Celebrity chef Siba Mtongana joins former Miss SA and cosmetics brand creator, Cindy Nel, TV personality and Bashers’ life of the party, Denise Zimba and wedding planner, Zavion Kotze, every Sunday.
The show takes the viewer along for the ride when these four crash 22 weddings and give their take on each event through a score. At the end of the series, one couple will win more than R800000 worth of prizes.
Zimba is a complete riot on the show, but another firecracker is Mtongana.
“I love weddings,” she told me.
“I am a hopeless romantic. I especially love weddings when the people getting married are the ones you know are meant to be together.
“I also love the drama behind weddings. Even with my wedding, it was like: when your sister wants to take over and then this one also wants to and you almost want to throw your hands in the air,” she laughed.
“Weddings are great because you have both families together at the same time. That hardly happens, in general.”
I asked Mtongana if there was anything she would change about her own wedding. And unsurprisingly, the food wouldn’t be on that list.
“No, the food was amazing,” she said. “I went all out. In hindsight, I would have invited more people to my wedding. I had 220 people. But having to deal with people being upset with me afterwards, was a lot.
“Some of them were people I hadn’t interacted with in a long time. Like, you know that one auntie who used to change your nappy, but you haven’t seen her since?
“Now my mother was in trouble because it was like: ‘oh, now that your daughter is on TV, you don’t invite us. You robbed us of a time to celebrate’. So I think I would have invited more people if I could do it over.”
On The Wedding Bashers, Mtongana is predominantly looked to for the judging of the food. But it doesn’t stop there.
“They specifically wanted each person to have a prominent voice in their field, but of course we’re allowed to comment on other things like the dress,” she said.
“But here’s what I have to conscientise the viewer about: I can’t say something is nice when it isn’t. Being honest about someone’s special big day is sometimes the hardest part. I’m not just telling the bride, I’m telling the entire nation. But because they entered this show, it means they can take the criticism.”
Mtongana may be best known for food, but her other love is family. In fact, there are drinking games that require you to take a sip every time Mtongana says “my husband, Brian” on her show, Siba’s Table. I asked her how she felt about that and whether people asked her for marriage advice.
“My husband, Brian,” she bursts into laughter. “Hashtag! No, people haven’t asked about marriage advice for this show yet, but people always watch my show and then tell me I saved their marriage. People tell me about how I taught them to make certain food which helped their marriages.
“There is a lady in Abu Dhabi who wrote to me to say I saved her marriage, because before she couldn’t cook to save her life, but now things are going so well that her husband even bought her a car. The fact that I’m family-oriented encourages people to be proud of their husbands or wives or children.
“It’s like if you’re a woman who has a career, you can’t also have a career, a husband and children, and I’ve proven that wrong. I have all three. Three in everything - three kids as well. I want to empower women to rock and be fabulous in their careers and at home.”
* The Wedding Bashers is on M-Net (DStv Channel 101) every Sunday at 5pm.