The tables are laid for a delicious new season of My Kitchen Rules South Africa and everyone is invited round for a Sunday evening family dinner with the new cast and judges J’Something and David Higgs.
On the menu: Some fresh flavours as the production team leverages shooting with their cast in a production bubble to introduce new ingredients. The MKR team is levelling the playing field and challenging the cooks’ creativity in the Instant Restaurant phase.
Since they aren’t cooking at home, they’ll all start with the same blank canvas within the trendy new MKR space, and they’ll have to bring their creativity to making it over to reflect their menu, their personality and create the atmosphere they want from scratch.
We sent round one last little snacky plate of questions to the judges before the action begins...
J’Something & David: Kitchen blitz
What did you need to take into account when planning this season?
David: The main thing to take into account, as opposed to last season, is COVID-19. We have to be very careful with how we film, and be responsible as hosts of the show, to make sure no one gets sick.
J’Something: Before we started shooting, my preparation mainly lay in ensuring that I stayed healthy and strong to be able to go into this production bubble and film this show. Totally different from previous seasons. The rest for us, as judges/hosts, does not change. It's all about ensuring we judge the food the best we can and create a great ambience at the table to make everyone feel comfortable and enjoy the experience.
What happens with you when you’re watching the floor and the cooks hit the 3-minute mark?
David: I’m a naturally anxious person and so when I see people are in trouble, doing silly things, not using their common sense or just falling behind, I get very anxious, and I get a huge knot in my stomach for them. My natural instinct is to get involved and help. I’ve even had to stop myself a few times from giving advice – it’s a competition with R1 million at stake!
Have your own struggles and challenges inspired anything we’ll see this season?
David: We’ve just come through a pandemic where cooking featured in every household. So, we’re hoping the skills of the contestants are up this season, and that they’re more creative and take chances. If they back it up with flavour, we’re in for a treat. With everyone cooking at home, people are understanding food more and have gotten to know me better over Instagram. It’s nice to bring some of that comfort food into the restaurant and put a lot of classic stuff onto the menu which is going well.
J’Something: Well, what you are going to see is a group of South African home cooks who have had their own fair share of challenges and struggles. Relatable stories we all share amongst the table and even though it’s a competition, the moments around the table are everything. I don't think you will see it, but for me, my struggles and challenges have brought about a much more present state of being. I’m way more in the moment in this season and I feel great. Will you see that on camera? I’m not sure (laughs).
David, what was the practical impact of having to shut down your restaurants Saint and Marble again because of the adjusted COVID lockdown?
We work with a lot of meat that requires ageing, and so we have about two-months’ worth of meat on hand at any given time. So, shutdowns that are unplanned, or implemented without warning have massive implications. For the shorter lockdowns, we are able to look after our staff, but the longer lockdowns make it difficult because the onus always falls on us.
J Something, as a musician, entertainer and food guy, how has 2020/2021 challenged you?
From all aspects, of course! Not being able to be on stage still affects me. It's not an easy reality to face, not being able to do what you love, what you've been doing for the last 10 years. Food though, and entertainment through food, has been my biggest joy and saving grace. Through food I managed to keep my creativity going and create so many incredible moments with people. This chapter we’re ALL in has taught me so much. It has taught me to give myself attention and care. It's been a pivotal chapter in my life personally. I feel like I am in the best headspace I have ever been in. And it has challenged me but, hey, I’m always up for a challenge.
Watch My Kitchen Rules South Africa S3 Sundays on M-Net (DStv channel 101) at 18:00
My Kitchen Rules SA S3 kicked off with contestants all cooking and hosting their Instant Restaurants in the same location, a COVID-safe bubble in the Cradle of Humankind. Watch it on DStv.
One last quick round of questions with My Kitchen Rules judges J Something and David Higgs before the action begins this September on DStv
My Kitchen Rules South Africa returns to DStv for a brand-new season