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Chef accuses M-Net of plagiarism

Nompumelelo Mqwebu. / Supplied
Nompumelelo Mqwebu. / Supplied

Things are heating up in the kitchen of a popular TV cooking show as two amateur chefs are accused of using top chef Nompumelelo Mqwebu's recipes without her permission.

The show, My kitchen rules South Africa which is broadcast on M-Net features amateur food enthusiasts who cook to compete for a cash prize.

Mqwebu, an award-winning chef, who self published her book 'Through the eyes of an African chef' told Sowetan she was alerted by her fans after two of her recipes from her book were prepared on the show last year.

She said the recipes from the cookbook used without her permission were the amadumbe gnocchi and isijingi dessert which she had demonstrated to the two contestants.

"It's a level of disrespect for me as a professional chef, a business woman, and author," an angry Mqwebu said.

MultiChoice spokesperson Benedict Maaga said the two contestants created their own version of amadumbe gnocchi after being inspired by Mqwebu's demonstration.

"The particular episode focused on African cuisine and the contestants were required to prepare a dish inspired by African cuisine.

"The contestants prepared their own version of amadumbe gnocchi although inspired by the concept of an amadumbe gnocchi that Ms Qwebu had presented," Maaga said.

Mqwebu told Sowetan she was approached in February last year by the production team of the show to bring two people for a demonstration she would hold. Among the dishes that were demonstrated included the amadumbe gnocchi' and isijingi dessert.

She later found out that the two people who came to her demonstration were Minnie and Tee who used the recipes without her consent.

Her recipe of amadumbe gnocchi, made out of a traditional root predominantly found in KwaZulu-Natal, was presented on the show and inspired renowned chef and judge David Higgs to create his own version of the dish.

Higgs' publicist Joanne Botha said he has been careful to ensure he gives credit to people who inspire his recipes.

In his book, Mile 8, Higgs credits the contestants Minnie and Tee for the recipe.

Mqwebu was recognised as the world's best self-published cookbook at the 2018 Gourmand World Cookbook Awards as well as best regional self-published and best first book.

"So to then be insulted by M-Net in this way really shows arrogant bully tactics.

"It's like they are so positive they will get away with it like they're used to doing it," Mqwebu said.

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