A delectable dish of pork belly, pork cheek croquettes and garlic and sweet potato polenta won over the judges of VIA’s televised cooking contest, Aansit, to secure three home cooks a fabulous foodie holiday in France worth R150 000.

Izak Redelinghuys, Wessel Pieterse and Jennifer du Plessis were recently crowned winners of the first season of Aansit, after the amateur trio proved that they could deliver restaurant quality dishes in their own kitchens. After 12 episodes of this popular lifestyle show, the team from Cape Town’s Southern Suburbs had to impress renowned local chefs Reuben Riffel, Kevin Grobler and Pete Goffe-Wood and beat Wellington contenders Carmen-Ann Wessels, Merwe van Niekerk and Hennie van Loggerenberg in a nailbiting season finale.

For their winning meal, Izak, Wessel and Jennifer served a starter of periwinkle tortelloni with squid-ink coral tuilles, pea foam, baby peas, seafood bisque and herb oil. They served their pork belly main course with apple and pomegranate gel, and ended on a sweet note with rooibos crème, coconut sponge, tonka bean biscuits and peaches.

“We were so proud of our menu for the final,” says Jennifer, adding that the main dish was her favourite. “It had a balance of textures and flavours and we used sentimental ingredients like we did throughout the menu. I think the judges really enjoyed our pork belly!”

“It is a fantastic feeling to receive praise from seasoned chefs like Reuben, Pete and Kevin,” Izak says. “My team-mates and I had a blast in the kitchen together with the other contestants, the judges and the production team. We definitely pushed our own boundaries and learnt a lot in the process.”

Now they just have to wait until borders reopen for safe international travel, to claim their prize: a trip to France where they will enjoy a boat trip for six and visit renowned Michelin-star chef Jan Hendrik van der Westhuizen at his famous restaurant JAN in Nice.

“We are so excited to meet Jan Hendrik and enjoy the food experience at JAN,” says Wessel. “The cheese and wine sessions on the boat deck with our friends are also high on the list.”

In the meantime, these talented cooks look forward to spending more time in the kitchen and around the dining table. “We are all already working in the food or wine industries, but now we look forward to presenting intimate food experiences for small groups of guests,” Wessel says. “We also have a few ideas for products we would like to see in stores, and we will be focusing on that too.”

VIA is on DStv 147. Follow the winning trio on Instagram to see how they celebrate their victory, and to keep up to date with their future projects:  

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