Former MasterChef Australia Gary Mehigan, George Calombaris and Matt Preston brief the media ahead of this weekend's Appetite Fest at Time Square Arena, Pretoria.
Former MasterChef Australia Gary Mehigan, George Calombaris and Matt Preston brief the media ahead of this weekend's Appetite Fest at Time Square Arena, Pretoria.
TOP national and international chefs have gathered their ingredients in preparation for Pretoria’s biggest culinary event.

The Appetite Fest starts today at Sun Arena, Time Square. It ends on Sunday.

General manager at Time Square Brett Hoppe promised that the festival would be bigger and better.

He said the event would also drive a lot of tourists towards the city, which would be great for Pretoria.

South African chefs Sarah Graham, Siba Mtongana, Bertus Basson, Lorna Maseko and Claire Allen said they were looking forward to the event.

Mtongana said South Africa had moved up and there was a lot of appreciation for food.

“The festival is a showcase of where we are in terms of food and culinary.

“People are fully immersed in food. Food is the new fashion and it validates us,” she said.

All foodies will be looking forward to signature dishes by their favourite chefs.

Basson said that he would be specialising in fish and preparing a dish called Vis Sop Kop that he grew up eating.

“We are going to show people how to use a whole fish where we use the flesh of the fish to use something to roll with and and the bones and hip becomes the broth.”

Australia’s top chefs Matt Preston, Gary Mehigan and George Calombaris, as well as guest chef Shannon Bennet, and winner of MasterChef Australia 2018 Sashi Cheliah, said that they were all excited to be back to enjoy all the South African dishes.

South Africa has been described as being very similar to Australia and the three chefs said they felt right at home. “We are solidly committed for the busy weekend ahead of us,” said Mehigan.

“If I’m being honest I came back for the ghost pops; I really enjoyed those,” joked Preston.

He said that everything that he would be doing at the event was inspired by Pretoria.

Colambaris said that he had learned how to make chakalaka and was very pleased with himself about that.

The food extravaganza runs from morning until night, and people can expect a family friendly environment where they can watch international and local celebrity chefs cooking up a storm in two food theatres.

They will also get the chance to meet their chef heroes at book signings, private cooking classes or at an exclusive masterclass.