Zola Nene is the chef and food stylist on SABC 3’s Expresso Show. We chat to her about her passion for food and cooking, and even share Zola Nene’s favourite recipe with you.
By Laura Naudé
I’ve learnt how to be a morning person.
When the show started, I used to arrive on set at 4:30am every morning – I’ll just never get used to waking up that early. Fortunately, I now have a wonderful food assistant who comes in early to do all the prep – bless her.
The first dish I cook by myself was…
A croque madame. Of course I didn’t know that’s what it was called back then, but a toasted cheese sandwich topped with a fried egg was a very impressive dish for an eight-year-old to make.
Mieliepap – the Italian way.
The most underrated ingredient is mieliepap. Most people just use it as porridge or as a side, but the number of things you can do with it is endless. I like to cook it the Italian way, with lots of Parmesan. I then set it, slice it and grill it. I also like to substitute my pasta with it in lasagne. Mieliepap and blue cheese croquettes are life-changing – never underestimate the wonders of mieliepap!
Local is lekker…
Because we have so many cultures to draw inspiration from. No other country in the world boasts as many tastes and flavours to truly call its own.
I love going to markets. My favourite market is the Stellenbosch Slowmarket at Oude Libertas. I go weak at the knees for the Dutch stroopwafels. The best part is that no matter how busy the market gets, there will always be a spot on the grass to sit and sip a glass of bubbly.
Anything can happen on live-TV.
Once comedian David Kau and I were discussing weaves (hair extensions). I told him I don’t wear weaves because it’s not my thing. He then proceeded to tell me (and the entire nation) that the reason I don’t own a weave is because my boyfriend is probably paying for some other girl’s and so can’t afford to pay for mine. Awkward! It was all in good humour, though, and we had a good chuckle about it.
My favourite thing to cook is…
It’s difficult to pin-point exactly what my favourite thing to cook is. I enjoy cooking in general, so the act of cooking is what I enjoy and that isn’t influenced by a specific dish, it applies to everything I cook. (Does that make sense?) My favourite cooking style is possibly an easier question to answer. I love cooking food that is simple and unpretentious. The best compliment I receive is when people tell me that I make it look so easy –that’s because the food I enjoy cooking is the type of food that everyone can recreate at home. Cooking is for everyone (we all need to eat), which is why I always share simple, easy-to-follow recipes.
I enjoyed working on Simply Delicious because I got the opportunity to share all of my favourite food memories, all at once.
Simply Delicious is a compilation of all the recipes and food moments that have shaped me into the chef I am today. It was an opportunity for me to walk down memory lane (rather eating down memory lane – LOL) and reminisce over the moments that I remember and continue to re-live through food. Sharing these stories and recipes in a book is like a dream-come-true. It gives me such a warm and fuzzy feeling to think that when people cook from the book, they are creating their own memories that I am indirectly a part of.
Don’t forget to visit Zola Nene’s website.
Catch Zola Nene on SABC 3’s Expresso Show, weekdays from 6 – 8:30am.
Günther Schubert of Vörsprung Studio, www.vorsprungstudio.com