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Q and A with the Celeb Feasts Host Zola Nene



Hey friends, I chatted to the very wonderful Zola Nene, host of ‘CELEB FEASTS with ZOLA’ to find out more about her food story, and the journey that’s led her to publishing her second award-winning cookbook, ‘Simply Zola’ last year. The book is in stores now and it’s gorgeous – jam packed full of food that you can’t wait to make.

How did you find your passion for cooking?

My culinary career spans over 10 years and started during a 2-year study gap in England. After studying Bcomm law for 2 years after matriculating, I realised that it was not the career path that I wanted to follow. So, I applied for a UK holiday working visa and ventured off to England to discover what it is that I really wanted to do.

I’ve always been interested in food so decided to look for a job in a professional kitchen. I worked in a Brasserie in Cheshire for two years, first as a hot section chef, then as the head pastry chef.

After a two year stint in a professional kitchen in England, I returned to South Africa and immediately enrolled at the Institute of Culinary Arts in Stellenbosch. During my studies, I worked with amazing top chefs in the local industry such as Margot Janse of Le Quartier Francais and Chris Erasmus of Foliage Restaurant.

I was the resident Chef for SABC 3’s Expresso Morning Show from 2010 and other TV roles such as a  judge on The Great South African Bake Off Season 3, guest judge on My Kitchen Rules South Africa Season 2, Cast of Wedding Bashers Season 2.

What’s in store for you in 2019?

My very own show has started airing from January this year and has had such a wonderful reception. I’ve also started doing live cooking sessions on “Zola Nene Live” in partnership with Checkers where I do live Facebook cooking sessions where viewers can interact and ask questions

3 tips for women entrepreneurs?

– Follow your passion and keep your eye on the prize
– Be your own biggest cheerleader
– Don’t listen to the nay-sayers, drown out all the negative noise

3 foods you cannot live without?

– Cheese
– Eggs
– Bread

Tea or coffee?


What is your favourite indulgence of choice?

Frozen yoghurt – the proper stuff that’s not too sweet and really tangy… I love it!

Advice for keeping a good work-life balance?

It’s such a difficult thing to balance, especially if you work for yourself and you are the core of your own business, but what’s worked for me, is scheduling personal time into my diary. I make a point to be intentional about taking time off, it’s so necessary.

What is your go-to snack on the run?

Dark Chocolate covered peanuts

What makes you the happiest?

Spending time with my adorable nephew… he just turned 1 in January and he is such a joy. Watching him grow into this little walking-talking human is such a blessing. I LOVE being an aunt!