MKRSA axed contestants: We played the game honestly

2017-10-16 12:29

Johannesburg - The foodie friends from Durban, Nicole and Zamatonga, became the second couple to be eliminated on My Kitchen Rules SA

The best friends, who have not been shy to share their opinions around the previous Instant Restaurant tables of their competitors unfortunately, missed the mark right from the start of their evening. 

The final score from their fellow contestants and celebrity judges David Higgs and J’Something came to a disappointing total of 51 out of 100 – a discouraging 8 points behind “meat guys” OG and G who occupied the bottom of the log after their big cook last week. 

With that, OG and G were safe, while Nicole and Zamatonga had to bid an emotional goodbye to the competition. 

We had a chat with the besties about their experience on the show.

Your group was very strategic in their scoring. Do you think this had an impact on the ultimate outcome?

Nicole: I think going last proved difficult because there was so much at play. The scoring seemed to get tougher as the competition progressed and I think that we bore the brunt of that by going last. Most teams in our group were more calculating than they let on. At the end of the day though, people are entitled to score what they like, and we accept it.

Zama: I do not believe our group was strategic in scoring the first Instant Restaurant. When it came to the outcome of our restaurant right at the end, I believe it was a hybrid of strategy and fair scoring. It's a game with a million Rand prize at stake, so naturally many aspects determine outcome - some fair, some strategic and some emotional too.

What was your game plan going into the show?

Nicole: We didn't really have a game plan, to be honest. We wanted to do our best and have fun. Being a politician, my whole life is about strategy so I just wanted to enjoy the experience for what it was. We had a lot of fun and enjoyed the relationships and good times with our group.   

Zama: We didn't have a game plan. What makes it tricky for others but interesting for me is that Nicole and I are polar opposites when it comes to our opinions of food. What this meant was that we compromised on our individual scores with every restaurant, arriving at an average for our scores. In hindsight if we look at these scores, they were really favourable to our guest teams.

How confident were you going into your Instant Restaurant round?

Nicole: We were perhaps too ambitious with the kinds of food we wanted to cook and should have stuck more to our strengths. It's a very stressful thing, especially going last in a strong group. We just wanted to do the best we could and make the most of it. It's daunting and very much a mental game; so we were confident, but also quite anxious. Cooking for a chef like David Higgs is no small feat!

Zama: The attitude that I adopted was to give it my all and make the best of the experience given the circumstance, whatever the outcome was.

What were the biggest challenges and surprises of doing your Instant Restaurant?

Nicole: It's a very long and tiring day, and the sheer volume of how much there is to do was daunting. The decor, the menus, the drinks... it all adds up! I was quite taken aback by how hard it is to get back in the kitchen after a tough review. That said, I think Zama and I also really helped each other immensely and that warmth and love meant a lot to me. Everyone seemed to think we would snap at each other but we actually had a lot of fun!

Zama: The biggest challenge was getting our Instant Restaurant set up, and managing pressure and time when it came to meal preparation and just remaining constantly motivated after receiving negative reviews from the judges. What really surprised me was that we didn't argue and everyone expected us to. My Instant Restaurant experience was so, so much fun and actually one of the highlights of doing MKR! I loved it.

There’s been some talk about integrity around the dinner table. Do you think you played the game with integrity?

Nicole: Yes, although I think the definition of integrity was quite muddled throughout the show. Integrity to me is about being who you are and remaining consistent. Despite our opinions, our scoring was consistent and generally on the high end of the scale. Two sixes and two sevens out of 10 was a lot kinder than some of the other teams. 

Zama: I was honest and we always played the game honestly. I feel that there are two types of personas in this competition: Either honest or perceptive. If one is honest, one will naturally be perceived as playing a strategic game. If one managed perceptions well, one was more prone to being perceived as less strategic. For me, honesty and integrity go hand in hand, and we were always honest.

Who from your group would you like to win and why?

Nicole: We made some really lovely friends on the show and ours was a strong group. OG and G are amazing and I hope they show the skills to take them all the way. I think Jamandi and Machiel and Charnell and Kerry had the strongest showing of their skills in our group and have the most potential. It’s too early to say, but we hope it's a team from group two! 

Zama: I really don't know! They all stand a good chance. Group 2 are all super great cooks who know their food.

You guys had a great vibe in the kitchen. Will you continue cooking together?

Nicole: Yes, of course. Food for us is about love, passion and fun. We have been on an amazing journey together and learnt a lot about ourselves and each other. It's incredibly hard to be under that kind of pressure with another person but I'm really proud of us. I think we can retire our repertoire of ricotta recipes, though.

Zama: We really had a great vibe, because we had fun - as cooking should be fun! Of course we would cook all over again together! We love food! We love bringing people together around the table because of food. It's a universal feeling we hope to share today and forever!

Tune in for all the cooking drama Sundays at 18:00 on M-Net (DStv 101).

(Photos supplied)

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