Published on August 16th, 2017 | by Theo Nel


Award winning chef Zola Nene joins The Great South African Bake Off

It’s back, with more bunting, baking powder and iced buns than ever. The Great South African Bake Off is set to return to screens this October 2017 as a new hunt for SA’s best amateur baker begins. This series will see cooking sensation Zola Nene join the expert judging panel alongside Tjaart Walraven. Zola joins the team following former judge Shirley Guy’s decision to step out of the Bake Off tent and pursue other projects and spend more time with her family. Presenters Anne Hirsh and Lentswe Bhengu also return for the new series.

Originally from Durban, Zola Nene now lives in Cape Town as a successful TV chef. Following the decisison to take a break from studying law, it was travelling and working as a pastry chef in England that helped Zola realise her passion for food and baking. On returning to South Africa, Zola enrolled at the Institute of Culinary Arts in Stellenbosch, and it was where her love and appreciation for local cuisines was cemented, thanks to working with household names including Margot Janse of Le Quartier Francais and Chris Erasmus of Foliage Restaurant.

Now a successful, award winning cookbook author, Zola has also become well known across the country as a resident chef on SABC 3’s Expresso Morning Show. In this next stop on her journey, Zola will be bringing her expertise to one of the most successful cooking format shows in the world. A champion of South African cuisines and its diversity, she will help to put the new line-up of hopeful amateur bakers through their paces and really let them know if their potbroods are overdone or if their Amakhekhe are too dry.

When asked about how she felt to be joining ratings hit The Great South African Bake Off, Zola said, “I started my career in the food world as a pastry chef, and ever since then, I have always loved baking. I am hugely excited to be joining the South African Bake Off family, simply because I am big fan of the show. I know it is going to be a lot of fun and I can’t wait to meet all of the new hopeful bakers and join them on this exciting new adventure.”

Tjaart Walraven, who has been a judge on the hit show on BBC Lifestyle for the previous two series said, “It is fantastic that Zola will be joining the team. It has been an absolute pleasure judging alongside Shirley Guy for series one and two but I know it is going to be a fun new experience working with Zola. I am very excited to get into the tent and see all the new contestants and of course – sample their bakes!”

The Great South African Bake Off  has been a ratings smash for BBC Lifestyle. During series two, the show pulled in over two million viewers and was the number one channel in its competitor set on DStv’s platform.

The Great South African Bake Off demonstrates BBC Worldwide’s ongoing commitment to providing high quality local programming. The Love Productions format will once again be produced by Rapid Blue, with filming starting this month. Together, Rapid Blue and BBC Worldwide will also be producing a second local commission this year with the hugely anticipated return of Come DineWith Me South Africa for a fourth series.

The Love Productions format has been licensed to 25 countries around the world including Australia, Brazil, Czech Republic, Denmark,France, Thailand and Mexico.




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