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Eating with a positive future in mind

I’m Zola Nene, and I want people to know that the best way to make sure good ingredients are available in the future is to care about where they come from, today.

Zola Nene goes to the source to purchase natural produce.

I’m a chef, food stylist and proud author of Simply Delicious. My very first cookbook.

What I eat has always been important to me. You can taste the difference instantly when something is made with ingredients grown or caught and prepared by someone who deeply cares. It’s incredible.

My career started 10 years ago, during a 2-year study gap in England. That’s where cooking went from a passion to a profession. Then I worked for a catering company, before continuing on my path to becoming a successful chef and food stylist.

Cooking for the future
For Zola, nature is the source of everything she cooks.

Sustainably produced or organic ingredients guarantee a certain quality. A richness. The shorter the distance from farm to table, the fresher, the better.

I want to inspire others and show them how simple it is to embrace the goodness of farming and shopping with nature in mind. Everyone has the power to help the earth.

Nature is the source of everything I cook with, all the fresh, colourful, seasonal vegetables; grass-fed protein, grains and ripe fruits and berries. I want that to continue long into the future. For myself and everyone else.

Big and small sustainable farmers and fishers with amazing produce are all over South Africa. Whenever I visit them it inspires me to experiment and be creative. The love they put into their farming has a huge impact on flavour and the overall impact of any meal. When I support them I feel like I’m part of the solution, that more people will eat good food in the future.

Our current food production system has a major negative impact on the environment and it needs to change.

A space to teach and learn
As long as we take care of nature, it will take care of us.

Kitchens are a place of learning. A space where skills and knowledge are passed down, stories are shared, mistakes are made. It’s where the food journey begins.

My mother’s kitchen holds some of my most important memories. I remember the first thing I cooked for myself, by myself: croque madame. I had no idea what it was called at the time, I was only six. But I savoured every bit of my toasted cheese with the all-important fried egg on top. I’ve always wanted to cook meals that make me smile, and on my journey, I’ve learnt that all great dishes start with high-quality ingredients.

It’s about how they are grown, not what they cost. You can’t beat great quality. We have talented local farmers all over the country changing the way they work to help save our planet and their produce is simply delicious. They are genuine, everyday heroes.

By teaching each other, family and friends, about where our food comes from, how it is grown, caught or farmed we can inspire each other. So that the naturally vibrant, rich ingredients I use in my food are available long into the future.

You can make a difference

I know it’s not always that easy going to the source, buying directly from farmers and fishermen can be impractical for most people. It’s just about being more conscious. When you’re next in the supermarket, look out for organic or local products, start questioning your choices. After all, the power is in our hands. We can help the environment by the products we choose to buy. And in turn help ourselves by consuming more nutritious food. As long as we take care of nature, it will take care of us.

Zola Nene Photo
Zola Nene, chef, food stylist, author

Zola Nene wants to inspire others and show them how simple it is to embrace the goodness of farming and shopping with nature in mind.

Join the movement

Find out how you can live more in harmony with nature