As soon as I saw you, I knew an adventure was going to happen • Winnie-the-Pooh
Meet Machiel and Jamandi Bekker. The local-is-truly-lekker dynamic duo of My Kitchen Rules SA. They are loads of fun, genuinely passionate and charming to boot. Loving nothing more than getting together with family and friends, their hearty food is delicious and their festive hospitality simply contagious.
They are the exceptional husband and wife team who dared to take a chance on a culinary adventure of a lifetime and very quickly became the firm fan favourites of South Africa with their kind hearts and gutsy determination.
They are the #lekkerbekkers and they’re having such a merry fantastic time on MKR SA it’s giving us ‘chicken pox’ 😉
We are delighted to introduce to you Machiel and Jamandi Bekker.
Guesthouse owner – Solo Gracia Guesthouse in Bloemfontein.
We have a guesthouse in Bloemfontein, Solo Gracia, and we do corporate and private functions as well.
The biggest adventure you can take is to live the life of your dreams • Oprah Winfrey
So, what’s your story?
Where were you born?
Machiel: Bredasdorp, Western Cape
Where did you go to school?
Machiel: Jacobsdal Agricultural School
Where and what did you study?
Machiel: I started working straight after school and did not go to University.
Jamandi: I studied Drama at the University of the Free-State, I never actually finished the course, I get bored very easily.
What was your childhood dream?
Machiel: I wanted to become a pastor.
Jamandi: To become a famous actress.
What was your first job?
Machiel: I was a door-to-door salesman and started of by selling dresses to domestic workers.
Jamandi: I worked for Fantasy Factory, I was a clown and a fairy in my free time.
Advice that shaped you career?
Machiel: Always be honest. With others , but especially with yourself.
Jamandi: It is so important to have passion for what you do and listen. Listen to other peoples success stories and their mistakes and learn from it.
What gets you out of bed in the morning?
Machiel: My wife and kids
Jamandi: A cup of coffee.
What motivates you?
Machiel: I like a good challenge.
Jamandi: Successful people and their stories motivate and inspire me.
How do you spend your down time?
Machiel: A lekker round of Golf
Jamandi: We love spending time together as a family, we braai, we travel and we just enjoy each other’s company.
What does success look like to you?
Machiel: To be truly happy, I believe you should have love in your life. Love for your family, love for your friends and love for your fellow man. When you have love, you will know success. The rest will follow.
Jamandi: It’s a mixture of passion, a lot of sacrifices, focusing on your goals and really knowing yourself.
What are the valuable lessons you have learnt in business?
Machiel: Don’t expect anyone to do your work for you. Your work is first and foremost your own responsibility. If someone assists or you give a task over to someone else, don’t leave them in a lurch. It’s still your responsibility to follow-up, double check and make sure the work was done. Also, don’t doubt your abilities – you are stronger than you think.
Jamandi: I can do anything if I set my mind to it. Stay humble and hard work pays off. You never quit!
When I hire I want? What makes a great employee?
Machiel: The most important to me is personality and values.
Jamandi: Somebody that can take action, somebody with a positive attitude and somebody with integrity.
What makes a great entrepreneur?
Machiel: You have to be a positive person. To own your own business is very challenging, so don’t be too proud to ask for help. There is always someone who knows more and who has more experience than you.
Jamandi: You need to love what you do, you need to have integrity and you need to hang on when others let go. To convince other people to believe in you, you need to believe in yourself.
What made you decide to enter MKR SA?
Machiel: For our 10 year anniversary we decided to celebrate by entering this incredible adventure and challenge. We thought it would be fun to put our friendship, partnership and love to the test… It was my wife’s idea and luckily it turned out to be one of the best ideas she ever had!
Jamandi: We’ve have been married 10 years and we wanted to celebrate with an awesome adventure. Something to add a little bit of spice and fun to our marriage 😉
So, we decided to REALLY challenge ourselves and enter MKR SA. I have to admit though, in the back of my head, I realised that there could be incredible business opportunities that could come from being part of a fantastic platform such as MKR SA.
What was the toughest aspect of competing in a competition such as MKR SA?
Machiel: It was tough to stay true to yourself. You are under a lot of pressure and pushed to the limit, but that’s exactly where the teamwork begins and you really have to trust your teammate.
Jamandi: The early mornings, sometimes you need to be on set at 6 and you only get home at 9 in the evenings.
What was your favourite part of competing in MKR SA?
Machiel: I have to confess, I enjoyed being on TV! It was A LOT of fun.
Jamandi: Competing with Machiel and meeting so many amazing people. Getting to know my partner and hubby on a completely different level. That was the best part.
What sets you apart from the other contestants on MKR SA?
Machiel: The bond between Jamandi and me. Our passion, our lekker sense of humor and just being ourselves. What you see is what you get.
Jamandi: I think each couple had something that made them different and unique. We wanted to build true friendships and learn as much as possible! We were very focused, but we always made time to have fun.
What makes a great teammate?
Machiel: You have to really listen to each another and trust your teammate completely.
Jamandi: You need to listen (I struggle with that), you need to respect your partner and you need communicate (the whole time).
Give me 3 words that describes you best?
Machiel: Positive, Passionate, Loving.
Jamandi: Driven, hardworking, Busy-body
What are your 3 biggest accomplishments in your career thus far?
- When our guesthouse, Solo Gracia reached a regular occupancy rate of 80%.
- When our conferences became such a success that we could build additional facilities.
- Buying out our initial investors to become sole owners of Solo Gracia earlier this year.
- Building up our guesthouse, Solo Gracia, from 2 rooms to 18 rooms.
- Starting our own conference business.
- MKR SA
I wish I could tell my 22-year-old self:
Machiel: Don’t take yourself too seriously and enjoy life! Time flies and before you know it people you love are gone. Don’t take the people you love for granted and make sure they know how special they are to you.
Jamandi: Take the time to figure out who you are. Only when you know who you are, you’ll be able to start living out your full potensial.
Your hidden talent:
Machiel: I can sing.
Jamandi: I don’t think I have any?! Maybe acting?
What other entrepreneurs and chefs do you look up to?
Machiel: Jan-Hendrik – ‘n South African Chef in France.
Jamandi: Defenitely Chef Jan-Hendrik van der Westhuizen
What is one characteristic that you believe every good chef should possess?
Machiel: Knowledge. Know what market you want to position yourself in and know your customer.
Jamandi: The attitude that you are never above learning.
What advice would you give someone entering a competition such as MKR SA?
Machiel: Just be yourself. If you’re going to try to impress viewers by putting on an act and being someone that you are not, it will backfire.
Jamandi: There is no ‘I’ in this competition, there is only us.
- Colour: Blue
- Food: Pap and Vleis (meat)
- Drink: Whisky
- Sport: Rugby
- Sport persona: Ernie Els
- Chef: Jan Hendrik
- Brand: Gant
- Happy place: With my family next to the ocean.
- Band: Bruce Springsteen
- Car: Toyota Hi-Lux
- Movie: Braveheart
- If you could meet anyone living or dead who would it be and why? Karin Zoid. I think she is just so cool, rock ‘n roll and really nice. I think she’s also been through a lot in her life. I’d like to drink a Tequila with her!
- Quote: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
- Book or Magazine: Kringe in die bos by Dalene Matthee
- Online inspiration: Nick Vujicic
- Colour: Navy
- Food: Pasta
- Drink: G&T
- Sport: Jogging
- Sport persona: Zola Budd
- Chef: JAN
- Brand: Nike
- Happy place: There is no place like home.
- Band: Radio Kalahari Orkes
- Car: My NEW Volvo V40
- Movie: My Best Friends wedding
- If you could meet anyone living or dead who would it be and why? Nelson Mandela; I would love to hear his story.
- Quote: Life doesn’t require that we be the best only that we try our best.
- Book or Magazine: Tuis
- Online inspiration: My dear friend Brent Lindeque
A day spent with you is my favourite day. So today is my new favourite day • Winnie-the-Pooh
- Hermien Pretorius Kock for Angels Boutique
Hair and Make-up:
- Hair by Caz & Ruth for The Salon
- Make-up by Amber Rose
- FJ Potgieter for Eye Poetry Photography
- The gorgeous eclectic kitchen of the very stylish Petri Coertzen of Visual Studio