My Kitchen Rules SA. Picture: Sean Brand

Imagine being rewarded with a whopping one-million rand for merely doing what you love? My Kitchen Rules does just that if you're into cooking and entertaining. 

Adapted from an international show format, it brings together some of Mzansi’s most creative foodies to showcase their passion for food while gunning for the grand prize.

We chatted with some of the contestants during their first official photo shoot and left expecting fireworks in those #MKRSA kitchens.

The first group brought their A game with their culinary skills, but the second group is ready to take the show to another level of amazing! Let's meet them:

Married couple: Jamandi and Machiel 

This pair share an amazing passion for traditional African food, especially braai (vleis) meat and pap. As for who is a better cook between them,  Machiel quickly says, “I make better pap”, to which Jamandi retorts “definitely not”.

"When we first met, she didn't know how to cook but now she cooks better than me," Machiel later concedes.

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The couple own a guesthouse in Bloemfontein and love to cook together, though the kids prefer "daddy’s food".

Celebrating their 10 year wedding anniversary later in the year, they would like a new experience to mark this special milestone.

Jamandi and Machiel. Pciture: Sean Brand

“We were thinking the whole time, what can we do? You know people go to Mauritius, Zanzibar...so one day the MKR ad promo popped up on facebook and we knew this is it, we even didn’t think twice, we knew we had to be part of this competition”.

Commenting on their biggest challenge this far, they said: "We are not used to this fine dining, it’s something new for us. We love African food (stews, braaivleis and pap). We I will definitely make pap in this competition... we still want to keep that African element with a twist.” 

How will they handle the pressure as a couple?
“The pressure is enormous because, when we cook at our house, I don’t have talk to talk to her the whole time but now you have talk to each other because it’s a reality show. You can’t just stand there and roer the pot. You must actually say, 'I’m roering the pot now' (he laughs)... you realise that it’s not only about cooking, it’s about can you handle the pressure as well."

If they won the competition, Jamandi and Machiel would pay off their debts and take a well deserved baecation.

Besties - Charnell and Kerry
When we first walked into the studio where the shoot was taking place, Kerry and Charnell were sitting quietly in their little corner.  

We later discovered that these BFFs are anything but shy and quiet. They are both mothers, creatives and they love hosting friends at their respective homes. Kerry is cheeky and funny. She revealed that MKR inspired her so much, she quit her job to “finally" pursue her goal. 

“I think the show sort of ignited the idea or gave me the courage to do what I have been contemplating and procrastinating for years and every year my husband and I have this conversation: 'when are you going to live your dream'.

"After this competition, we’re definitely pursuing the dream,” says Kerry.

The duo didn’t reveal details about the "dream", but it has everything to do with their mutual love of food.

Charnell and Kerry. Picture: Sean Brand

Charnell and Kerry want to host their own show some day… watch this space.
“I’d say it’s (the show) a Godsend because I believe there’s a reason for everything," said Charnell. "One day I was sitting and watching TV and MKR auditions came up and I immediately think Kerry, no one else but Kerry.”

Engaged couple- Andre and Brent 
"Hi, I’m Brent. They call me The Good Things Guy of SA." This is how Brent introduces himself. Clearly he isn't shy in coming forward.

Brent owns an online platform called goothingsguy.com where he “share good news with South Africa.”

He is also a radio host on Cliff Central.

“I’m a foodie, I love to eat and he (referring his fiance Andrew) loves to cook.

Andrew is a Marketing guru who loves comfort food.

“Food is really emotional part of our lives. Everyone’s got comfort food that they go to like when you’re down or had a long day or something and my comfort food is lasagna."

“We love to cook, we love to spend time in the kitchen together and this competition came up... we may hate cooking after this,” Andrew says, laughing. 

Their biggest challenge thus far, they reveal, has been the wait to have their go.

“I think the challenge for us is that we’re group two. We’ve had to watch group one on TV and they have set the bar pretty high. It’s up there and that’s intimidating,” says Andrew.

Brent and Andrew. Picture: Sean Brand

The couple has been together for nine years and said one of the reason for entering MKR was their thirst for some adventure.

“To be honest, we entered the competition because we both wanted an adventure with each other. We’ve been together for 9 years. This is another layer of our relationship. We always seek exciting ways to spend time with each other,” says Brent.

Winning a million should help with that.

“If we win, we will order million rands worth of take outs and never cook again,” laughs Andrew.

“Winning is really like a bonus. The biggest reason for us is to really have fun with each other, and anything else that comes with it is a cherry on top,” he adds.

Friends - Zama and Nicole
Nicole’s best friend, Mmabatho, is Zama's cousin. That’s how the pair met and they hit it off immediately. 

“We used to host friends and family every Thursday at her home, almost like bring and share, that’s where the cooking relationship sparked,” says Zama.

An entrepreneur (Zama) and politician (Nicole), this pair are excited to represent Kwa-Zulu Natal and they share they amazing plans for the prize money.
“We both love Durban, and being the only team from Durban is also a win for Durban," said Zama.

"We want to have a publication or something where we can travel around Africa for example and educate people about food and different cultures."

Zama and Nicole. Picture: Sean Brand

Nicole adds: "I think winning would be exciting. That’s kind of affirmation that other people think the same about your food”.

Nicole says that cooking is very therapeutic especially in her line of work. She serves as a local councilor for eThekwini.

“I’ve got a serious day-to-day life. When you get home, I relax a little. Give yourself an opportunity to do something different, that’s how my passion for cooking developed. I use cooking to unwind, it’s very therapeutic.”

Future in-laws OG and G (Oginga and Gomotsegang)

These two met two years ago when G moved to Cape Town to be with his fiance, OG’s cousin.

“We sort of gravitated to each other because of our shared passion for food,” says OG.

OG ang G. Piture: Sean Brand

The two brothers like to braai together during family gatherings.

Asked where the love for food comes from, OG said: "My mother was a great influence in terms of food. There was a certain time when I was vegetarian and she said: 'If you’re not going to eat my food, I’m not going to cook for you'. So that’s where I started picking up pots and pans, experimenting. So that’s where the love for food developed.”

G says he used to critique his mom’s cooking.

“With me, it’s a combination of things. My mom is still one of the best cooks I know. Growing up I used to be a loner. I would come back from school and play around with eggs and before I knew it, I was critiquing my mom’s food”.

This team says they are popping champers when they get crowned the winners of the first ever MKR SA.

“Not IF.. WHEN we win... we will pop ‘amabodlela’, pop champagne,” they both laugh.