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

YOU (South Africa) - - CONTENTS - BY SHANAAZ PRINCE

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.

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