Zola Nene was selected from a group of other South African chefs and has made the shortlist for the TV Celebrity Chef – English category of the Gourmand Awards.
Just a year after Zola Nene released her first cookbook Simply Delicious, it won in the South African category of ‘TV Celebrity Chef – English Award’ of the Gourmand Awards, shortlisting her for the final.
“I feel like I’m living a foodie’s dream. If someone had told me six years ago I’d be where I am today, I never would have believed them.”
Prior to her career as a chef and food stylist, Nene was studying Law, but her heart belonged in the kitchen. Her father encouraged her to go to the UK to experience working in professional kitchens abroad.
Her hard work paid off. Nene worked as a chef for the Expresso Show and established herself as a household name in South Africa with a following of adoring fans.
“It feels surreal to call myself a published author, and to share my recipes on national TV every day is just unbelievable. I wouldn’t trade places with anyone in the world.”
The Gourmand World Cookbook Awards were founded in 1995 in order to celebrate global cookbook and wine book publishing. The competition is free and open to publishers in all languages and from all countries around the world.
The placement of Simply Delicious on the shortlist means that Nene will face the judges and go up against chefs from all over the world, including the USA, UK, Australia and New Zealand.
Simply Delicious was a work of passion for Nene, who took nearly two years to publish it.
“Over two years, I threw myself into it completely – every recipe has a story, and follows a journey throughout my life. It’s hard to choose a favourite! It was really difficult narrowing down which recipes to include, but I think I managed to find a good balance. I’m saving the ones that didn’t make it for the next book.”
The winner of the competition will be announced in China on 28 May this year.