Zanele van Zyl

Zanele, a former IT technician, specialises in cooking quick, nutritious and visually appealing meals. Her passion has proved an inspiration for many across the country and in 2016 she released her self-published cookbook Cooking with Zanele, a culmination of her famous national cookery demonstrations as well her expertise as a chef.

Zanele is based in Johannesburg and Port Elizabeth.

Q & A with Zanele

Question: What’s your goal/vision for this conference?

Answer: Conferences such as these are an important platform for industry peers to come together and network and learn from each other. It’s a great opportunity to inspire and be inspired.

Question: Name one person in this broader industry whom you look up to or a person who you really admire and why.

Answer: Every chef is making their mark in the industry, bringing their unique flair to the table. I have learnt a lot from everyone that started this journey before me. I hope those that will follow will also learn from me.

Question: What change in the food industry have you seen and loved?

Answer: It is very encouraging to see that in our industry we have a melting pot of different cultures coming together to shape the trends in the culinary world. We see different cultural dishes, influencing and fusing together in the new recipes. It’s great seeing food that we grew up eating inspiring great chefs and being featured in award winning recipe books. This is a result of great transformation in our industry.

Question: What would you love people to know about you and your work?

Answer: Through my cooking with Zanele classes, which I host at various provinces in the country, I aim to teach people how to prepare restaurant quality meals at home.  I demonstrate how home makers can elevate the standard of food they serve their family and friends in their homes.  They learn tips of preparing scrumptious meals with minimum effort.

My book is an extension of the cooking classes. The aim of the book was to enable those that can’t come to the actual class to experience the Cooking with Zanele class in their homes.

One mistake I did was to underestimate the support that the book would receive. I have had to learn a lot about business of book publishing on the run. I was focused on the quality of the book and not so much the admin required to get the book in the people’s hands. It has been a huge learning curve and I am winning