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.