CONGRATULATIONS to My Kitchen Rules SA Season 4 winners, besties Abraham and Michelle!!
I chatted to the thrilled winners earlier and asked them if they felt quite as relaxed as they’d seemed during the high-pressure, 3-course meal prep final. They really did even though right at the start, Michelle looked ready to run for the nearby hills!
Abraham explained that truthfully, it had been so freezing cold he’d had to pour hot water over his hands so that he could use them! He goes on to say that his stance and demeanor going into the finale was very deliberate: shoulders back, standing tall and showing a determination to ‘take no prisoners’. Although they’d made good friends during the show, it was, after all, a competition, and he and Michelle were here to win it!
Michelle’s response to my comment was to agree with Abraham: yes, it was freezing cold, but she was also quite ready to run away, and basically she just wanted to cry!
The three teams of finalists were asked to produce a three-course meal that best displayed their strengths while honouring their culture and heritage. These would then be judged by MKRSA judges David Higgs and J’Something, along with renowned SA kitchen superstars Siba Mtongana, Zola Nene, Wandile Mabaso and Kayla-Ann Osborn. The judges would then each give a score out of 10 for the overall menu, based on presentation, creativity and flavour.
Abraham & Michelle’s winning menu was made up of a Curried Sweet Potato Stack, Leg of Lamb with Corn and ‘Brandy & Coke’ dessert.
The starter may not have appeared to be all that salubrious. Both of them knew immediately that the plating lacked finesse. However, although this was pointed out, the positive comments about the taste and flavour seemed to outweigh what the dish looked like. I wondered if the teams were aware of their opponents’ work while they were preparing their own, but Abraham quickly assured me that when our under such time pressure, you have ‘tunnel vision’. “You just want to execute your dish as quickly and deliciously as possible. You’re so focused on what you’re doing that you have no idea what anyone else is doing or what their dishes look like.”
When it came to the mains, I remarked that they’d come across as incredibly laid back, with Michelle mentioning just once that she felt stressed about time, and even J’Something commenting about how late they were leaving it to put their lamb in the oven. But everything seemed to fall into place so smoothly and seamlessly. They agreed that things had run well for them, with Abraham adding that it all amounted to ‘a very fine balance’, that worked in their favour.
But it was most certainly their dessert that worked in Abraham and Michelle’s favour! A clever take on brandy and coke that (to me) seemed to involve a number of complex elements, that combined to give the illusion of simplicity. I asked how many times they’d practiced this in order to get it to this level of excellence? I was surprised to hear that the idea had actually only come together one day while walking around the shops shortly before the finale! What a stroke of inspired genius it was! This was the clincher for sure!
The score announcements were tense – I can’t even imagine how everyone must have been feeling! In fact, I couldn’t even keep up with the totals, so when Abraham and Michelle were announced as the winners – by just 3 points – the excitement was overwhelming!
So what’s next for our deserving winners? Abraham and Michelle have loads of plans they’d love to start working on: definitely a recipe book, probably with an al fresco theme (and I’ve reminded them that obviously they’d need to release it during the ‘Merry Month of May’!); Abraham would also love to include a section on table decor, helping people with ideas for how to set their tables, which Michelle says is something he thoroughly enjoys; they’d love to do a cooking show too! Both of them have agreed that they’d like to spend some of their winnings on a foodie trip, probably to France where they can do some food courses.
But first and foremost … a well-deserved break!
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