I’m a celebrity, feed me!
From a ‘Real Housewife’ to a fashion designer, here are some cooking tips from your favourite local celebs
Come Dine With Me South Africa was back on our screens this past Monday. The premiere episode of season five featured fashion designer Gert-Johan Coetzee, reality TV star Christall Kay, actress and TV presenter Candice Modiselle and 947 Drive Show host Lucky du Plessis.
The celebrity special saw them fighting it out in the kitchen to win cash for their chosen charity. Despite the lack of fierce competition or cattiness we expect from the cooking show, the episode was still a lot of fun with Coetzee taking the top prize after putting on an extravagant fashion show. He donated his R10,000 cash prize to Ronald McDonald House Charity, which provides support and resources to keep families together.
We asked the contestants for tips on how to host the perfect dinner party. Although Kay’s advice should be taken with a pinch of salt, we can attest that the other three celebs really did show a skill or two in throwing a dinner party.
Have enough things to drink. Always think of everybody. The alcoholic drinks and the non-alcoholic, making sure that it’s free flowing and easy to get so that when you are away in the kitchen people can just kind of sip. You don’t want to be chained to the kitchen the whole night. It’s very important that you plan your meals in such a way that you can kind of pull yourself out to spend time with your guests, otherwise you don’t enjoy it and then why do it? The difference between ordinary and extraordinary is that little extra.
Don’t be extra. The trick is to do an easy starter and an easy dessert. Then all that you do is that you pre-plan your main. The trick is about rehearsal, timing and practice.
They only showed a little bit on the show but there was a massive, full-on fashion show the whole night. We had 15 models there. It was a private viewing of my latest collection. This was an up close and personal viewing.
The fun part is the gossip in between takes. Never in my life would I have spent five days with Lucky and now we are like WhatsApp buddies. And even Candice, she is so fabulous.
My hashtag in life is “always winning” and I’ve literally never lost at anything, so I was so happy when I won. Every time I enter a competition I’m like: “Gert you can’t break your record.” I really do pour my heart and soul into everything.
What was it like hosting my fellow celebs? Obviously daunting, nerve-racking. I don’t even think “a fish out of water” closely describes how very far out of my comfort zone I was, but it was such a pleasurable experience because it was about learning, it was about engaging, and it was about something new. I love a challenge. I love an adventure.
What makes for a good dinner party is not so much the meal. And I want people to shy away from wanting a perfect meal. It really is about the environment, the atmosphere, the level of comfort and also being hospitable. You never want to leave your guests feeling lonely, like they are neglected. So it’s about allowing the atmosphere to accommodate the people in that room. But also to accommodate people with the menu, because you always want to give people options. So variety is great. Atmosphere is great. Environment is great. Hospitality, also, extremely important.
Oh my word now that I am officially a qualified chef (laughs), my cooking tip would be: don’t cook anything that’s out of range. Challenge yourself, yes, but challenge yourself close to your comfort zone … OK, wait, I went completely out of my comfort zone.
Cooking tips? Yoh! Yes! The most important cooking tip? Flavour, flavour, flavour. Yes, texture is one thing. Texture is very important. Presentation is absolutely important, but make sure the flavour is carried through.
Being on Come Dine With Me was a sheer pleasure. Firstly, I’ve never considered myself a celebrity and it’s not me being extremely humble or me being fake modest, but when you say “you're a celeb guest”, I’m like: “Oh, me”? I just do what I love and it puts me on a public platform and that’s it.
Lucky du Plessis
It was quite daunting not knowing who the celebs were but it ended up being quite fun. Everything is scary and hard until you do it. And I just did it.
You’ve got to look after everyone. That’s number one. You’ve got to make sure people are entertained and looked after. That’s very important. But then also, you’ve got to have the right mix of people. You can’t have people that clash. You don’t want people that are always fighting.
Always wash your hands. Rinse your knife under cold water. It’s important when you cut. It’s mostly for onions and vegetables [with a pungent smell]. Don’t follow the recipe to a T, make it your own. I really had so much fun. I think it was really cool. I would advise anyone if you could have a chance to get on to the show, especially if you are a half decent chef, do it. You learn a lot about yourself.
A great dinner hostess is somebody that's very good with timing, that can understand that things must be done in a certain way and done quickly and also be able to delegate and make sure that people can help her to get the meal ready. You need good interpersonal skills and charm, to put people at ease, even when you are not feeling at ease. If the food’s taking too long or something’s going wrong, you should be able to make people feel relaxed anyway.
You need to pay attention to the time that you are in the kitchen and should make ample time for getting ready yourself, because you also need to look beautiful when your guests arrive. You can’t have the food ready and host your guests with your hair in curlers. Invite the right people. If you invite the wrong people it can be a disaster.
Cooking tips! Adequate preparation. If you going to use a recipe, you need to read through it completely, you need to understand exactly what to do with it before you make the dish. Once you have everything you need and know what’s required of you, you will succeed.
I love the celebrity guests and I love being with them. We had a wonderful time, we got on so well. That was the best part for me. They didn’t always like my meals and things sometimes went wrong in the kitchen, but they were honest and I appreciated that.
• Come Dine With Me South Africa airs on BBC BRIT, DStv channel 120, on Mondays at 8pm.