Jamandi and Machiel Bekker, a husband and wife team from Bloemfontein, have won Season 1 of M-Net’s hit cooking competition My Kitchen Rules South Africa.
Jamandi and Machiel took the title of South Africa’s best home cooks and a whopping R1 Million cash prize after narrowly beating best friends Charnell and Kerry from Johannesburg’s Weltevreden Park in the spectacular season finale, in which both teams were tasked to create a gourmet five-course meal.
Judging and scoring each dish were the show’s resident judges David Higgs and J’Something, as well as a panel of guest experts including South Africa’s first Michelin Star chef Jan Hendrik, who flew all the way from Nice, France to judge in tonight’s finale. Alongside Jan Hendrik were Chef Margot Janse, whose stint at Le Quartier Francais in Franschhoek earned the restaurant eighth place in the World’s Top 50 Restaurants, legendary-master of Cape Malay cuisine Cass Abrahams and food enthusiast and straight-talking Carte Blancheinvestigative journalist Devi Sankaree Govender.
Each team was required to create an amuse-bouche, a soup, a fish dish, a main meal and a dessert. Moreover, they had to prepare 20 plates of each course, because all 16 of their fellow competitors returned to the MKR Kitchen HQ for this special episode!
Charnell and Kerry’s offering included some signature South African flavours throughout their five courses. The friends put forward an amuse-bouche of roasted tomato and goats cheese with basil cream; a spicy pumpkin and coconut soup; pickled fish with a spicy cucumber salad and an Eastern Cape style “Hong Kong” chicken with corn puree.
For dessert, they presented traditional Cape Malay koesisters with sweetened cream, naartjie coulis and an almond crumb – a dish which was so well executed that it brought judge Cass Abrahams to tears, and had Chef Jan Hendrik so inspired that he wanted to take it back to his restaurant in Europe with him.
Jamandi and Machiel kicked off their five courses with a blue cheese and fig tart, followed by a roasted cauliflower and coconut soup with maple and whisky glazed bacon and salmon in a herb garden with avocado and coconut sauce, which garnered rave reviews from the guest judges, especially Chef Jan Hendrik. They followed this with a pork belly donburi main with jasmine rice and, for dessert, a champagne jelly with a peach salad, which also wowed the panel. Judge J’Something described their dessert as “summer on a plate and an absolute delight.”
Despite Charnell and Kerry’s impressive dessert offering, Jamandi and Machiel’s collective scores across their five courses narrowly beat theirs. In the end, the witty husband and wife team scored a total of 46 out of 60 points, beating Charnell and Kerry by a mere three points to clinch the winning title.
“This whole show has changed our lives,” an emotional Machiel revealed. The series finale also happened to fall on the couple’s tenth wedding anniversary, making the victory even sweeter. “I never knew how much Machiel actually loved me until our My Kitchen Rulesjourney,” Jamandi admitted. “I’m so excited to win My Kitchen Rules, but the thing that excites me even more is our marriage.”
Auditions for Season 2 of My Kitchen Rules SA will be held early in 2018 and fans can visit www.mnet.tv/mkrsa for all audition information and breaking news about Season 2.