We recently had the privilege of visiting South Africa’s favourite morning television show, Expresso, and got to see the behind the scenes action, live as it happened. The purpose of our visit to the Expresso studio was to learn more about our Chef Patron Zola Nene and also to catch up with Capsicum graduate, Sebastian Newman, who is employed as Food Assistant at the Expresso Show.
Being a Chef on a live television show must be very exciting. We asked Chef Zola to tell us a little bit more about her work and to describe a typical day at the Expresso Show.
Upon arrival, first stop is make-up. From there we do final checks on the recipes and ingredients, making sure we are prepared for the show. We then do the live show and also will take some pictures of the food to share on social media.
When the show is over, the real work starts! We usually go straight into the production meeting where we discuss themes and all content related topics. The Expresso Show has three cooking segments each morning. Two recipe cooking segments and one food related segment, so this requires quite a lot of planning and preparation.
Furthermore, there is paper work, booking of guest Chefs, and consulting with industry partners.
Would you ever consider leaving the entertainment business to work in a restaurant or hotel again? What are the differences between being a Chef in a real world restaurant or hotel kitchen, compared to being a TV Chef?
If I had to go back to a normal kitchen I would like to work in a Pastry Kitchen. It allows for more creativity and you have more time to work at your own pace. Other possibilities for the future include product development and producing recipes on a consulting basis.
How do you stay up to date with the latest food trends?
Social Media is definitely a great tool to stay up to date with what’s trending in the food world. I have many foodie friends on Facebook and use my newsfeed as inspiration for new ideas. My current role requires me to generate new content daily so Internet browsing, reading food blogs, and viewing food related websites are all part of my daily routine.
Where do you see your career going from here? Do you have any future plans beyond the Expresso Show?
My first goal is to create my own recipe book. This has been a long time dream and I definitely see this happening in the near future. I would like to continue working in Televison but possibly in a different form. It is a great opportunity to do what I love and I get to share it with so many people!
Sebastian, what do you like most about working with Chef Zola?
Working with Zola is amazing! It is truly an opportunity I will forever be grateful for. She is a confident woman, and throughout the industry placement as part of my course at Capsicum Culinary Studio, she was focused on teaching me as much as she could. She is always concerned that you need to be learning as much as she is able to teach you, going out of her way to make sure you do. At the same time she ensures that you are comfortable and confident enough to carry out every task given to you. We work long hours, but we also have a lot of fun! I look forward to learning so much more from her and the rest of the food team.
What is the next step in your career Sebastian?
I have not really thought about where I would like to go from here. I am delighted to have been appointed permanently as Food Assistant on the new Afternoon Express Television Show. At the moment I am just focusing on doing my best here at Expresso and learning as much as possible.
Zola, if someone is considering a career as a Chef, what would be the single most important characteristic they need to have to be successful?
Resilience. Whether you are cooking in a normal kitchen or in an entertainment environment, you need to have somewhat of a tough exterior. You need to be willing to learn when you start in the industry. You’ll need to work hard to earn respect. More importantly, you have to be doing it because you are passionate about food and not because you want to be famous.