Karen Van Der Merwe, Mzansi’s Newest Cooking Star!

After 13 weeks of cooking challenges, Karen van der Merwe was crowned Mzansi’s Newest Cooking Star and winner of Colour Your Plate With KOO Season 2! Karen’s culinary skills were simply unmatched all season long, with fun, bright and exceptionally innovative dishes that wowed the judges and celebrity guest judge every week. Her creativity and culinary prowess ultimately led to her taking the beloved KOO can and being crowned this year's KOOKING star.

Karen’s culinary journey began at a young age, as she grew up with parents who experimented in the kitchen, creating foods from different cultures. Our newest winner has always had a loving relationship with food. 

“Growing up, food was always a big part of our lives. Whether it was celebrating things or just everyday life, we always incorporated food. It’s just in my blood,” Karen shared. 

Her love for food and burning desire to push herself and try new things in the kitchen encouraged her to join the competition, and it paid off! Week after week, Karen plated up colourful, nutritious and delicious meals that wowed the judges and earned her a total of 5 wins! Here is a recap of her winning dishes: 

  • Baked Beans Challenge - Baked Bean Falafel with Pita
  • Heritage Challenge (team win with Thuliswa) - Chicken Feet with Corn Bread 
  • Fine Dining Challenge - Duck with Crispy Duck Skin & Thai-inspired Carrot & Peach Puree
  • Fine Dining Tasting Menu Challenge: 
    • Starter: Pear & Potato Soup with Cabbage & Pear Puree
    • Mains: Tempura Pilchards with Sage
    • Dessert: Baked Corn Custard, Caramel Popcorn & Caramel Smear 
  • Season Finale Challenge: 
    • Mains: Sirloin Steak with Parmesan Panko Crumb on a bed of Butterbean Puree
    • Dessert: Eclairs with Milk Tart Filling, Apple Strudel and topped with Spun Sugar

With multiple wins under her belt, Karen knows how to elevate any meal with the help of KOO’s products, their versatility and convenience. Her win, and the participation of the other talented contestants we have had on the show this season further entrenched KOO’s mandate of not only educating South African households on picking up better and healthier eating habits, but also using this platform to highlight the culinary maestros South Africa possesses. 

It is clear that Karen was incredibly deserving of this win and title, and we can’t wait to see where Karen’s culinary journey takes her. Congratulations, Karen! 

To catch up on the full season of Colour Your Plate With KOO, Chef Reuben’s Masterclasses, and Karen’s journey, visit our YouTube channel

The journey to nourish Mzansi and Colour Your Plate With KOO continues next year, see you for season 3!

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