HomeFOOD & WINECooking with Miss South Africa contestants

Cooking with Miss South Africa contestants

They may be ever so graceful on the ramp contesting for the crown but they are just as at home in the kitchen preparing a good, hearty meal.

When completing their entry forms and compiling their biographies, some of the top 30 contestants vying for the title of Miss South Africa 2024, indicated their love for cooking.

The response was enthusiastic, and the recipes ranged from croissants to chicken feet, pasta, curries and chocolate cakes.

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Among those were Layla Zoubair from Kempton Park and Madri van Jaarsveld from Boksburg. We contacted them and asked them to share a favourite recipe and a photo of themselves.

Here they are:

Layla Zoubair’s Manakish

“While lasagna is my favourite dish to make and pap and stew is my go-to meal, I also love making manakish because it is easy and delicious.”


5 tablespoons za’atar

7 tablespoons olive oil (divided)

10g instant yeast

1 tablespoon sugar

1 teaspoon salt

150ml milk

2 cups water

5 cups flour

1 egg


Preheat the oven to 190°C. Warm the milk. Mix with yeast and sugar. Let it sit for 10 minutes until frothy.

Combine flour and salt. Add yeast mixture, water, 2 tablespoons olive oil, and egg. Knead until smooth and elastic. Place dough in an oiled bowl, cover, and let rise 1 to 2 hours until doubled in size.

Mix za’atar with 5 tablespoons of olive oil. Punch down dough, divide, and flatten. Spread za’atar mixture on each piece. Fold or leave open with za’atar on top.

Place on a baking sheet lined with baking paper and bake for 15-20 minutes until golden brown.

  • Chef’s note: You can serve manakish as part of a healthy breakfast spread alongside homemade labneh and fresh vegetables like tomatoes, olives, cucumber and mint. Manakish can also be topped with cheese or cooked mince.

Madri van Jaarsveld’s

Marry Me Chicken

“I love cooking and I try new recipes every week. I often get my recipes on social media and this one is always a hit.”


3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, divided

500g boneless, skinless chicken breasts

Sea salt

Freshly ground black pepper

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

Handful of fresh thyme leaves

1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

200ml chicken broth

30g chopped sun-dried tomatoes

125 ml cream

25g finely grated Parmesan

Torn fresh basil leaves, for serving


Preheat oven to 190°C. In a large ovenproof skillet over medium-high, heat

1 tablespoon oil. Generously season chicken with salt and black pepper and cook, turning halfway through, until golden brown, about 5 minutes per side. Transfer chicken to a plate.

In the same skillet over medium heat, add the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil.

Stir in garlic, thyme, and red pepper flakes. Cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute.

Stir in broth, tomatoes, cream, and Parmesan; season with salt. Bring to a simmer, then return the chicken and any accumulated juices to the pan.

Transfer skillet to the oven and bake chicken until cooked through and juices run clear when chicken is pierced with a knife, 10 to 12 minutes.

Arrange chicken on a platter. Spoon sauce over. Top with basil.


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