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Meet the 12 Contestants in The Taste Master SA: The Baking Edition

From all over the country, the men and women who hoping to take on the pressure in the kitchen.

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The Taster Maker SA is edging closer to its debut on 1o September at 19:00 on SABC 2. And so right is the best time as ever to reveal contestants who will be showcasing their culinary flair in the baking edition of the reality competition television show. The 12 who will be vying for top prize have now been announced.

This season, there is a diverse and eclectic group of passionate bakers who are looking forward to showing off their skill and creativity and impress judges Zola Nene and Fritz Schoon. This season, the contestants are setting out to bake more memories – and promise some mouthwatering creations in the process.

Meet the 12 contestants taking part in The Taste Master SA: The Baking Edition:

Shaazia Soomar

Age: 22
Port Elizabeth

Shaazia is a self-proclaimed petrol head who loves spending time on the race track. When not studying for her BCom in Digital Marketing, Shaazia is a full-time bridal make-up artist. Shaazia comes from an eclectic family with her mother being Chinese and her father being Indian. Naturally, food has always been the centre of their household and took part in weekly events and traditions that were both customary and always included incredible culinary delights. “I find that my techniques are vintage and timeless,” Shaazia says. “I believe that there are no rules when it comes to baking and this always allowed me to learn about so many different flavours and experiment.”

Kyle Haytread

Age: 36
Cape Town

Kyle is a curious baker and culinary experimenter who started his career as a junior pastry chef in London where he eventually worked his way up to  becoming an executive pastry chef at various well-known establishments across Cape Town. Kyle is so passionate about food that he recently started experimenting with cheesemaking and developing his own range of artisanal chocolate and confectionary. “My food ethos: Farm to plate, conscious  and kind ingredient choices, the classics are the classics and the plate is merely an extension of the heart,” Kyle says.

Samantha Liang

Age: 31
Cape Town

Samantha is the owner and creator-in-chief of a small business that creates beautifully hand crafted cakes and sugar flowers. Passionate about cakes, Samantha explains that her cake journey began eight years ago when she began creating novelty and birthday cakes shortly after her son was born. “I have always been interested in playing around in the kitchen, whether it’s baking or cooking,” Samantha says. “I enjoy playing around with recipes and ingredients and love to see how far I can push them and myself.

Thando Manyoni

Age: 22
Soweto

Thando grew up in a big, loving family where she was the youngest of five children. However, after her parents got divorced when she was 15, she needed to help support her now single mother while going to school and her extra mural activities. In the midst of the chaos, Thando fell in love with food after one of her Grade 9 school projects required her to cook or bake something that represented herself or her culture. She bakes a red velvet cake with cream cheese frosting which was a hit with her classmates. After she matriculated, Thando enrolled at the Capsicum Culinary Studio to study Advanced Culinary Arts. “I particularly love the presentation and styling of food which I strive to make one of my strengths in this competition,” Thando says.

Lwazi Sizwe Dlalisa

Age: 24
Johannesburg

Lwazi fell in love with food from a young age after his grandparents, who raised him as a child, asked him to contribute to the household. Lwazi took over some of the cooking and fell in love with the kitchen and everything that had to do with it. This inspired Lwazi to study hospitality at the Central Johannesburg TVET College before he became a chef and pastry chef at the Central Restaurant Hazelwood. He then embarked on a new chapter at Verdiccio at Montecasino, one of Johanessburg’s most popular hotspots, where he started to hone in on his dessert-making skills. As a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, his journey was cut short and he started his own business Sweet Taste where he bakes cakes, desserts and pastries. “Baking has allowed me to reflect my energy on all my creations which makes me very happy,” Lwazi says. “I cannot wait to show South Africa what I am capable of!”

Sohail Seegoobin

Age: 22
Durban

Food has always been a massive part of Sohail’s upbringing. His paternal grandmother and his mother often whipped up a variety of sweet and savory dishes which influenced his passion for flavour. During high school, he started hospitality studies which eventually inspired him to embark on a patisserie course at Chefs Training and Innovation Academy where he explored the finer arts of creating baked goods. “I aim to bring an artistic, innovative and flavor burst approach to the competition,” Sohail says.

Duke Mbokazi

Age: 30
Johannesburg

Duke is a chef by profession. He was born and raised in Eshikawini, KwaZulu Natal where he was raised by his grandmother. He eventually moved to Durban to stay with his parents where he fell in love with experimenting with different flavours in the kitchen. Duke eventually enrolled with Capsicum Culinary Studios where he got a diploma in Culinary Art and Food Preparation and eventually found his groove as a professional chef. “I am focused, quirky and a fun energy – but I am willing to step outside of my comfort zone”

Jason Miller

Age: 29
Johannesburg

Jason is a a self-taught home baker who graduated with a degree in Urban Design from the University of the Witwatersrand. He says that baking has been his passion ever since he used to watch his mother, grandmother and aunts create delicious treats like koesisters in the kitchen. In 2016, he started a small-scale home business creating celebration cakes. This passion project grew into a full-time business. “I have spent my time perfecting recipes, learning new techniques and developing my skills to become the baker I am today,” Jason says. “I am looking forward to showing off my style and flair in the Taste Master kitchen.”

Jason Tomlinson

Age: 22
Cape Town

A lover of the outdoors and an avid adventurer, Jason Tomlinson is a chef, food photographer and content creator from Cape Town. Passionate about putting food and projects together, Jason landed his first culinary job during his gap year before working at a Durbanville restaurant for six months. After outgrowing his role, he landed a job at a fine dining restaurant in Stellenbosch where he honed his skills. During this time, he I got a diploma in Culinary Arts and Food Preparation while discovering his passion for pastry. Today, Jason focuses almost entirely on his photography while baking almost every day to improve his craft. “The Taste Master SA is going to be the stage where I get to show other people what I’ve learnt throughout my career,” Jason says. “I’m going to be bringing creativity, passion and determination to the challenges – and I have a lot of tricks up my sleeve!”

Nqobile Ngcobo

Age: 20
Durban

Nqobile is currently doing her Advanced Diploma at the Durban University of Technology in Consumer Science: Food and Nutrition and admits that she has fallen in love with baking because of the nostalgia it brings. She admits that her late grandmother inspires almost every dish and loves incorporating homegrown, seasonal ingredients into my cooking and baking as a result. “I spent most of my holidays in her kitchen learning from her,” Nqobile admits. “I love exploring different cultures, cuisines and nature destinations in Africa and I am extremely passionate about the fighting against food insecurity – especially when it comes to vulnerable groups like children, pregnant women, and the elderly.”

Khensani Peters

Age: 42
Johannesburg

After getting her National Diploma in IT at the now Durban University of Technology, Khensani worked as a computer programmer for six years. However, she took a major risk and decided to follow her culinary dreams by opening her very own business Ntshovelo Cakes in 2008 – a project which has now grown into Ntshovelo Cakes and Academy. Khensani uses her platform to design, bake and decorate various celebration cakes as well as give training to up-and-coming cake makers. “The training is done through in-class training and online classes, which can be purchased from our website,” Khensani says of her exciting venture. Now, she’s looking forward to showcasing her talents on a national platform. “I love being in the kitchen and recently developed an interest in exploring cooking and baking for healthy living. I’m definitely a neat freak and a perfectionist when it comes to my work and I can’t wait to showcase my talent on The Taste Master SA!”

Meghan Mavrodaris

Age: 36
Johannesburg

Following in her late father’s footsteps, Meghan opted for a career in law shortly after matriculating. Almost a decade later, after moving back to South Africa from the UK, Meghan decided to leave the profession and focus on her true passion – food. Meghan started a small business which saw her create her very first wedding cake at the beginning of the year. Inspired by Nigella’s flair, Meghan hopes to bring something different to the competition. “My cooking is more homey, hearty and comforting –  but I’m up to any challenge and am excited to learn, grow and discover even more about the culinary arts during the competition. I am bringing my A-game!”

The winner of The Taste Master SA: The Baking Edition will receive a Samsung oven, microwave and vacuum cleaner for their star kitchen, a Thermomix to the approximate value of R26 000, their choice of premium Le Creuset prizes to the approximate value of R15 000 and a cash prize.

The Taste Master SA: The Baking Edition premieres on 10th September 2021 at 19:00 on SABC 2.

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Squid Game Ending Explained; We’ve Been Scammed

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We’ve been had, and Squid Game is here to prove it.

When the end of the South Korean horror drama arrives on the ninth episode, the winner finds himself harrowed by what the coveted prize has cost his soul. In the rat race for survival, along with a better life that hinges on the never ending hustle, there’s no time to stop and see the horror our lives become. By the end, we see how the winner has sold his soul for a crappy deal that came with a few toys, and a happy meal.

A group of 456 players are mysteriously invited to take part in a set of children’s games for a grand prize of $38 million, which will be enough to give the winner the financial freedom they desperately need. The players are selected from different walks of life, with the burden of excessive debt being their biggest motivation to give the Game a go.

The first of deepening terrors comes during the first game, when the players discover that penalties for losing in the challenges will be death. DEATH. Horrified, the players initially vote to leave and return to their lives.

This noble departure doesn’t last long; their material realities as fugitives on the run from debt collectors only highlights the glow of the precious promise they’ve now left behind. When they return for the second time, they now consent to their highly probable deaths.

Led by Lee Jung-jae, who plays Seong Gi-hun, a taxi driver with a gambling addiction, the South Korean series has become somewhat of a global phenomenon. Now the most streamed Korean series of all time, Squid Game is also said to be on pace to dethrone Bridgerton as the most streamed series in the history of Netflix. And it’s with good reason. Squid Game is a trip.

Survival is the drive. The blues of a broke life pile up for Seong Gi-hun, who’s daughter is being taken away to the US by her mother and step father. His mother is battling deteriorating diabetes and even in her frail condition, is still working hard to make ends meet. It’s during the peak of his frustrations that Gi-hun is randomly invited to take part in the Game.

After accepting the offer, he finds himself in a discreet location along with 455 players, who are also drowning in debt. The players are kept under an authoritarian system of surveillance. Masked guards in pink suits keep the scene under control under the supervision of the Front Man. Gi-hun allies with other players, including his childhood friend Cho Sang-woo, as a the most strategic way to survive the bloody challenges.

Amongst those that end up in this team is player 001, a frail old man who who became his “gganbu”. Sae-byeok, who was also in the team, was killed by Sang-woo, Gi-hun’s childhood friend, team member and flip-flopping ally. Several other team members had to be killed by their team mates, which revealed the wickedness of the games.

In the end, Gi-hun’s victory came without an apology. He had to defeat a close ally in the games, the old and frail player 001. They’d bonded throughout their time, but in the end he had to advance himself against those he’d built alliances. As the games progressed, the players found themselves having to face tough calls. Someone else has to die for you to make it another day.

After a series of brutal games, it comes down to childhood friends Gi-hun and Cho Sang-woo. They’d played different games, with Sang-woo having played hard and stopping at nothing to win. Gi-hun is mad at Sang-woo for a series of betrayals, including him stabbing Sae-byeok to her death. In the end, Gi-hun wins when Sang-woo apologised and kills himself.

Yet despite emerging a winner, Gi-hun finds that the cost of becoming an overnight billionaire has bankrupted his soul. For a year following the day his bank account was loaded with a nine zero figure, he didn’t touch the money. After all, he returned to find his mother dead on the floor. One of his motivations was getting the money to get her medical help over her advancing diabetes.

THE ENDING

Gi-hun is clearly troubled by the bodies upon which his new wealth rests. A year passes and he hasn’t touched the money – even oddly reverting to old patterns of asking for loans to get by. It might be late to be so concerned about the moral questions surrounding the games now – the long and short of it is he won and his life has changed.

Later, he is shocked to find out that the “gganbu” who had to be killed after losing to him in a game of marbles, was never really killed.

In a shocking plot twist that changes everything – he also finds out that the old man is in fact the creator of the games! Finding him in a medical bed after receiving a mysterious invite to the location, Gi-hun discovers that the man’s real name is Oh Il-nam, an obscenely rich fella who created the games in 1988 (the same year Korea hosted the Olympics for the first time) purely for their entertainment. We already know by now that ‘the VIPs’ are a bunch of morally bankrupt elites who find pleasure in watching the poor masses slaughtering each other for money in a broken system. Where have we heard that before?

Although his participation in the games as player 001 was a farce, what he told Gi-hun back then, that he had a brain tumour, had been true. And of course, he challenged him to another sick game. A man had been freezing to death on a street pavement, and Oh Il-nam challenged Gi-hun to guess to bet on the odds that someone who help him when the clock strikes 00:00 at midnight. As Gi-hun wins, Oh Il-nam dies.

We assume this marks the end of the games. However later in the episode, Gi-hun sees the man who recruited him doing it to someone else. He runs to stop what is happening, but arrives at the exact scene late, the train has already taken off. Later on the way to boarding a flight, he turns and calls a number. “I can’t forgive you for everything you’re doing,” he tells ta man we assume to be In-ho. He turns back, clearly about to begin his new mission.

What we know now, is that Oh Il-nam created the games to tickle the sick tastes of his sick rich network. But he is now dead. Who is now behind the games? This, and Gi-hun’s passionate manifesto, are strong indications that next season of the series is already shaping up to a different arc. It’s his final transformation, and he is ready to take down the operation and those behind it. He won’t allow people to be “horses” for the entertainment of wealthy elites.

We know that In-ho shot Jun-ho in a bid to stop him from alerting the police about the games. The signal was bad, delaying the delivering of the evidence Jun-ho had been trying to send in several texts, right up to the moment the moment he plunged from a cliff and hit the water. What we don’t know is whether the messages were really not delivered. There’s also no conclusive evidence that Jun-ho is dead.

Potentially, the biggest lesson from season one is that our relentless pursuit for material success in a punishing money system kills us.

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First Look at HBO’s Game of Thrones Spin-Off ‘House of The Dragon’

DRACARYS!

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Things look promising for HBO’s upcoming drama series, The House of Dragon. The highly buzzed Games of Thrones prequel’s first visual teaser has been met with much fanfare, raking in more than 8,6 million views on Youtube within two days of its arrival.

The House of Dragon

Photo Credit: HBO via Twitter

First reactions and buzz around the epic teaser have been strong indications that the series, slated to premiere in 2022, is off to a good start despite the infamous final season slump suffered by G.O.T. And it could mean that maybe, just maybe,  the world ready to let old baggage go.

The House of Dragon, created by an entire different team, will arrive about three years since the cold winter. The cast includes Matt Smith, Paddy Considine and Sonoya Mizuno who will be bringing to life a different era of Westeros.

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Midnight Mass is Creepy With A Dark Subtext and You Need To See it

‘God’s angel’ had sinister plans for the town.

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The reign of terror plunges a small and quiet town to ashes when the arrival of a charismatic yet mysterious priest coincides with the return of a disgraced young man who has just been released from prison.

While Riley (Zach Gilford) initially finds that Crockett Island and its 127 residents – along with his childhood sweetheart Erin (Kate Siegel) – still conduct a mundane existence, Pastor Paul (Hamish Linklater) soon changes that.

Midnight Mass

“The LORD’s angel”‘s life giving blood comes scams locals into horrible mistakes on Midnight Mass.

When the island’s much loved Roman Catholic senior priest takes a trip to the pilgrimage and never comes back, an energetic new priest takes his place at the Holy Land church. And while his arrival brings with it a new wave of spiritual revival amongst the island community, something sinister begins to haunt the town.

With each episode, the esoteric occult that powers Paul’s ability to perform astounding miracles and mesmerise the islanders, slowly gains dominion over the unsuspecting community. Instead, they begin taking up a renewed interest in the church as word of mouth spreads about the signs and wonders. Much like Jesus Christ was able to draw crowds wherever he went, the appearance of Paul’s supernatural power is able to attract even those who’d remained sceptics their lives.

It’s the blending of the sacred and the sinister. The taking of communion that has been contaminated with demonic blood, which functions as the miracle drug promising eternal life.

We soon find out the miracles come at an unthinkable cost.

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