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Get to know MasterChef SA winner Kamini Pather

Take a seat at our table with South Africa’s MasterChef SA alum Kamini Pather as she dishes put advice and a sizzling love for her craft. 

It’s flawlessly executed, with high-end production, action-packed episodes as well as contestants that you simply can’t help but fall in love with – it’s MasterChef SA, and it’s back on our screens.  

As someone with an unwavering love for cooking shows, intense time crunches and underdog origin stories, it is beyond exciting to see South African cooks placed on the main stage. From blossoming new business ventures to jet-setting around the world with knife bags at their side, MasterChef SA is a TV show that both creates and honours remarkable talent.  

To ring in the new season, we catch up with a past contestant.  

In the words of Oscar Wilde, ‘Be yourself, everyone else is already taken’.  

Kamini Pather: Season 2 winner 

Kamini is a punchy powerhouse of energy. Since her win in 2013, she has juggled multiple food ventures while curating a multidisciplinary approach to food using academia and science. At the moment, she is busy doing her master’s in psychology, with the goal of working in the health space.  

“I qualified as a Health and Nutrition Coach through the Institute of Integrative Nutrition in 2022 and am devoted to working with food that is healthy and delicious,” she says. “Since the beginning, I have always said to actually trust the skinny chef, and I feel that I’m living that ethos.”  

As the first woman of colour to win the coveted title of SA’s MasterChef, she can’t help but realise the industry shift since her win over a decade ago. “It’s been incredible to see the change,” says Kamini, “because now representation matters.” “I recall a visit to a cooking school where a young woman of Indian descent came up to me saying that her parents would never have allowed her to go to chef school if it wasn’t for me being on MasterChef SA. I hadn’t truly grasped that level of perspective on just how much I could make an impact.” 

Whether you’re a hardcore fan or loose follower, it’s widely known that MasterChef SA has a reputation for amping up the pressure and demanding high quality work from both its contestants and judges. When the option arose, Kamini took time to recharge her socially introverted battery. “Doing the show is an incredibly hard experience,” she says. “You’re away from your friends, family and pets, so creating a safe space is absolutely vital,” she says. “The food world has been rife with mental health issues since before people started talking about it. The show is not like that at all,” she reveals. “Sure, the shoot schedule is intense, but no one is being physically or emotionally assaulted, like many in professional kitchens in the past.” Kamini found her own way to navigate this busy period: “Something that helped me was practicing yoga every day, and running when we had an off day.”  

She didn’t have to do it alone, though. With support from peers, and a group counsellor on hand, the opportunity also opens up for contestants to connect with their mentors. “To this day, judge Peter Goffe-Wood and I are kindred,” she muses. “He is a wealth of knowledge and a generally amazing human,” says Kamini. “I’ve heard that Chef Katlego Mlambo has now joined the MasterChef SA ranks [as a judge]. Kat is just the most incredible human alive. He’s proficient and precise as a chef, and oozes this energy both in the kitchen and outside of it. I can’t wait to see him in this role!” When asked to give advice for aspiring contestants, Kamini has this to say: “‘Nothing new on race day’ – whether it was on MasterChef SA or in life, you should’ve done the hardest practice already so that when you’re in the heat of the moment, it feels natural and easy.”  

With a cookbook in the works, TV producing and hosting under her belt, as well as a constant finger on the social-media pulse, Kamini is brimming with passion for her craft. Her next goal? “The world of Indian-inspired food that is healthy and promotes a positive mood is definitely something the world is ready for.” We couldn’t agree more! 

Follow Kamini

Instagram: @kaminipather
TikTok: @kaminipather


Words by: Geraldine Amoko, Sjaan Van Der Ploeg
Photographs: Supplied 

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