Foodie entrepreneurs Izak and Wessel became the first duo from the Western Cape to win My Kitchen Rules SA, scooping the title and R1 million prize during the season 3 finale on M-Net (DStv Channel 101).
Having set the standard during the Table 2 Instant Restaurant phase, with the benefit of Izak’s work as a consultant in the food and wine industry and Wessel’s food science background, they duly saw off Alberton Moms Karen and Tenille and Globetrotting Besties Retha and Tshepi with a main of Asian beef short rib and a dessert christened Eastern Mess, earning a total of 80/100, eclipsing Karen and Tenille’s 70 and Retha and Tshepi’s 61.
The contestants had two and a half hours to cook each dish and had to include four original elements – made from scratch – in each. The two dishes were tasted and scored blind by a panel of guest foodie experts comprising celebrated cook, food writer, and TV host Sarah Graham; passionate marketer-turned-chef, Marcus Modimokwane; cooking show host and cookbook author Siphokazi Mdlankomo; chef, food writer, and restaurateur Karen Dudley; "The Lazy Makoti" Chef Mogau Seshoene, and MKRSA alumnus Pashi Reddy, alongside regular judges David Higgs and J’Something. The six guest judges each scored the combination of the two courses out of 10, while David and J’Something scored the dishes out of 20, to total 100.
Despite only having to include four original elements on each dish, Izak and Wessel were seemingly setting themselves up for failure by cooking up nearly twice as many for both mains and dessert. Their Asian beef short rib dish also included polenta with shiitake mushrooms and a mushroom and naartjie jus, while their Eastern Mess comprised raspberry meringue, raspberry sorbet, vanilla sponge, raspberry curd, and rosewater cream.
Sarah was impressed by their attention to detail in the main, while Marcus declared it "beautifully cooked". Siphokazi felt that the short rib could have been cooked longer, but the other judges with thinner pieces felt theirs were cooked perfectly.
Karen said of their dessert: “The sorbet is just heavenly, so fresh and so true to what you’d expect it to be,” and Pashi felt that the torch-toasting of the meringue showed how much thought they’d put into the dish.
Karen and Tenille presented a main of duck and corn, comprising duck breast, sweetcorn purée, fried corn, jus, pickled baby beets and roasted baby leeks, and a dessert christened Field of Strawberries: strawberry sorbet, vanilla pistachio sponge, strawberry logs, meringue shards, and a strawberry coulis – a dish coincidentally not entirely different in concept to Izak and Wessel’s. Retha & Tshepi delivered a punchy main of beef bulgogi with an Asian slaw and pickled cucumber and dessert of ginger-glazed doughnuts with a lemon mascarpone cream, dehydrated pineapple, and coral tuile.
After J’Something flung up his arms and declared Izak and Wessel the winners, Izak said he was in disbelief and wasn’t sure how they’d made it to that point. “I think we did an amazing job and I’m super proud of what we did,” said Wessel.
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