They are definitely more than just two mums who can cook up a storm. They are also best friends who are ready to celebrate the festive season and go all out to make more memorable moments.
Tenille Dreyer (39) and Karen van der Merwe (34) did not only catch Get It’s eye, so to speak, as participants in the reality cooking competition My Kitchen Rules SA (MKRSA), but also because of the special bond they share as best friends.
They have shared their fun-filled and beautiful friendship for the past 16 years, which led to many a discovery.
Some of these discoveries include that they are a mean team when it comes to cooking together and they both love to explore new things.
And when it comes to this time of the year, they are also in agreement that both are crazy about the festive season.
‘It is our most favourite time of the year. We always get so excited to put up our Christmas decorations,’ they said.
‘We unpack our decorations in November already and then we make a big thing out of it for our families when we start decorating.’
It’s all about gratitude For them, Christmas is about being with loved ones and sharing Jesus Christ’s birthday.
‘I love how we can all share and give each other gifts. It is metaphorical for me because birthdays are all about celebrations and gifts, and what better way to celebrate God’s Sons’ birthday. I mean, have you seen the excitement on your children’s faces when they open their gifts. It is truly priceless,’ said Karen.
Tenille said her Christmas celebrations start in November as it is a family tradition to put the Christmas tree and decorations up as a family, with Christmas songs playing in the background.
‘It is a fun day for us as a family and we always end the day with a family photo of us all wearing a Christmas hat,’ said Tenille.
Karen, on the other hand, loves to do Christmas shopping and listening to the Christmas music in the stores.
‘Except for all the gifts, decor and eating way to much, Christmas brings people closer. Then there also comes the moment of silence where you just reflect on the past year,’ said Karen.
‘Christmas is about being grateful for the past year and still being here with the people you love the most. Christmas is about being thankful for the small things,’ said the duo.
Traditions and favourite memories
Karen said she does not have just one favourite Christmas memory as every Christmas has been part of her list of favourite memories.
‘As for Christmas traditions, it is always about having a full dinner table and preparing loads and loads of food so you can eat for the next three days,’ she said laughingly.
Tenille’s favourite Christmas memory is when she was a child living on a farm.
‘Santa would always come with many gifts on a donkey cart. It was big fun and excitement for us.’
Her Christmas tradition is realising what the season is all about.
‘Jesus is the reason for the season, and it is important for me to keep that in mind and teach my children the reason for all the celebrations.
‘Christmas tradition is about eating so much you end up laying under a tree before targeting dessert,’ she said.
Plans for Christmas Day
The duo won’t be spending Christmas together, but they will keep in touch via WhatsApp video calling.
Karen and her family are going to Mosselbaai, and they will be spending Christmas with friends.
‘There will be lots of food and presents and we will be taking many photos,’ she said.
The Dreyers will be spending Christmas at Tenille’s parents’ farm in Bela-Bela.
‘I am looking forward to eating roasted turkey, gammon, roasted potatoes, homemade beetroot salad and, of course, my mother’s dessert, which she calls Love Pudding,’ Tenille added.
Their friendship started when Karen married Eugene.
‘Eugene, Grant and I went to school together and then came the blossom, Karen,’ said Tenille.
Both of them are go-getters who are always up for any challenges. Not only are they fun to be around, but you also immediately pick up a warm, loving vibe. One may even say others will want what they have: a friendship so close they finish each other’s sentences. A friendship they describe as enriching, edifying, filled with adventure and built on trust.
‘Tenille shows a genuine interest in what’s going on in my life, what I have to say and how I think and feel. She accepts me for who I am,’ said Karen.
These two cannot only cook mouth-watering dishes, but they also know how to have fun.
‘We encourage each other and help with whatever the other one needs.
‘Karen is just this sparkling and bubbly person. Life would suck without her. She is a real go-getter and wherever she goes, she inspires and touches the hearts of others,’ said Tenille.
She was born and raised with her sister in Alberton and matriculated at Hoërskool Marais Viljoen High School.
After matriculating, she studied optometry at Rand Afrikaans University, now known as the University of Johannesburg.
She is now the owner of Wink Optometrist in Linksfield and has been in the industry for 17 years.
When she is not finding solutions to people’s eye problems, she is a wife and a mum of two.
She got married to Grant in 2006 and has two daughters aged 12 and nine.
In her spare time she enjoys camping, exercising and experimenting with new recipes.
She loves cooking main dishes you can eat with your hands.
Something not many know about her is that she loves to just dance it off.
‘Whatever life throws at me, I just dance it off,’ she said laughingly.
Euthene du Preez, Tenille’s mother, is her biggest inspiration.
‘She has always been there to support me and will always make a plan. She is very kind-hearted. She is Mother Christmas because she loves helping others.’
Tenille’s life motto is, ‘When life throws me lemons, I pour the tequila. LOL.’
She will always find the silver lining in life.
She was born and bred in Glenvista, where she grew up with her brother.
After matriculating at Hoërskool President High School, she took time to travel around the world.
‘I met my husband, who is my Viking, through mutual friends in 2006 and we got married in 2012,’ she said.
They have two children, a two-year-old son and a four-year-old daughter. Karen is a stay-at-home mum and simply loves it.
In her spare time, she does some work for her husband’s business or cooks for families. She also prepares lunchboxes four times a week for working mums who are unable to pack a lunchbox.
Her hobbies include clay pigeon shooting and she adores farm life.
‘When I get the chance to get my bum on the farm, I take it,’ she said with a smile.
Her inspiration is her husband because he supports her in every aspect of her life and makes everything he puts his mind to work come true.
Karen said she is a determined person and loves to take on challenges or try out new things.
Her motto is to be yourself.
* Text and photo: ELZAAN PIENAAR. Make-Up: LAUREN RACQUEL.