Maritsa and Maradine.

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Married couple Maritsa and Maradine from the City of Roses, Bloemfontein, set a new standard in My Kitchen Rules SA with Table two’s first Instant Restaurant on Sunday, July 8. They posted 70 points out of 100 – the best in the MKRSA season so far. If Table One’s results are anything to go by, this twosome will not easily be unseated at the top of the leader board.  

A recap of the format: Five teams from two tables each 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.  

Maritsa and Maradine, who hosted the pop-up eatery at their newly renovated home, say they love cooking – and it showed in the feast they dished up for the judges, David Higgs and J’Something, and their fellow competitors.

For starters, they served Blue Cheese Snails with home-baked ciabatta bread – their first attempt at the Italian favourite. Their ciabatta turned out crisp on the outside with a somewhat soft, porous texture, and light to the touch... success! Donald couldn’t stomach the thought of snails, which is no reflection on the quality of the dish, but a few others thought it needed more sauce and perhaps served with the bread on the side. Judge J’ Something complimented their perfectly poached snails but wished the dish had more colour and acidity.

On to the main dish: Three-way lamb with mint pea puree, maple-glazed carrots and crispy potatoes. Maritsa grew up eating lamb for breakfast, lunch and dinner, so she couldn’t go wrong. Working as the perfect team, Maritsa grilled the lamb to perfection while Maradine provided a dazzling presentation. Said Higgs, clearly impressed: “The rib was the highlight. Tender and perfectly glazed.” Judge J’ was even more complimentary, saying that the lamb was perfectly cooked – success three times over.

Amped and ready to end the night on a high, Maritsa and Maradine got cracking on the dessert – Dark chocolate domes with toffee sauce and salted-caramel popcorn. The rival teams were instantly impressed by the visual appeal. Maj and Joleen agreed that this was definitely a competition dish. “The best mousse I’ve tasted,” raved judge J’.

Next week (15 July) My Kitchen Rules SA will be on a scheduling break and replaced with a Carte Blanche Special: Mandela 100. On July 18th, Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela would have turned 100. This documentary, screened a few days before the centenary of his birth, will celebrate South Africa’s greatest icon. The documentary will trace the different stage of Mandela’s life and include interviews with some of the younger members of the Mandela family as well as other individuals who featured in his life, all weaved together with new insights and opinions.

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.