Cape Town - In the second semi-final of My Kitchen Rules SA, husband and wife Jamandi and Machiel cooked off against mother-daughter duo Louzel and Lani.
The fan favourites from Cradock were eliminated after their dishes failed to impress the judges.
Lani and Louzel wanted to celebrate being South African in their three-course offering, and put together a menu packed with uniquely South African ingredients and flavours.
For starters, they created Bobotie spring rolls with a mango and coriander chutney and fresh coconut, followed by a “Celebration of Lamb” consisting of pulled lamb and a lamb rack for mains, served with pumpkin two ways and a cucumber and mint pickle. For their dessert they opted for a brandy snap, ginger biscuit, vanilla ice cream and figs two ways, and for many of the judges, their sweet creation was the dish of the day.
It was a nail-biting and totally unpredictable ending, as both teams excelled and also faltered at times. In the end, Jamandi and Machiel narrowly beat Lani and Louzel by a mere two-point margin, as the judges awarded them an overall score of 46 out of 60 points.
We chatted to Louzel about their experience, their plans and whether she was too hard on her mom.
Louzel, after watching the show do you agree that you were a bit stern with your mom?
(Laughs) No man! I think everyone in my family is so loud and passionate and 'out there' that when you first meet us, we can seem that way. Mom and I have a very good relationship not only in a mother-daughter way, but also in terms of sincere friendship. If anything, I felt so honoured and privileged watching the show and seeing how lucky I am to have such an incredible mom and cooking partner.
How did your relationship strengthen during this experience?
We had a very strong relationship going into this - and I think that is the thing that got us as far as we went. Any time we get to spend together, however, is an opportunity to strengthen our relationship. Through MKRSA again, yes, I got to learn so much from mom. That's in terms of food, but also so much more. We got to be flatmates for the time we spent in Joburg and it was awesome - she's a great flatmate!
Who did you watch the episode with last night?
I watched it at home in Cape Town on the couch with my hubby, Louis, the cat Felix (although he couldn't care less), and our brand-new Scottie puppy, Benji. I missed mom, but I know she was also in her happy place on the farm with dad. They watched it together in the living room too, lekker on their own on the farm.
Was there anything you feel you could've done differently in the semi-final?
Yes! I could have kept that lamb in the oven for five minutes more. I think that would have made all the difference. And mom says she would have given those Bobotie Springrolls a bit more punch. But having said that, we had such a blast during the cook and we have no regrets looking back.
Your family recipes have been in your family for years – how did you change them to keep them fresh and relevant?
We've learnt so much about our family's food heritage throughout this journey and one thing that kept surprising us was how much the food trends were regenerating. The recipes Mom and I would sit and construct always paid homage to the recipes of old, the handwritten ones by my Oumas en Oupas. But then we'd come across recipes in the archives that were so new, so fresh - yet so, so old! The only major thing that has changed is the plating. But the flavours and the combinations are always familiar. We like to use the saying, "If it's true, it's not new" for the type of food we like to make. And we like to make 'true' food more than anything else.
What was the one thing that surprised you most about the competition?
Our eyes really opened to the major operation behind the scenes. Wow, it's a whole different world. And the crew members are incredible people. We loved the vibe and energy and it's something we'd like to embrace going forward! Watch this space.
What are David and J’Something really like?
We love Dave and J, and we really think they like us too. On that first night at Liz an Leanne's place in Bloem - they seemed to be just as nervous as us! And that immediately gave us some common ground. They're solid people with real food stories and a love for the power food has to bring people together - they both celebrate that in their businesses too. J always loved the relationship between me and my mother, saying it reminded him of his own mom. That's really beautiful to us. And Dave - or Dawie as he introduced himself to my dad - is just a bloke from Namibia who loves food of origin and food with meaning. He gets angry if you mess with the beauty of food, we like that. We also get angry at that. And then he owns the best fine dining restaurant in Africa. We have so much respect for the both of them.
What are your plans now that the show's over?
We have so many plans! Mom and I are already doing Farm 2 Table food workshops on the farm in Cradock. It's so special. We're basically inviting people into our lives and home and sharing the incredible food heritage (and farming culture) we were so privileged to grow up with. The first one we hosted a few weeks ago was an incredible success, and we've already set dates for the next experience coming up in March 2018. Then, Mom has her incredible shop in Cradock, True Living, where she celebrates everything that's true to the Karoo community - food, mohair etc. She has major plans to expand the business into becoming a Karoo destination and marketplace in 2018. It will be like an Oasis in the most arid part of SA, and people will come from all over to get a taste of that Karoo realness. Watch this space. Mom and I are also already working on a book about our family and food heritage. It won't be a recipe book per se, but rather food and family stories (you can see some family stories on our Facebook page). Further, I'm completely hooked on television and I'd love to do more of it going forward. Our dream is to celebrate the farming culture in South Africa, and to show the world the incredible food culture we get to experience every day.
Tune in for the finale on Sunday, 10 December at 18:00 on M-Net (DStv 101).
(Photos supplied: M-Net)