Meet Group 1 of My Kitchen Rules SA.

My Kitchen Rules SA is back for a third season – and with that, comes a host of exciting, wonderful, outspoken, talented and tenacious home cooks. The first table of five teams will battle it out over the next five weeks in the Instant Restaurant phase of the competition, in the hope of impressing judges David Higgs and J’Something enough to make it through to the end and walk off with a cool R1 million!

Here are the first five teams of culinary hopefuls who’ll be taking up the Season 3 baton:

MKRSA S3 Table 1a

Palesa M (34) & Palesa N (31) | Besties from Johannesburg

Friends for 5 years, Palesa M is a Group Executive Officer for a media agency, a UN Ambassador and founder of an NPO dedicated to empowering youth. Palesa N is a Digital Designer – and both recently started their own fashion lines.

Palesa N’s parents have run a restaurant from home for the last 25 years, which is where she fell in love with cooking. Palesa M’s inspiration comes from her Grandmother, who introduced her to the kitchen at a tender age and taught her plenty of different techniques. While Palesa M’s food style is adventurous, creative and intuitive, her bestie Palesa N says hers is ‘very old school, with a modern influence’.

“We are compatible in terms of our food preferences and share the work evenly – and we are always happy to help each other,” says Palesa N. “We entered MKRSA because it was a great platform for Palesa and I to do what we love the most – which is to cook. And the cherry on top is that we do it together!” says Palesa M.

Brett (50) & Aidan (25) | Dad & Son Buddies from Fourways

Father & Son events company owners Aidan and Brett are inseparable: working, playing and cooking together.

“He’s my best friend – I was a single Dad and the twins have always been with me. We have travelled the world playing golf and all 3 of my kids mean absolutely everything to me,” says Brett.

Brett and Aidan have been working together for many years and even purchased an Events company before COVID. They don’t go a single day without seeing or talking to each other.

Brett has been cooking since the age of 6. “I experimented with loads of food as a kid. I then ran the Air Force kitchen, which taught me loads. After my golfing career, I opened two restaurants and learnt through trial and error – my chefs also taught me loads,” he says. As for Aidan, “I love pap and Brisket sold on the side of the road. R30 and you get some sauce and a bean salad with it. I get it so often that I have an account with the guy by my work,” he says.

Karen (34) & Tenille (39) | Alberton Moms

Chatty, wholesome besties Karen and Tenille met through their husbands, who went to school together – and they’ve been inseparable for 16 years. Karen is a full-time Mom with plenty of side hustles and Tenille is an Optometrist.

“When life throws me lemons, I pour the tequila,” says Tenille of her positive outlook on life. What about her partner? “What’s not to love – she has a heart of gold and her nervous giggle is contagious”. The feeling is mutual: “we work well together and fill out each other’s blanks,” says Karen. “We taste and encourage each other and help with whatever the other one needs. Tenille is an extremely positive person and will always find the good in any situation. She has taught me to take any situation and learn from it – and make it positive”.

They enjoy mixing Asian flavours with traditional fare but prefer sticking to their roots. Karen’s favourite ingredient is “butter, butter and butter!”. She says she loves mixing meat with Asian staples like soya, sesame oil, chilli – and more butter.

Retha (30) & Tshepi (29) | Globetrotters from Johannesburg

Sassy, energetic, socially conscious and smart – friends Retha and Tshepi hail from Oaklands and Craighall, respectively. Tshepi is the planner and thinker while Retha hates losing.

“I taught myself how to cook, learning recipes, especially when it comes to healthy food, is important to me,” says Retha. “Healthy food can be flavourful, but from there I was always curious about how far I could take my cooking. Acts of kindness are my love language, so wanting to cook for others fuelled my interest in learning and growing my cooking skills”.

Tshepi learnt how to bake from her best friend and loves learning new things from her sister when she can.

“I enjoy exploring international recipes, specifically Mediterranean foods and Asian recipes. I use lots of vegetables: baby spinach, tenderstem broccoli, asparagus, mange tout, carrots, sweet potato and cauliflower,” she says.

Nevi (48) & Craig (49) | Wife & Husband from Bedfordview

Nevi and Craig met in a coffee shop 20 years ago – and have been married for the last 12 years. He’s the Director of a hospitality company and she owns an events company. While Nevi thrives under pressure, that’s when Craig gets flustered – but they still love hosting celebrations of every kind, with food normally at the centre.

“Craig and I find reasons to bring people and food together. Our kitchen is the life and soul of our home. Everyone seems to gather there, whilst meals are being cooked and desserts prepared – or dishes washed,” says Nevi. “Over the years, we have received countless compliments relating to our perceived talent, entertaining visits and our food creations. A few people have suggested that we enter MKR and the current timing was perfect”. “For us, there is always room for two in the kitchen – in fact, we renovated our kitchen to make this a reality. We’ve always been a team in the kitchen.”

Their food dream is to travel and experience the major food capitals of the world.

“The first thing we do when settling in a foreign country is experience the culture and food,” says Nevi. “We want to engage and be involved with restaurants and eateries abroad and possibly start a blog of our encounters and experiences”.

My Kitchen Rules SA will be available on DStv Premium on M-Net (Channel 101) from Sunday, 19 September at 6pm as well as live streamed on the DStv App, and on DStv Catch up through the DStv App or DStv Explora. Visit the M-Net Website for exclusive show content and join the conversation on Twitter (@MNet), Instagram (@mnettv), and Facebook (@MNet) using #MKRSA and #mnet101.