It’s simply the must-see new show of the week (and maybe the year): MasterChef SA is here. Starting on Tuesday, it follows on the heels of the international versions – if we loved the original UK formula, we were wowed by the Australian version.

This reality show promises to have foodies and fans salivating. The contestants have been selected though an intense series of nationwide auditions with amateur chefs showing off their tagines and terrines, soups and soufflés.

The first winner of MasterChef SA will be presented by the show’s sponsor, Southern Sun, with a restaurant, becoming the biggest reality TV prize winner in SA television.

He or she will receive the right of use of the Southern Sun MondoVino Restaurant in Fourways for two years.

The restaurant, at the Piazza at Montecasino, has R7 million worth of equipment.

Furthermore, the lucky winner will benefit from all profits made by the restaurant and will be further aided by Southern Sun as follows:

• Receiving three months of practical business training in the areas of finance, human resources, restaurant management, and so on.

• Being the official “breakfast supplier” to the SunSquare Hotel, thus guaranteeing a regular income.

• By not having to pay rent (estimated at R2.4m over two years).

• Getting the naming rights to the restaurant and refurbishment to the value of R500 000.

The MondoVino Restaurant is a contemporary culinary theatre with Italian flair, embracing the art of good food through Italian and local regional cuisine.

The restaurant is vibrant and stylish with an informal sophistication that makes this the place to be on the Montecasino Piazza.

The highlight of the restaurant is the outdoor terrace seating with a view of the piazza and the spectacular musical fountain show at night.

MondoVino is the perfect restaurant for a pre-theatre dinner with the perfect location close to the Teatro.

“The Southern Sun brand is synonymous with elegance, style and sexy cuisine,” says Graham Wood, managing director of Southern Sun Hotels. “The partnership with M-Net’s MasterChef SA culinary show is a natural fit and is testament to Southern Sun’s commitment to supporting the South African hospitality industry.”

Top Southern Sun chef Benny Masekwameng will be one of the judges.

This cooking competition has been enjoyed by millions of viewers around the world.

The first episode of Masterchef SA, which airs weekly at 7.30pm on M-Net takes a look at who the contestants are as they begin the battle with their cooking skills to win the title of SA’s first Masterchef.

Whet your appetite by following MasterChef_SA on Twitter and “like” the MasterChef SA Facebook page. See /2011/12/29/masterchef-south-africa-3/ for details. – Staff Reporter