In 2017, a group of daring filmmakers decided that they wanted to tell a different Zimbabwean story.

We wanted to tell our own story. We wanted to tell an African story which was NOT about famine or warlords or wildlife or suffering. We wanted to tell a story about Love, about Family, about the joy we all get from Reality Cooking Shows.

In spite of the severe challenges facing the country then *and* since, and in spite of our extremely limited resources, we believed that with our talent, skills and passion for filmmaking, we could tell the world a refreshing new story from our beloved Zimbabwe.

And so the delicious underdog tale that is now Cook Off started to form, combining the talents of dozens of Zimbabweans both in front and behind the camera – many of whom had met on the real-life version of the popular show Battle of the Chefs, which is featured in the film.

Little did we know that the ‘Making Of’ Cook Off would become an amazing underdog story in its own right…

The Making of Cook Off…. on the BBC

Our director Tomas Brickhill was recently interviewed about the making of Cook Off by Kim Chakanetsa for BBC News Africa.

The Making of Cook Off… on Run-Riot UK

The Cook Off family have come on a very long journey since writer/director Tomas Lutuli Brickhill and producer Joe Njagu shook hands in a cold carpark, counted out some cash, and agreed to make a movie.

Read about it here on UK based – a story they like to call The Handshake.

Meet the crew

Film is always a collaborative undertaking. And even more so when you have very limited resources.

Cook Off was very lucky to have a fantastic crew to help pull the film together – you can meet some of them here (there are more pics coming)!

Writer/Director Tomas Lutuli Brickhill:
Tomas is the director of the real-life Battle of the Chefs television show that provided the inspiration for the film. Cook Off is his debut feature film. He also performs with his mbira punk band, Chikwata.263 on the soundtrack.

Producer Joe Njagu:
Joe Njagu is a director in his own right – credits include The Gentleman, Tete B and the popular 2010 film Lobola. Joe brought his wide-ranging experience of the complexities of making films in Zimbabwe to the producer role for Cook Off.

Cinematographer Sebastien Lallemand:
A product of AFDA in Cape Town, Sebastien worked on the popular Ultimate Braaimaster in South Africa before returning to Zimbabwe to take on Director of Photography duties for Battle of the Chefs. Cook Off is his first feature in the role of cinematographer.

Costume Designer Maureen Makonese

Make Up Kuda Gopo

Assistant Director Kudzai King

Camera Assistant Dennis Madyira

Catering Philip Marumha

1st AD and Continuity Wilson Biswell

Food Designer Steve Hyde

Art Director Josh Changa

Sound dept – Assistant Anyway Yotamu & Recordist Brendon Lake

Camera Assistant/Grip John Wilson

Gaffer William Culverwell

Art Dept Assistant Biswell Jnr


With a very limited production budget, this film could not have been made without the substantial efforts made by our co-producers and other supporters. They include:

  • Media Matrix (MMX), Zimbabwe
  • Area46 Productions, Zimbabwe
  • Eddie Ndhlovu, Zimbabwe
  • Zoe Flood, UK/Kenya
  • Quite Bright Films (QBF), Kenya