Today it is once again time to celebrate International Women’s Day. This day of awareness was first acknowledged in the early 19th century and formed part of the socialist movement. At the time, its main purpose was to draw attention to the inequality experienced by women in all spheres of life.
Today, more than 100 years on, International Women’s Day is as much a celebration of women’s achievements and the obstacles the movement has overcome, as it is a reminder of the issues affecting them.
And while the food industry is still a predominantly male one, women have made great strides in the professional kitchen, just look at the likes of Nigella Lawson or Julia Child.
South African chefs are also more celebrated now than ever, and in the name of International Women’s Day, Dining OUT has rounded up 5 female chefs who are making a name for themselves on the South African food stage.
In no particular order…
- Margot Jansen is a Netherlands native, lead to South Africa by her photographic The Common Room restaurant.
- Lizelle Stolze After graduating from the University of Pretoria and then the Prue Leith Academy of Food and Wine, Lizelle did a stint or two in South African restaurants before plying her trade in the United States. She then came home, opened Serendipity restaurant, which instantly became one of the top 100 restaurants in South Africa, and takes two months’ annual leave to sample the delights of Michelin Starred restaurants in France, Spain and the UK.
- Elze Roome is a young chef hailing from Pretoria. She is a bit of a purist when it comes to cuisine, with her main game focusing on French pastries. She is the executive chef at Brasserie de Paris in Pretoria, where she produces delicious pastries for drooling patrons.
- Jackie Cameron has come full circle. Born and raised in the midlands of Kwazulu-Natal, she now heads up Hartford House restaurant which is located, you guessed it, in the midlands. Apart from being an award-winning chef, Jackie is also a food columnist for The Witness newspaper and has extended her creativity to the art of clothing design with her Jackie Cameron chef’s range.
- Cass Abrahams is South Africa’s favourite celebrity chef. She is also a lifelong member of the South African Chef’s Association despite having no formal chef’s training. For her, the switch flicked after she married her husband and became aware of the passion his community had for Cape Malay cooking. Her primary inspiration was her mom-in-law and under her guidance, combined with lots of reading and time in the kitchen, Cass grew into the chef she is today. She is most renowned for her two Cape Malay cooking books, Culture and Cuisine of the Cape Malays and Cass Abrahams Cooks Cape Malay: Food from Africa.
Happy International Women’s Day everyone, and have a lovely weekend!