We’re well into the inaugural season of M-Net’s exciting new culinary reality show ‘My Kitchen Rules South Africa’ – and the response has been phenomenal. In the show, teams are paired up against each other as they put together the ultimate dinner party. Judges David Higgs and J’Something use their expertise to pit the teams against each other and ultimately find a winner. My Kitchen Rules South Africa is also filled with drama – which makes it a treat to watch! We chat to judge David Higgs about why the show has been such a hit.

The response to My Kitchen Rules South Africa has been phenomenal so far. Why do you think the show identifies with so many people?

As South Africans, it’s so easy to identify with the personalities – we recognise our family members, friends, neighbours and even ourselves. That’s what makes it different and unique to South Africa. There’s also the element of competition where there is a great prize involved, but essentially these people are cooking family recipes that they and their friends love.

There were some incredible creations in the show so far. What do you look for when judging the dishes the amateur cooks created?

We are looking for a story, good home-cooked meals that you can feel comes from the heart and things that remind us of our past. First, it must be well-thought out and beautifully cooked. I also look for attention to detail, presentation and great flavours. J’Something and I have been blown away by the standard of the food cooked by the contestants so far – it’s going to be a great show – come for the food, stay for the drama.

If you were a contestant on the show, which dish would you create for your dinner party?

Probably something really simple, like a fishcake. My mom used to make fishcakes with the leftover fish we had caught, and it’s a flavour that I’ve never been able to recreate. It’s good soul food – warm, great texture, nourishing and filling.

What, in your opinion, is needed to create the ultimate dinner party?

Having people around the table and serving them food you’ve cooked from the heart is probably the perfect recipe for any dinner party.

Now that the show is in full swing, what else are you busy with at the moment?

Well as always, Marble keeps me really busy. I’m there most days (and nights – when we’re not filming for MKR). We’ve also just opened The Butchery by Marble. This is a project that’s been in the making since we launched Marble. It’s a meat boutique and an extension of our brand. It’s a beautiful place to buy the meat we serve in Marble; have it prepped for you and get advice from our team on how to cook it. I’m also busy working with the team from Mercedes Benz SA as a friend of the brand. In between everything else, I am making time for training for the ABSA Cape Epic next year.

Catch My Kitchen Rules South Africa every Sunday at 18h00 on M-Net.

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