The wait is nearly over. With the first season of MasterChef South Africa finally hitting our screens this week (the first episode airs Tuesday 20 March at 19:30 on M-Net and M-Net HD), we’re beyond excited to see what the local version of our favourite foodie show has in store for us. One thing that’s certain is that there won’t be a lack of interesting ingredients. As we’ve already seen with the previous Australian and US versions of the show, a good dose of drama and tension mixed in with some big personalities, challenging tasks and last-minute meltdowns really does make the perfect recipe for an intriguing TV show.

Yet underneath the tests, tears and tantrums, in the end it all comes down to the food. Of course the key ingredient to an outstanding dish is, well, the ingredients themselves and it is no surprise that Woolworths was chosen to be the main food sponsor for the first season of MasterChef South Africa. In addition to providing contestants with a pantry filled with the freshest, finest, seasonal ingredients, Woolworths has also come up with an innovative way of engaging fans of the show and encouraging all South Africans to find their inner foodie. While contestants will draw inspiration from the top-quality ingredients they get to use, the rest of us can look forward to a little culinary encouragement from The Pantry – Woolworths’ exciting interactive online platform.

Every chef knows the importance of having a well-stocked pantry. It’s where ideas are born and new recipes take shape, ultimately inspiring your cooking and the dishes you prepare. In Woolworth’s Pantry, MasterChef fans can catch the latest recipes, watch instructional videos, gather some kitchen tips and follow the programme as it unfolds week by week. The Pantry is packed with plenty of ideas and practical tips to inspire you to get your cooking shoes on. Each week, the contents of the pantry will be updated with content that relates to the theme explored on that week’s episode of MasterChef. Whether you’re a master in the kitchen or are barely finding your cooking feet, there’s bound to be something in The Pantry that will tickle your culinary fancy.

Woolworths has enlisted the help of assistant food editor of Woolworths’ TASTE magazine, Hannah Lewry, to keep fans in the mix with what’s happening on the food front. Along with Hannah, readers can expect tips and advice from some of South Africa’s most renowned food bloggers, as they interpret each week’s theme and dish out some of their own cooking secrets. Visitors to The Pantry can look forward to guest posts by Alida Ryder from Simply Delicious (, Fritz Brand from Real Men Can Cook (, Jane-Anne Hobbs from Scrumptious ( and newcomer Ishay Govender, who won the 2011 Best Food & Wine Blog at the SA Blog Awards for The Food and the Fabulous (


With an impressive R8 million rand prize package (the biggest in South African reality show history) and tons of exciting weekly tasks and challenges, MasterChef is bound to be the hot topic on everyone’s lips. If you’re as big a fan of the show as we are, be sure to check out The Pantry and learn how to shop and cook like a chef.