Chef Zola Ndelemane, Sous Chef at the Radisson Blu Hotel Waterfront, has been with the property since 2015 – and has used the lockdown to focus on self-improvement. “This last year has definitely been challenging,” says Chef Zola. “But I’ve used the time to further develop my skills in the kitchen.”

The chef, who lives together with his wife and young son, spent a lot of time baking and experimenting in the kitchen, finding interesting ways to incorporate more vegetables and fruits into their meals.  “I also used to help out a lot with the weddings and events, but with the various restrictions in place, we obviously don’t have events happening at the moment,” he says. “I definitely miss the excitement and the rush of getting lots of starters out at once, and I look forward to the day it returns.”

The KZN-born chef first moved to Cape Town in 2005, a city that hadn’t been on his radar, he says. “But then I saw an opportunity for a spot in a culinary training course in the Mother City and I jumped at it. It’s one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.”

Over the years, Chef Zola has drawn inspiration and learnt from some industry stalwarts, including Chris Godenir who helped him early on in his career. “His passion for hospitality was contagious and it inspired me,” he recalls. Chef Peter Anderson has also been an important mentor over the years, but more recently, Chef Norman, who coincidentally is also from KZN, has really played a big part in helping Chef Zola grow in his career.

Chef Zola continues to focus on offering an outstanding breakfast menu which now includes a smoothie menu as well, the kale and peanut butter bliss is a favourite of his.  “We are exceptionally grateful for the support we have received from the domestic market, and we will continue to ensure that their dining experience is a memorable one,” he says.