21 May 2018
Kitchen kings and queens: MKR SA, S1, is now streaming
Winter has arrived like an icy evil queen, sending temperatures plummeting all across the land with a flick of her cold, mean wrist. So there’s an excuse to stay indoors, bingeing on all the entertainment that Showmax has to offer. But what happens when you’re hungry and need to fuel your body? Simple: you check out Season 1 of reality show My Kitchen Rules SA (2017-current). That’s 18 episodes filled with easy-to-follow recipes that got food-savvy judges like singer J’Something and restauranteur David Higgs hungry for more.
Season 2 launches on M-Net on Sunday, 3 June, so now’s the time to catch all the action from Season 1 on Showmax.
Best of all, the contestants are amateur chefs, so you’re in the exact same shoes at home – if the amateur chefs on My Kitchen Rules SA can do it, so can you.
“Simplicity is key,” explains David, who has been cooking for over 20 years. “Keep things simple and cook something that’s close to your heart [for the auditions]. Cook something that has a story.”
J’Something is no slouch either when it comes to slicing and dicing. While he’s best known as the frontman for local band Mi Casa, he’s been cooking up a storm for years, so he’s “been there, done that” when it comes to starting out in the kitchen. And listening to the judges is a must, especially during the auditions for the show. “Stick to the brief and you can’t go wrong,” explains J. “Make a cold dish that will blow us away.”
If you’re feeling a little intimidated by what you when you’re streaming episodes, don’t worry – not everyone has to look like Gordon Ramsay to get the dishes right. “We had contestants fumbling around the kitchen and looking like they were out of their depths, only to serve these huge flavours at crunch time,” says David. And some of those flavours will have you begging for more, like the two judges. “We literally eat entire meals – what you see is exactly what happens during filming,” adds David. “We do some tastings during filming, to give us an idea of where the contestants are going, but we have entire dishes by the end of the episode.”
But why should you be watching reality cooking shows like My Kitchen Rules SA? Besides the fact that competition is always fun and there are unexpected twists and turns around every corner, there’s the not-so-little matter of learning and improving your own kitchen skills. “We’ve seen complete amateurs using skills that belong in professional kitchens,” says David, with J’Something adding that “everyone’s palate is different and combinations that you wouldn’t think would work actually do work.”
The My Kitchen Rules contestants really are amateurs who’ve received no formal training – “It’s all about their passion and love for food,” explains David. “And accidents do happen. There was one where we just heard the call ‘Medic! We’ve got a bleeder!’ – someone had cut themselves with a brand-new razor-sharp knife.” It will also make you feel a little less stupid when something does go wrong in your own kitchen at home, laughs chef David. “We’ve had burnt dishes, dropped dishes… the usual things you’d find in any home kitchen, industrial kitchen, professional kitchen. It’s part of cooking. The only way to learn is to do.”
Don’t worry if you don’t have time to write down all the ingredients and cooking steps – Season 1’s menu can be found here, from savoury-and-sweet high tea to braai pizzas and lamb knuckle stew and everything in-between (there are full ingredient lists and preparation methods are included – and they’re super-easy to follow). And don’t be afraid to experiment – if you’re not a fan of salmon, you can switch it for another fish in the Salmon Herb Garden recipe. Not in the mood for a veggie burger? Throw on a beef patty or chicken breast and continue your shift behind the stove.
“Remember, you’re the chef – enjoy cooking and enjoy eating,” adds David.