'Who doesn't love vetkoek?': SA chef Zola Nene wins the Oscar of the food world

07 February 2017 - 16:03 By Suthentira Govender
Zola Nene's home-grown treats have won favour with judges of the prestigious Gourmand World Cookbook Awards.
Zola Nene's home-grown treats have won favour with judges of the prestigious Gourmand World Cookbook Awards.
Image: GUNTHER SCHUBERT

Her pap lasagne‚ vetkoek and chocolate Amarula tart have always been winning dishes in celebrity chef and food stylist Zola Nene’s eyes. Now her home-grown treats have won favour with judges of the prestigious Gourmand World Cookbook Awards.

This year the author of Simply Delicious and resident chef on SABC3's Expresso won the award in the South African category of best English cookbook by a celebrity chef.

Nene will compete against international chefs in China in October.

The Gourmand World Cookbook Awards have been dubbed the "Oscars" of the gastronomy world and were founded in 1995 by Edouard Cointreau.

They honour the best food and wine books‚ printed or digital‚ as well as food television shows annually. Last year‚ books from 211 countries competed in the competition‚ which is free‚ and open to all languages.

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“Receiving the award gives me such a sense of pride. The book is so personal to me‚ so knowing that it has been received so well by other people is more than I could have asked for.

“I love all the recipes in the book - they are all mine after all‚” Nene joked.

Her three favourites‚ which have received rave reviews‚ including pap lasagne‚ vetkoek and chocolate amarula tart.

“With the pap lasagne - people love the mash-up of two recipes from different countries to make an amazing creation.

“When it comes to vetkoek - you can’t lose with a South African classic... I mean who doesn’t love vetkoek?”

She believes her “fuss-free pastry is a tart game changer - no rolling out‚ no blind baking‚ it takes the fiddle and fuss out of baking.

“I’m sure the chocolate part of the tart has something to do with its popularity too.”

Nene believes that health is a “great influencer” when it comes to South Africans’ food choices - despite the escalating food prices.

“Eating healthy doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to buy expensive ingredients‚ the way you prepare food also plays a big role.”

She said more South Africans are employing healthier cooking methods in the preparation of their food. - TMG Digital/TimesLIVE

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