MEET THE SILWOOD 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
ALICIA WILKINSON (CCP IACP FSACA)
PRINCIPAL - 1992 - PRESENT
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.
VICE PRINCIPAL 2004 - PRESENT
Accredited Assessor and Moderator
Director of SA Chefs Association
Trade Tested Chef
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.
- Eat Out top 20 restaurant judge
- 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
Hot Kitchen Supervisor | Accredited Assessor | Trade Tested Chef
Josua has a Silwood Grande Diplome. He worked as a product developer at Woolworths before joining the Silwood Team in 2019.
Baking Kitchen & 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 Silwood Team in January 2009.
Second Year Kitchen Supervisor and Sugar Craft | Trade Tested Chef
Michell has a Silwood Grande Diplome, and joined the Silwood Team 2020.
Sugar Craft, Demonstrator and Lecturer | Trade Tested Chef
Tasmin has a Silwood Grande Diplome, completing her 3rd year Internship at Salsify. Tasmin joined the Silwood Team in 2023.
Second and Third Year Academics Manager and Practical Supervisor | Accredited Assessor | Trade Tested Chef
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. Nicky joined the Silwood Team in 2015.