Meet the Team




FOUNDER - 1964 - 1992


In 1964, in the old coach house at Silwood House, the family home, Lesley started her dream – sharing recipes, tips and tricks with 45 to 50 housewives. And so the doors of Silwood opened where ladies could learn to cook. Lesley spent hours devouring recipes, cookery books and magazine food articles.

Her passion for food became all-consuming and Lesley started writing cookery books, published between 1967 and 1979: usually subject driven; The Forrest Cookbook, Bread Buns Cakes And Cookies, Book Of Breakfasts, Cookery In Southern Africa Traditional And Today, Our Best Traditional Recipes, Milk Makes It, Braai And Barbecue In Southern Africa, Rice Recipes And Curries, Meat On The Menu In South Africa, ABC For Cooks, Inspired By Sugar, Their Secret Was Sugar, Cream Makes The Difference For Royal Dairy, Contributed Recipes For Top Secrets For Entertaining (Sold In Aid Of SA Riding For Disabled)

The Fruitful Co-Operation between the world renowned Cordon Bleu School in London and Silwood Kitchen created The Fyn Fookkuns Series – Lesley was asked to translated The Cordon Bleu London Series into Afrikaans ‘Fyn Kookkuns’ No. 1 – No 52

Over the years she also wrote many cookery articles for Die Burger and Cape Times.

Lesley produced the Silwood Kitchen food newsletters for the South African Sugar Association




Accredited Assessor

Author of Cookery book “The Complete South African Fish & Seafood Cookbook” 1st published in 1981

Alicia literally grew up in the kitchen! Silwood was her home, and food and its production have always been a strong focus in her life. On completing a course at the London Cordon Bleu, she joined the newly established Silwood Cookery School and became the first recipient of the Silwood cordons bleus Certificate in 1970.

She became principal of the school, in 1992, that year she was awarded the “Commandeur de Cordons Bleus de France” and Certification by the International Association of Cookery Schools as a Culinary Professional (IACP –CCP).   In 1995, she was awarded Associated Member of South African Chefs Association. In 2005 Alicia was Awarded “Fellow of SA Chefs Association (FSACA) and in 2009 was inducted into the South African Chefs Association’s Honour Society, The Academy of Chefs.

She was recipient of the “2016 Lance Snyman Lifetime Achievement award” presented at the EATOUT Restaurant Awards.

Alicia still makes an annual trip to Europe to keep up with International food trends and networking, and does a short course at Ballymaloe Cookery School in Ireland each year.







Accredited Assessor and Moderator

Author of Cookery book “A year at Silwood”

 Carianne represents the third generation of women to make cooking and Silwood their lives work. Silwood was her childhood playground, but before following in the footsteps of her grandmother, Lesley and mother, Alicia, she completed a degree at UCT. Carianne completed her Silwood grande diplome internship at Ballymaloe Cookery School, Ireland, gaining teaching experience, she return to Silwood as Certificate course Hot Kitchen supervisor and lecturer and Diploma (2nd Year) Lecturer. She developed, launched and managed Silwood’s Part-Time class program. In 2004 she was appointed vice principal. In 1999 she was voted onto and has remained on the committee of South African Chef’s Association. She is an accredited South African Chef’s Association Judge and has judged Various National Cookery competitions such as: Chaine des Rotisseurs Young Chef’s competition and South African Chef’s Association Olympic team competition.

  • Preliminary judge for Masterchef, Cape Town candidates
  • On the CathsSeta panel for developing the Chef Occupational curriculum and Qualification.
  • On the NAMB panel for developing the Trade Test for the new QCTO chef qualification


Kelly Berzack

Silwood Hot Kitchen Supervisor & International Demonstrator | Accredited Assessor

Kelly completed her Silwood Kitchen Grande Diplome in 2015 doing her internship year at Cellars Hohenort Hotel.

Toni Voigt

Baker Supervisor & Patisserie Supervisor | Accredited Assessor

Toni studied at Camborne Technical College, Catering Faculty (UK). She had many years kitchen experience in the UK, before immigrating to SA and became Sous Chef of Larder & Pastry Sections at the Vineyard Hotel. We welcomed her to the team in Jan 2009.

 Gaie Gaag

Sugar Craft Skills and Confectionery Supervisor | Accredited Assessor

Gaie graduated as Silwood’s ‘Top Student’ in 1973, she then studied at the London Cordon Bleu. Returning to Silwood as a staff member in 2001. Gaie specialises in Wedding Cakes.

Mira Athanassouli

Second Year Kitchen Supervisor

Mira is a Silwood graduated of 2016, she selected Woolworths Product Development division to do her grande diplome internship. She joined us managing the 2nd year kitchen at the end of 2017.

Nicola Davies

Second year Lecturer and Co-ordinator | Accredited Assessor

 Nicky graduated from Silwood with distinction in 1998, completing her 3rd year Internship at Ellerman House. She worked overseas in the food industry from 1999 – 2005. She returned to Cape Town with her husband and two sons. Nicky Co-owned a restaurant at the Biscuit Mill for a couple of years. Nicola joined the staff at Silwood in 2015




Office Manager

Azraa Bedford – BSocSc

Academics Manager and 3rd  year co-ordinator




Specialist projects


Office Assistant – 50 years at Silwood across three generations: Lesley, Alicia and Carianne. She is an intricate part of creating what Silwood is today.




Jacob Dube and Arnold Soko



Cynthia Bonga, Florence Ntshonga and Lauren KHAKA