Author and chef Zanele van Zyl swapped her former duties of diagnosing computer problems for a chef’s jacket. She chats to us about how she made this transition. By Kwanele Mathebula
Image: Chef Zanele IG
I am from Bergville, KwaZulu-Natal. I discovered my love for cooking at the age of 12. Coming from a big family of seven children, my sisters and I would often help my mother out in the kitchen. I have fond memories of the smell of delicious meals being prepared in our rondavel to keep the house warm.
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I worked in IT for numerous years before quitting my job. After matric, I studied a short course in IT, and then later attained my diploma. I went on to work in the sector for a number of companies. In 2012, I fell pregnant and during my maternity leave, I started experimenting with new recipes in my kitchen. My family loved them, so I decided to quit IT and go to culinary school.
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I started my career with cooking classes. I trusted that once I followed my passion, things would fall into place. My persistence and entrepreneurial nature led me to start my cooking classes – Cooking with Zanele – where I teach and share my passion for food with keen foodies in different kitchens across the country. This opened me to new opportunities such as writing my book, Cooking with Zanele: Simply Delicious Quick Meals. I have also partnered with other food brands, and that has given me great exposure.
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I am excited about this weekend’s upcoming Fire & Feast Food Festival. The audience can expect new, easy and trendy recipes that can be enjoyed all-year round. These will vary; some of them will be for braai month while others are perfect for the festive season. You will get to try them out in my cooking class sessions at the festival. If you want to take your cooking to new heights, then these recipes are definitely for you!
The Fire & Feast Food Festival takes place from 6 – 8 September at The Ticket Pro Dome.