Netflix sets premiere date for Zimbabwean film 'Cook Off'

Updated: Jun 1, 2020

Tendai Chitima plays Anesu an aspiring chef

Global streaming service Netflix has announced a date for Zimbabwean film 'Cook Off'.

Starring a diverse cast of Zimbabwean actors, including Tendaiishe Chitima, Tendai Nguni, Anne Nhira and Jesesi Mungoshi, 'the food-centric' rom-com will premiere on 1 June.

Made in 2017 on a shoe-string budget, Cook Off was written and directed by Tomas Brickhill, and produced by Joe Njagu. It is the first independent Zimbabwean film to be commissioned by Netflix.

Cook Off tells the story of Anesu (played by Tendai), a struggling single mother from a township in Harare with a passion for cooking. After landing a spot on Zimbabwe's top reality cooking show, Battle of the Chefs, she finds herself not only battling against professional chefs but with her own identity.

Speaking about the role Tendai said: “Landing the role in Cook Off meant a great deal. It was such a significant opportunity to lead in my first feature film."

Tendai, who had never done a project in Zimbabwe, said the experience was both thrilling and rewarding.

“Acting in Zimbabwe was remarkable. It was my first time doing an acting project in Zimbabwe and being in my home country just made the experience memorable."

She said that Cook Off making its way onto Netflix is a testament to the teams hard work and has proved that the film industry in Zimbabwe is growing and has a bright future.

“Working with such a talented cast and crew was incredible. There are so many Zimbabwean actors who have been in the industry for so long and many who are starting out. Collaborating with, as well as learning from them was truly a highlight.”

“This role has been such a blessing and has taught me to be proactive and to never look down on any opportunity.

"The risk paid off and is a huge validation of my dreams and what I want to become in the future. There are still so many other things I want to accomplish and this is just the beginning,” she added.

Since its international premiere at the prestigious Rotterdam International Film Festival (IFFR) in 2018, Cook Off has been screened at over fifteen film festivals worldwide and won several awards.