Two of the judges who grilled and guided the passionate home cooks in the previous season of MasterChef South Africa will return for the fresh fifth local rendition of the world’s most successful television culinary competition. However, this time, they will bring their expertise to a much larger audience, as MasterChef South Africa Season 5 will be served up on free-to-air television in its new home on SABC 3.

After lifting the lid on culinary queen Zola Nene reprising her MasterChef judging role, the SABC 3 and the show producers have confirmed now that foodie dynamo Justine Drake will also be on judges’ duty.

Justine’s resumé reads like a winning recipe packed with various top-grade ingredients.

With more than 30 years of experience in the food and media industry, she has been the food editor or columnist of a buffet of print and online publications – from Fair Lady to Men’s Health. At the same time, Justine penned down several cookbooks, starting with The Busy Cook’s Cookbook at the age of 23.

This busy cook has also whipped up a popular YouTube channel, often talks about cuisine trends on the radio airwaves, and has hosted numerous television shows – amongst others, the BBC series Just in Africa, which showcased Mzansi’s rich culinary heritage, and her own creation, Just Cooking, in which she inspired audiences to jazz up everyday go-to meals.

“The role of MasterChef judge fits Justine, an esteemed foodie, like a stylish kitchen glove,” says Andrew Mills, Chief Marketing Officer at Pick n Pay, who is sponsoring MasterChef South Africa again this year. “For many years, she has helped our customers serve up delicious dishes through the Fresh Living publication and, as a judge last year, demonstrated an authentic connection with people from diverse backgrounds and different food cultures. She is also a hard taskmaster who always strives for excellence.”

Justine, for whom “mediocrity” is indeed a gastronomical sin, can’t wait to meet the new crop of passionate and dynamic MasterChef South Africacontestants, who will showcase their originality and flair with different food flavours by using items from the Pick n Pay pantry.

“The aim of the show is to allow home cooks to achieve their MasterChef status. However, it doesn’t arrive on a silver platter. The participants are put to the test in gruelling challenges, and to reach the top of the culinary ladder, they have to be disciplined and willing to learn,” Justine says.

That’s why she encourages all home cooks who don’t just love cooking but who can’t imagine a life without cooking to enter this upcoming season of MasterChef South Africa. “If you have a culinary vision and are ready to work hard to achieve your culinary dream, the world is your oyster with this show.”

Entries are now open and The MasterChef South Africa Season 5 winner will be able to boost their foodie future with a cash prize of R 1 million.

If you want to enter MasterChef South Africa, you’ll find the application form at The closing date for entries is 15 March 2024 at 23:59.

MasterChef South Africa will be broadcast on SABC 3 from mid-June. The show is produced by the multiple award-winning production company Homebrew Films in collaboration with Primedia Studios, with Pick n Pay as the headline sponsor.

The third MasterChef South Africa judge will be announced in due course.