Tell us about yourself and your journey thus far.
My food journey spans over 12 years and began when I decided to stop my law studies and pursue a career as a chef.
I worked in the UK for two years, then returned home to enrol in a culinary arts institute to obtain my chef qualifications. I specialised in food media during my studies, where I learnt about food styling as well as food writing.
Have you always known that you wanted to be a chef and food stylist?
I always had a passion for food, but I never really thought of it as a career choice originally, which is why I chose to go into law studies after matric. When I realised that law wasn’t what I was passionate about, my father encouraged me to pursue cooking as a career option.
What, besides preparing delicious meals, are some of your other passions?
My other passion is travelling – I LOVE travelling. I wish there was a way that I could do more of it. I love discovering new cultures and seeing what the rest of the world has to offer.
Who would you say has been the key to your success?
My father has definitely been a key influence in my success. He was the one who always encouraged me to pursue what makes me happy. He encouraged me to explore the idea of becoming a chef. Patience Stevens has also been one of the factors to my success. She was the one who insisted that I get in front of the camera and gave me the platform (Expresso Show) to cook on national TV and become a recognisable public figure.
What, in your opinion, are some of the challenges that women – particularly in Africa – face in terms of following their dreams and making a success of themselves?
I think the main thing that holds women back is fear of failure. We put so much pressure on ourselves that we don’t often follow our gut when it comes to career decisions. I also think that women often suppress their femininity and fragility in order to fit into the male-dominated corporate society. Being a woman is a powerful thing and we should be proud of the fact that we can be sensitive and motherly, and use those qualities to our advantage in the workplace. We don’t need to be like men to succeed; being a woman is enough and is worthy of success.
You have just won another Gourmand World Cookbook Award for your second book, Simply Zola. What does this accomplishment mean to you?
It truly is the best feeling to know that something so personal to me is considered special by other people too. I am thankful for every wonderful person who continuously support me.
What are some of your favourite moments on M-Net’s franchise, Wedding Bashers?
My fellow bashers are definitely what I love most about being on the show. We have the best time together. Secondly, it has to be meeting the wedding couple on their special day, to see people at their happiest is always such a wonderful moment.
If you had one piece of advice for other women, what would that be?
Trust your gut and follow your passions.