Justin Bonello and Peter Gird, the team behind the successful Cooked in Africa Films, are producing a 13-part reality TV documentary entitled Ultimate Braai Master.
Sponsored by Pick n Pay, and supported by Coca-Cola and Renault, the show will see veteran presenter and gourmet bush cook Bonello host 15 teams of two contestants each on a gruelling 52-day extreme-cuisine cooking competition that will include an 8 000km road trip and showcase the beauty, diversity, unique flavours and local delicacies that characterise some of South Africa’s best off-the-beaten track locations.
“A large part of being South African is about being outdoors with friends and family enjoying a braai, and the Pick n Pay brand, has since its very beginning, been about supporting and celebrating the things that make us unique as South Africans,” says
Bronwen Rohland, Pick n Pay’s marketing and sustainability director. “Partnering with Cooked in Africa Films to find the ‘Ultimate Braai Master’ speaks directly to who we are as the country’s quintessential South African food retailer, and we’re looking forward to what will undoubtedly be an incredible journey.”
Executive producer Peter Gird says local reality-based TV, combined with converging traditional and new media platforms, has stimulated new sponsor-funded models and provides the South African public with the potential to bring a cross section of local identities together within a shared context”.
And adds: “We’re especially excited about this property as it represents a hybrid model within the traditional Advertiser-Funded Programme structure that is synonymous with local Free-To-Air broadcasters. Our partnership with SABC 3 allows us to showcase an original, home-grown TV Series to a broad local viewer base, before extending the Programme’s exposure to a global TV audience via our international distributors, Off The Fence.”
The Media Online caught up with sponsorship and marketing manager of Cooked in Africa, Lara Black, to find out more.
Q: Like Cooked, this show appears to be cooking cum travel except a rather extreme version! How did the producers come up with the concept and how easy was it to sell to SABC3?
A: Partners and executive producers, Justin Bonello and Peter Gird have been working on this franchise property for almost a year and a half now – it’s a natural progression for Justin’s five seasons of Cooked (which has enjoyed a global distribution since the launch of Cooked Season One) where he travels to new locations and cooks in the outdoors with friends and local communities. The Producers have created this new and original format that will break stereotypes both in the reality TV genre and classic braai-cooking genre!
Q: This will probably cost a fair bit in terms of the travel and the sheer numbers. Will sponsorship cover it?
A: The production is sponsor-funded, yes
Q: Will this be sold overseas at some point? Are negotiations underway?
A: International independent distribution company, Off The Fence, represents Cooked in Africa Films (see attached the media release detailing the announcement of our association, last year). While first screening rights to the “Ultimate Braai Master” have been sold to SABC 3, we will be distributing the content globally via an international broadcaster thereafter.
Q: What is your new media plan for the show? Your digital strategy?
A: Its a big question – how much time do you have? Our media strategy spans a 10 month period and is underpinned by the ultimatebraaimaster.com website – our online platform will house the ‘brand’ and engage directly with the UBM community. Quirk built the website, which in Phase I, is designed as an application form so that our Producers can assess each entry, looking at character as much as cooking ability. Phase II will see the back-end extend and provide engaging platforms and game dynamics for the UBM community to interact, win cool prizes, and even gain entry, as contestants, into Season 2 in 2013! UBM lives seamlessly on FB and Twitter; with an ATL campaign aimed at social media sites as well as traditional media radio, TV and print platforms. Our media partners on the TV property include Sunday Times, Metrofm and SABC 3.
Q: Where does it start, and where will it end?
A: The competition starts on the banks of the Orange River and ends at a remote location in the middle of the Kruger National Park.
Q: Will this be in SA or also SADC countries?
A. The 13 part Series will be filmed in South Africa and covers 8000kms
Q: How will you choose the contestants? What will they have to do?
A: Short-listed contestants will be chosen based on they’re cooking ability, aspirations and character (the gees they will bring to the braai). Contestants need to be 18 years or older and in possession of a valid drivers license. The Producers are looking for a wide cross section of South Africans to enter – they hope to showcase the melting pot of cultures, view points, flavours and spirit that set South Africans apart as a people. Once they’re short-listed they will be expected to cook for Justin and his team of judges at one of three regional auditions in CT, KZN and JHB. Those that make it through, make it on talent, tenacity and creativity.
Q: Will competitors come in teams of two for the selection process or will you put the teams together yourselves?
A: Competitors will be expected to sign up with their partner or Braai Buddy – which can translate into a variety of combinations.
Q: When you talk of ‘unique flavours and local delicacies’ will there be a Survivor kind of aspect when people have to eat rather odd and sometimes gross things? (Always good tv but yuk!)
A: Each of the Challenges are designed to stretch far more than the culinary talents of each competing team – cooking is only one aspect. Teams have to self-drive to each new location; they are sometimes expected to source and catch their own food; and there will be some challenges that represent unusual and possibly unpalatable ingredients to some contestants! But overall, the food will be delicious and palatable, with the focus being on showcasing what can be produced and enjoyed on an open fire; breaking stereotypes and re-defining outdoor cooking!
Q: Will this also spawn a book?
10. Yes – Penguin will be publishing Justin’s Ultimate Braai Master cookbook at the same time that the TV Series ends (December 2012).
For more: //www.ultimatebraaimaster.com/
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