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A Taste of South Africa with Matt Tebbutt

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Filming has completed on a new 10-part television food series – A Taste of South Africa – with well-known British chef Matt Tebbutt as the show’s presenter.

Produced by South African production company Oxyg3n Media (Married at First Sight SA, Brent Owens: Extreme, Authentic & Unwrapped), A Taste of South Africa has already been snapped up by Discovery (for Africa and Poland) as well as by British network UKTV. Further international sales are being handled by leading independent distributors DRG at the MIP TV market being held in Cannes this week.

A Taste of South Africa follows Tebbutt as he travels across the country discovering and exploring the diversity and flavour of the local foods that the southern tip of Africa has to offer. In the course of his journey, Tebbutt samples regional specialties and explores and savours food and drink rich with traditional heritage and culture. With his anthropological background, he peels back the history of South African cuisine from its historic beginnings up until today, speaking to and cooking with locals and uncovering fascinating food facts and stories.

Contributors include Xoliswa Ndoyiya, Mandela’s personal chef, Mimi Jardim, doyenne of Portuguese South African, Mpho Tshukudu, co-author of the recent best-selling cook book Eat-Ting; acclaimed Burundian chef Coco Reinharz co-author of To the Banqueting House: African Cuisine an Epic Journey and many more.

During the month-long shoot Tebbutt traversed the country, from Gauteng to the Free State, KwaZulu Natal and the Western and Eastern Cape, looking at the history of ingredients and recipes of local foodstuffs such as Sorghum, Maize, Peri Peri, Chisa Nyama, Bunny Chow, Umphokoqo, Koeksusters, Waterblommetjie Bredie and Snoek. In one episode, Tebbutt travels to Sabi Sabi and is surprised to learn that in South Africa, venison covers meat from a wide range of wild animals and not – as in the UK – only from deer.

Tebbutt, who it was recently announced, has replaced James Martin as the presenter for the long-running BBC One Saturday Kitchen show, says: “This is the show that I’ve always wanted to make. To explore, learn, taste and understand such a totally diverse country such as South Africa is a really exciting prospect for me. It’s been a fascinating journey meeting the people behind the food, learning about the history of the dishes and expanding my own knowledge of the local cuisine.”

So enamoured is he of South Africa, that Tebbutt is planning on bringing his family back to the country on holiday later this year.

“I cannot wait to show my wife and children some of the fabulous places that I have been to,” he says, “especially some parts of KwaZulu Natal, Cape Town and of course Sabi Sabi.

Says series producer Rebecca Fuller-Campbell: “South Africa provides such a culturally diverse, exciting, engaging and exquisite environment in which to pursue the love of food. The fascinating history of this country and the sheer variety of cultures means that every episode will offer a fresh and different look at the rich gastronomic traditions of the country.”

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