The sisters who slayed MKRSA
Rox and Spoen’s honest cooking, which celebrates farm-fresh goodness, earned them the My Kitchen Rules title and a whopping R1 million JUST ADD LOVE
IT WAS never about the money. In fact, when they entered the second season of My Kitchen Rules South Africa, sisters Rox and Spoen Green didn’t even know a prize of a million bucks was up for grabs. So the fact their bank balances have been given a huge instant boost is a major bonus for them. “Cooking has just been such a huge passion of ours, so it was amazing when we won,” Rox (29) says.
The sisters from a farm in Winterton in KwaZulu-Natal made their life-changing decision after seeing a video calling for auditions by David Higgs, one of the judges of the hit show. They’re both big fans of the popular South African chef so they knew they had to enter.
Eighteen episodes later, with proud family cheering from the gallery, the tenacious sisters found themselves going head to head in the gruelling final against Durban couple Kim Naidoo and Pashi Reddy, cooking five courses for Higgs and fellow resident judge J’Something as well as guest judges Reza Mahammad, Justine Drake, Zola Nene and Justin Bonello.
Their winning menu comprised an appetiser of line fish ceviche served with crackers and herb pesto. For the soup course they served bone broth with vegetables and chicken skin and their pasta course, which the judges raved about, was a delicate ricotta ravioli with mushroom and pancetta crisps.
The main course consisted of melt-inthe-mouth beef cheeks with kale and cauliflower and for dessert they dished up grilled pears with cheese parfait and walnuts.
“We just went back to our roots,” Rox says. “We’re crop and beef farmers so we cooked with things we were most comfortable with.”
And it worked. They knocked it out the park with their smorgasbord of flavours and the judges awarded Rox and Spoen (23) 47 out of a total of 60 points – eight points more than their rivals.
“What is even happening?” Rox gushed on stage as the reality of their victory set in.
THERE was plenty of love amid the rivalry when the last two teams cooked their hearts out in the final round. “Kim and Pashi have become really good friends of ours and it was tough cooking against them. They’re really good cooks, but we wouldn’t have chosen anyone else to compete against,” Spoen says.
Gracious runners-up Kim and Pashi couldn’t be happier for the sisters.
“Congratulations to Rox and Spoen – it was a well-deserved win. They were the better team on the day and we wish them a lifetime of love, health and success,” Pashi says.
So now that the R1 million prize is in their back pockets what do they plan to do with it?
Rather than going on an elaborate spending spree, Rox and Spoen, who both studied at the University of Stellenbosch and organise biking and trail events in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands, have decided to give back.
After visiting contestants Ashley van Heerden (25) and Christin Daniels (36), who hosted their instant restaurant at The Beulah Outreach Centre in Manenberg, Cape Town, the sisters were deeply moved by the work the cousins do to help their community and want to honour them by sharing the spoils.
“We really felt touched by Ash and Chris’ foundation so we’d like to give a portion of our money to them,” Spoen says.
For them it’s the smaller things that are close to their hearts that matter most right now.
“We grew up in a rural environment and our staff and the people who live around us and on our farm are the most incredible people,” Rox says.
“Masindi Mazibuko, one of our domestic workers, often stays late to help us wash up and cook and she teaches us stuff as well, so we’ve decided to buy her a mode of transport to get to work every day. We can’t wait to tell her. She’s going to lose her mind!”
Also in the pipeline are three pop-up They may have been pipped at the post for the My Kitchen Rules South Africa title but Durban couple Kamisha (Kim) Naidoo and Pashi Reddy were hands-down winners when it came to the hearts and minds of viewers.
The nation sighed a collective “awww” when Pashi (33) went down on one knee to propose to Kim (27) in the semifinal of M-Net’s popular cooking competition (BELOW).
“Pashi is such a hopeless romantic,” Kim says. “I knew the proposal would be big but I never expected it to happen on national TV. I was like, OMG really? I would’ve done my nails if I knew this was happening!”
During the show Pashi and Kim became known as the “soon-to-be-engaged” couple and after dating for five-and-a-half years,
Srestaurants in KZN, where they’ll cater for up to 15 people at a time. The sisters will cook a three-course meal to share with their guests. They also have a longer-term dream to open a restaurant at their Tugela River Lodge farm. “Our main focus is the large vegetable garden,” Rox says. “Our passion is about growing produce and teaching people how vegetables come about and what makes them.”
“We’ll be growing and cooking whatever is in season,” Spoen adds. “Everything will be fresh.”
And plenty of that fresh produce will no doubt end up in dishes like those that had viewers salivating week after week and the judges in raptures.
Bon appétit! Pashi – who owns his own procurement company – left many wondering when he’d pop the question to Kim, who’s completing her final year of studies to be an educational psychologist. Then during the semifinal Pashi shocked everyone – including the judges – when he got down on one knee and asked for Kim’s hand in marriage. “For me it’s a win either way,” Kim says. “To have come as far as we did in this competition and to take the next step in our relationship is a massive step.” But their wedding plans are on hold for now. “First we want to travel and follow our food journey for about two years,” Kim says. Their dream is to open a restaurant in Johannesburg called Kali, which will be a South African take on Indian contemporary cuisine. Kim looks down at her rose gold salt and pepper diamond engagement ring and sighs. “It’s stunning – there’s not one diamond that’s alike.” “It’s not a flawless stone,” Pashi adds. “It has imperfections and it’s the imperfections that make it beautiful. That’s what Kim and I have always loved about each other.”
Sisters Rox and Spoen Green are passionate about farm life and vegetables, and their cooking is inspired by this.
FAR LEFT: Rox and Spoen with judges J’Something (left) and David Higgs. LEFT: They were caught off-guard by their win and didn’t even know about the prize money when they entered.