A scene from episode one of My Kitchen Rules SA. Picture: Supplied

I love cooking shows. Of course, it has to be one that has a template that ensures it’s as entertaining as much as it is informative. 

My firm favourites remain: Come Dine With Me (the UK and local version), the MasterChef franchise (all of them including the Junior series), anything with Gordon Ramsay in it (don’t ask). 

I also enjoy watching celebrity chef offerings, especially in those travelogue shows á la Jenny Morris’s ones; whether she is cooking in Morocco or the Riviera. 

This brings us to M-Net’s latest undertaking, My Kitchen Rules SA, with J’Something and David Higgs, both restaurateurs and chefs – albeit with different approaches to food. 

The judges, along with some of the coupled contestants, arrived on Liz and Leanne’s doorstep. These best friends do everything together and even dress alike. 

That they are well-groomed, stunning, and immediately sparked a few catty responses. But, hey, it’s unfair to judge them by their stilettos and well-manicured nails. 

AKA: I’m tuned into the music, not the criticism

These girls cooked their hearts out. So hats off to them for giving it their all. 

A scene from episode one of My Kitchen Rules SA. Picture: Supplied

But let’s talk about the format for a bit. 

When you are seated around the table, food is a bonding experience. A chance for silly banter, for that one person in the group to make an offensive comment, and so on. Conversation flows as easily as the wine. 

What I found strange is that awkward wait for the judges to give feedback on the first dish. 

The silence was uncomfortable, but not as much as it was to watch the contestants nervously squirm while locked in a stare-down with the judges. 

Was this really necessary? Couldn’t they have all just eaten their food and, at the end, given a verdict? 

It’s unfair and unsettling to do so before the contestants could plate the next dish. 

Again, this is just my feeling. 

A scene from episode one of My Kitchen Rules SA. Picture: Supplied

The format comes across as a sort of cross between Come Dine With Me and MasterChef. 

While most of the guests were on their best behaviour, Bruce and Claudia are clearly going to be that couple. 

She played the role of armchair critic with masterful ease. Did anyone say villainess?

Kelly Khumalo is the 'Goddess of Light'

Let’s hope she can back up her comments when it’s their turn in the kitchen. 

There is no mistaking the competitive spirit of the contestants, but Rein and Rowan’s easygoing personality have already endeared them to viewers.

And I’m looking forward to their next episode. 

Hopefully, there will be more of a social atmosphere included amid the chaos in the kitchen, and funny moments coupled with those going-for-the-jugular comments. 

And, to the person, scripting the comments – ease up on the puns. It’s cheesy, man!

* My Kitchen Rules is screened on M-Net (DStv Channel 101) on Sundays at 6pm