TV presenter, event planner and former ballet dancer Lorna Maseko has a deep love affair with food, which saw her hosting fancy invitation-only dinners across town for a while. So it is no surprise that food has merged with her SABC3 life (she’s a Top Billing presenter and in 2016 she hosted the first season of Top Chef South Africa) to bring us The Hostess with Lorna Maseko.
The 13-episode cooking and lifestyle reality series is meant to be a celebration of dining and creative entertaining. Try to imagine Bonang Matheba meets Denise Zimba – that’s Maseko’s persona on the show.
She creates bespoke culinary and experiential moments for a select few people, including celebrities such as Atandwa Kani, pop group De-Monique, entertainer Moshelle Obama and others, taking viewers behind the scenes with her as she brings guests their dream events.
In each episode, Maseko cooks while her assistant and co-presenter, Thabo Bluebird, scouts for venues and décor until she swoops in, moves a vase here and there, and voilà – you have your dream event created by your hostess! At the end of the show the amount spent on food, décor and the venue is revealed. It’s a decent concept, beautifully shot and edited by Greyscale Productions.
But Maseko needs to find her voice, hone her personality and watch out for those offensive lines. Then dinner will be perfect.
In a recent episode, she hosted a get-together for rapper Youngsta CPT and prepared delicious Cape Malay food – and then ruined it by throwing in a coloured accent, adding insult to injury by speaking as if she didn’t have front teeth. Her humour just isn’t smart. Preparing the pickled fish she quips, “Fry them until they’re golden brown. Almost like a yellowbone from the North West or Limpopo. Those are quite popular at the moment.”
Clears throat. Side-eyes the TV.
WATCH A PROMO FOR THE EPISODE HERE:
Maseko has the makings of the perfect hostess. She’s stylish, quite charming and chooses a great menu every episode (which is available on the show’s Facebook page with recipes and a video of Maseko talking you through the preparations).
But she needs to be more authentic and decide on her hostess character. Oh, and script her humour more carefully and tastefully. There are moments when the perfect hostess in her comes to life and her charismatic personality makes you want to forgive her for those cringeworthy moments. If the show gets a second season, I hope they work a little harder on Maseko’s character.
Watch The Hostess with Lorna Maseko every Tuesday at 20:30 on SABC3 (DStv channel 193)