on numerous occasions and "had met great people and eaten memorable meals".

"I'm excited because Off The Menu is a combination of those two things, it's going to be a uniquely South African television experience," said Harriott.

The series - the third one set in South Africa that BBC Food has commissioned - will feature 26 pairs of amateur chefs who will cook meals taken off the menus of top South African restaurants.

The contestants will only be given the name of the dish for which they have to choose their own ingredients, devise the recipe, cook the meal and present it - all in the space 30 minutes.

BBC Worldwide director of channels Wayne Dunsford said the programme suited South Africa because of the vibrant and varied culinary scene.

"South Africa has some world-class restaurants and, as a nation, it is passionate about its food, whether it's pap and gravy or saffron glazed seafood soup.

"We know there are huge numbers of people out there who are enthusiastic and imaginative cooks and they're the people who are going to make Off the Menu fantastic entertainment as well as a celebration of South African food."

The series will be shown on DStv later this year.

To take part in Off the Menu or to be in the studio audience, make an online application at bbcfood.co.za/offthemenu

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