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Introducing The Pavilion Junior Chef 2018

Terence Pillay is set to host the first ever Pavilion Junior Chef reality cooking competition and he is looking for contestants.

Little chef
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When I was a child, I was very interested in becoming a chef. My grandfather was quite a famous chef on the South Coast, and I always watched my mother cook and wanted to recreate the same dishes she did so effortlessly. But that was then. These days children have taken cooking to a whole new level.

So just to paint a picture for you, my good friend Subashnee Govender, a former journalist, has a son called Dhiyarv, who had some barriers at school. So Su and her husband encouraged him to focus on things he enjoyed and went through a few things to find his niche. But they found that every time they went out to eat, Dhiyarv would crit the food and seemed to know a lot about food and flavours. So his mum started a food blog for him, and at just eight years of age, this child was making waves in the culinary world. So much so that local newspapers wrote about him and he even ended up cooking with the likes of Deena Naidoo and Jackie Cameron, and met and wrote about his encounters with Reza Mohammed and Jenny Morris. When it came to food, this 8-year-old's rise was meteoric.

The fact is, cooking shows for kids have taken the world by storm. Although we are only just beginning to see their entertainment and value here, shows like 'Junior Masterchef', 'Chopped Junior', and 'Kids Baking Championship' have all given children with a flair for all things culinary a much-needed platform to express themselves.

So because there isn’t much in the way of kids' cooking shows here in South Africa, I devised a live reality cooking show for children called The Pavilion Junior Chef Competition. And the call for entries for The Pavilion’s first ever Junior Chef Competition is now open. Come September, the popular family shopping centre will host a cooking competition aimed at children aged 9 to 12. 

The way it works is: nine finalists will all vie for the chance to win a fabulous prize package, as well as the prestigious title of The Pavilion Junior Chef 2018. The finalists will be chosen from hundreds of KZN consumers who feel they have the cooking chops that pack a punch with each mouthful of food they create.

So the entire event takes on the form of a live reality show. Potential contestants will submit video clips of them showing their personalities and cooking skills, and we are also holding a live audition this Saturday at The Pavilion. From those entries, only nine children will go through to participate in the live shows.

And the live shows are also going to be very exciting in that the entire thing is being shot like a reality TV show. For three weeks, three kids will face off in a cook-off and the winner from each week’s event will then go into a final where the ultimate Pavilion Junior Chef will be chosen. 

Of course, the food needs to be judged and each week a panel of judges that comprise of a renowned Durban chef, two celebrities, and The Pavilion General Manager Nisha Kemraj will judge the food and give feedback before scoring it. Those scores will then be tallied and a finalist chosen each week.

And we have some much-loved Durban celebrities on the panel – like Roxi Wardman, Joh van de Ruit, Dawn Thandeka King, Jailoshini Naidoo, Megan Coleman, Vanessa Marawa, and, of course, our very own Darren Maule.

The chefs on the panel include Prenolan Naidoo, Clinton Bonhomme, Marcelle Roberts, and Brendon Newport, so it's quite a sterling panel.

So, we will be holding auditions this Saturday in The Pavilion Food Court from 10am to 2pm. If your kid has an aptitude towards all things culinary, then you should come down and do an on-camera audition.

The prize package is also incredible, and valued at just over R50,000. It includes an Elba Gas stove, a food holiday for four to the Wildekrans Wines Estate in Cape Town, and, every kid’s dream, some ToysRUs vouchers.

For more info, email Terence Pillay at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter: @terencepillay1 and engage with him there. 

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