Couple win ‘Taste Kitchen
THE winners of the first season of KFC’s cooking reality show were Nosizwe Mji and Ali Majija, who walked away with R1 million. For 13 weeks, we saw the duo, who entered the competition together, tackle various challenges and showcase their culinary skills, until they were named winners of the KFC Taste Kitchen finale last Friday. The Sunday Independent interviewed the couple about their relationship with food, what their favourite South African dish was and how they managed to keep their cool working together.
What is your favourite traditional dish?
Nosizwe: Uphuthu nomfino or ubhontshisi with ujeqe (pap and spinach or beans and dumpling). Ali: Inyama (meat), especially when it is thrown straight on a burning log.
How is your relationship with food generally?
Nosizwe: I think eating is such a personal journey, especially for a woman. Your relationship with food is like any other relationship, a mirror to what’s going on with you. I am happy to say that currently I have a good relationship with food. By that I mean it’s balancing itself out and more and more I eat for nourishment and less for comfort and other emotional reasons.
What is the best dish that you can whip up?
Ali: I don’t have a best dish, as I am always working on reinventing ones that I have come across. The last dish that I was pretty impressed by was my steamed bread bunny chow, made with green split-pea curry.
What made you enter the competition?
Nosizwe: My partner, Ali, was so sure he wanted to enter. I was a little apprehensive, but he managed to convince me. I was swayed, because it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I had to grab it. The fact that this was KFC’s first cooking show made it even more exciting and I wanted to be a part of that.
Do you have an eating plan that keeps your body looking good?
Ali: I eat anything that I like. Eating is a happy festivity for me and my body responds well to that. I also have a very active lifestyle.
If you hosted a dinner party,who would be your top three guests and why?
Nosizwe: 1) Serena Williams – I am in awe of her and her sister’s accomplishments. I played tennis growing up and every time I see her play, it takes me back (I was never as good, of course). Her power and fearlessness are inspiring! I remember when they first played at Wimbledon, these young black girls came out with hair covered in beads ... power!
2) My mom, because she wouldn’t be happy if I had Serena over and didn’t invite her! My mom is my rock and number-one supporter, from driving us to and fro as kids, to telling me about KFC Taste Kitchen, she has been there supporting me. I don’t have a TV and so I would have missed the adverts announcing auditions had it not been for her.
3) Caster Semenya. She went through a lot and came out on top. She runs her own race.
What is your daily must-have food item?
Ali: Food must enter my mouth and be swallowed, that’s my only requirement.
When you get a plate of food, what is the first thing that attracts you? Is it the colour, the presentation or the contents of the plate?
Nosizwe: The contents, I love to see variety.
What are your plans for your cooking career?
Ali: To cook and create as much as I can. To learn more about food.
What did you like most about being on the show?
Nosizwe: Making new friends among the contestants and production crew. They are a really great group of people. I also loved getting to know myself and my partner better. It was such a huge learning curve! We thank KFC for such a great opportunity!
Ali: Firstly, I am really grateful to KFC for the experience. The competition opened doors. I value the people I met and … there were also lessons of patience.
KFC Taste Kitchen winners Nosizwe Mji and Ali Majija.