Meet seven of the contestants who will cook up a storm on S3’s MasterChef South Africa Season 5 The sizzling fifth season of MasterChef South Africa moves into the show’s new home on S3 (formerly SABC3) on Saturday, 13 July at 19:30, with repeat broadcasts on SABC2 on Sundays at 18:30 and another chance to catch up on all the reality show cooking action on S3 on Wednesdays at 18:00.

MasterChef South Africa Season 5 features 20 amateur chefs from across Mzansi with diverse backgrounds and different food dreams.

Among these cooks are seven strong contenders, ready to slice and dice, bake and butter up the judges with their delicious meals:


If 29-year-old Tebogo looks familiar, you probably recognise this handsome professional model with the speckle-sprinkled face from various advertising campaigns for superbrands. However, life hasn’t always been on the glitzy side for this inspirational go-getter. Tebogo, or Tebz as he is often called, was raised in Hillbrow by a single-parent mother, and when times were tough, living in shelters was their last resort.

Instead of allowing his difficult upbringing to define his future or getting sucked into the wrong crowd, Tebz determinedly decided to rise above his circumstances. As an intern at an inner-city NGO, the joy of a cup of coffee inspired him to become a barista. One of his many achievements was opening a bustling coffee shop called Hillbrewed Café at the age of 23. The disciplined MasterChef South Africa Season 5 contestant is a martial arts champion. He was the middleweight South African Kickboxing Association title holder in 2016 and 2017.

“I can chop pretty fast and accurately,” Tebz describes his superpower in the kitchen, “and can taste a dish before starting it.” Now, he is, of course, “tasting” the R1m prize money the winner of MasterChef South Africa Season 5 winner will scoop up. If he goes to the top, he plans to use the winnings towards owning a restaurant.


Tinashe “Nash” Zambila (39) from Jozi’s affluent northern suburbs is bound to win viewers’ hearts with his inimitable dry sense of humour and charismatic personality. The devoted dad of an 8-year-old boy fell in love with food by watching celebrity chefs like Rick Stein and Ainsley Harriott strutting their culinary stuff on television. However, his all-time small-screen hero is the late Anthony Bourdain, whose travelogues introduced Nash to the cultures and cuisines of people across the globe.

Nash recalls a light-bulb moment when it dawned on him that he might never be able to visit the exotic destinations in Anthony’s shows but that experimenting in the kitchen could still be the passport granting him access to foreign palates. “So, I would start playing around with ingredients, making a royal mess,” Nash quips.

“Through his private home-cooking adventures, Nash can now whip up unique sauces – his self-proclaimed speciality. His other food fortes are Asian dishes and stylish, refined steakhouse food.

As expected from someone from the advertising world, Nash is a big thinker who continues brainstorming ideas about possible new ventures after winning MasterChef South Africa. On his vision board are a chicken wing bar, a cooking channel, bespoke pop-ups showcasing up-and-coming chefs, a chilli farm where he bottles his own chilli sauce and sustainable feeding scheme initiatives.


Lucas Roothman (33) from Stellenbosch coaches rugby at school and university levels and recruits players for a rugby academy. His alma mater is Paarl Roos Gimnasium, the high school famous for producing more Springboks than any other school in the country. When Lucas, a former U/19 Western Province Union player himself, is not soaking up the sun outdoors, passing the ball to potential future sports stars, or rubbing shoulders with big-name Boks, you’ll find him in the kitchen.

For Lucas, the link between his coaching and cooking is creativity. “In my day job, I think on my feet to bring the best out of people, and in the kitchen, it’s great fun to make the most of quality ingredients,” he explains. Whilst applying his imagination to create scrumptious dishes, Lucas loves listening to Italian Bistro-style music.

Lucas’s food-making trainib ng ground was in his hometown, Worchester, where his mom supplied various coffee shops, including the one she ran, with her baked goods. He would be at her side, mixing, cracking, watching and, of course, tasting.

Before entering MasterChef South Africa Season 5, Lucas’s partner and family were the lucky ones enjoying his delicious meals. If he wins the show, we’ll be fortunate to taste what they are raving about when he kicks off his dream Bistro restaurant with the prize money.


Calm and composed 34-year-old Chanel Brink’s love language is food – whether she spoils her colleagues with unique treats, conjures up delectable meals for her husband and family or shares classic recipes with a distinct South African twist on social media.

During Lockdown, Chanel, born in Durban and now residing in Greenstone Hills, Johannesburg, became an online foodie content creator. Little did she know how her easy-to-make comfort food and simple techniques would hit a sweet spot on Instagram.

Cookingwithchanel_sa now has over 180,000 followers! Chanel’s food flair and culinary prowess are part of her DNA. This magic-making, self-taught cook comes from a generation of food fanatics. Her father is a qualified chef, and her mother worked at a deli. As a pre-schooler, she found her mom’s weekly baking more entertaining than watching cartoons. Soon, little Chanel would mix the ingredients and break the eggs. “Even just adding in the sugar gave me such joy,” Chanel recalls, “not to forget the thrill of seeing my first bran muffins coming out of the oven at the age of nine.”

Her ability to perform under pressure, instilled by her day job, working as an Internal Sales consultant at a construction company and her ability to multi-task might stand Chanel in good stead in the MasterChef South Africa Season 5 kitchen.


Effervescent Ella Bella Constantinides-Leite (39) holds a Master’s degree in Dramatic Arts and Education from the University of the Witwatersrand, is of Greek descent, married the Portuguese love of her life and chose beautiful Sesotho and isiZulu names for her two children.

This colourful home cook from Bedfordview is also a dynamic environmentalist who teaches in all corners of the country as part of the Miss Earth South Africa programme, educating children about biodiversity and preserving our national heritage. As such, she initiates projects ranging from planting trees and creating sustainable vegetable gardens to recycling, cleaning rivers and beaches, and feeding people in different communities weekly.

With these bits of Ella Bella’s background, it makes perfect sense that she describes herself as the kitchen queen of leftovers. “My food style is Mediterranean with a splash of South African fusion, “she adds, “and I have mastered sneaking veggies into all kinds of experimental dishes for the good of my family.”

It brings her immense joy to host large dinner parties targeting the diverse taste buds of the mix of cultures and ages of her multitude of friends and PortuGreek relatives.

Food is indeed a gift in Ella Bella’s eyes, and if she wins the competition, you might just see Ella Bella food trucks on their way to the empty bellies in many communities.


Naledi Matshitse (43) from Muldersdrift is a stay-at-home mom who juggles various jobs: homemaker, family chef, family medic, family driver, sports coach and cheerleader. Despite her BAdmin Honours degree in Industrial psychology, Naledi prefers not to miss a moment of her kids growing up. As a bonus, they can have fun together in her favourite room in the house – the kitchen!

Naledi has an insatiable passion for cooking. It all started when she became her mother’s sous chef when she was ten years old. As the first-born, she would prep dinner before her mom arrived from work, and during Easter and Christmas, they would tackle elaborate dishes from a pile of cut-out recipes.

These days, amateur chef Naledi recreates gourmet food that impresses her at restaurants or on television cooking shows.

However, Naledi remains proud of her African heritage, and her MasterChef wardrobe will showcase that. She packed quite a few garments in her supersized suitcase because she’s adamant about reaching the final episode.

Naledi tenaciously wants to taste victory again on a reality show, as she did on Season 8 of Ultimate Braaimaster. “It was one of the most adventurous, fun things I have ever done,” she says about the show. “But Master Chef South Africa is my gourmet dream come true. I am so excited to tap into my fine dining persona finally.”


Refe Dimbaza is a smart, bubbly, thirty-something “small-town girl” from Thaba Nchu with an Honours Degree in Accounting from the University of the Free State who’s living in Centurion these days. Her two graduation ceremonies count among the most significant moments in her life – all because of a person very close to her heart witnessing these milestone events. The proud supporter in the auditorium was her beloved late grandmother.

This gogo also infused Refe with a passion for food. Early on Sunday mornings, Refe would be at her side grafting to ensure fresh baked goods were on the table to enjoy with their tea when they returned from church. Refe decided to enter MasterChef South Africa to honour her granny’s legacy and take her own food-making skills to the next level. What makes becoming a MasterChef contestant even more special for Refe is remembering how they used to enjoy watching the show together.

Although Refe doesn’t want to reveal all the kitchen secrets, she hopes they will land her the title of MasterChef and the six-figure sum of money that comes with it. However, she’s willing to whet our appetite with these words: “My cooking style is ‘traditional with an unexpected modern twist’, and load-shedding has taught me a few surprising fast tricks.”

To find out more about MasterChef South Africa Season 5 and its contestants, jump onto the show’s social media pages and join the conversation by using #MasterChefSA