My Kitchen Rules SA.

Delightful dessert keeps Donald and Luyanda’s hopes alive in My Kitchen Rules SA.

Married couple Maritsa and Maradine from Bloemfontein still top the leader board for Table 2 in My Kitchen Rules South Africa and are therefore assured of a place in the competition’s next phase. Trailing them by 15 points after hosting the second Instant Restaurant in round 2, are millennial food buddies Donald and Luyanda, for whom all is not lost; fortunes can change very quickly in this competition, and they have learnt valuable lessons from their experience.

Their effort to win accolades from the guests at their table – their fellow contestants and two very discerning celebrity judges, J’Something and David Higgs – with an urban feast infused with flavours inspired by their travels abroad, was hamstrung by a lack of communication, which restricted their score to 55 out of 100.  

To recap the format: Five teams from two tables get a chance to show off their skills, and the one with the lowest score from each group is eliminated at the end of the round, while the others move on to the show’s Headquarters, where they face a variety of challenges.

For starters, Donald and Luyanda served salmon in carrot and ginger broth – inspired by Luyanda’s travels to Thailand. The dish was beautifully presented, but the pair nevertheless seemed uncertain when the judges asked them whether they were satisfied. The guests weren’t exactly blown away, complaining that it came across as a soup rather than a broth. The salmon was said to be overcooked and under-seasoned. 

Unfortunately, the feedback appeared to sow division between the twosome, and they couldn’t agree on the preparation of their main course, roast chicken with sherry gravy, honey-roasted vegetables and fondant potatoes. Upon seeing the menu, the judges agreed that it was a surprising choice for this stage of the competition. Joleen thought it might be too simple to compensate for the underwhelming starter, and that is the way it turned out to be, even though it was attractively plated.

Their dessert was a clear winner: a vanilla gelato – a first for them – to go with pear-and-almond cake. Judge J’Something summed up the overall view: “Packed with flavour. I loved every single element. You ended the night on a high!”

Strategy is almost as important as cooking skills and presentation. Maritsa and Maradine can now afford to be generous in their assessment of their rivals’ effort, while teams struggling for survival can be expected to keep their own positions in mind before they voice an opinion.

My Kitchen Rules SA is broadcast on M-Net channel 101 every Sunday night at 18:00. Viewers can also visit www.mnet.tv/mkr to watch exclusive interviews with the judges and contestants, and follow all the breaking news and conversations around the show on Twitter @MNet / #MKRSA or on the official M-Net Facebook page.