Life of Reily Contributors

Alet van der Westhuizen

With enough butter, anything is good.

Julia Child

They say ‘Great things come in small packages’…….think dynamite or diamonds.

Don’t be fooled – Alet might be 3 bricks high, but she’s got the heart of a hungry lion, when it comes to her passion for her craft. A true Foodie – who gets excited about the colour of perfectly roasted tomatoes or the state of her demi-glaze…
Yes, a 3 bricks high, Blonde cutie – perfect as a diamond, but a dynamite once placed in front of a stove… have been warned!

Alet has food encoded in her DNA – probably only understandable, with foodie matriarchs always needing a reason to feed the nation, the kitchen was the obvious place to hang around! The passion for making & creating was always encouraged so a career in the culinary arts was the obvious choice.
And so the time came for the small town girl from George to roll-up her apron, and find new mentors to broaden her skill set….. The Cape beckoned…

Read more about Alet...

After graduating from the Institute of Culinary Art in 2004, the Bubbly Blonde was hungry to sink her teeth into all the industry had to offer – and took a bite, she did! While we mere mortals were struggling to find a table at well respected establishments such as La Petite Ferme, Reuben’s & Le Quartier Francais, the Gutsy Bonde was honing her experience behind the scenes, under the watchful eyes of Ruben and friends in these same kitchens!

With the ‘Fine Dining’ experience tucked neatly under her apron strap, a stint in product development for the industry biggies followed (think Woolies and P&P). This newly gained experience and exposure, led to regular gigs on TV (SABC 3’s Espresso) and some high-profile private cheffing & restaurant consultancy gigs in the UK, Greece & Thailand. So in short, she can serve a mean Green Curry, anywhere in the world that takes your fancy……

Fast forward 10 years – This Foodie is still at it – with many, many more experiences tucked under her apron, she is keeping herself busy with her tv-work, private cheffing & cooking classes – as well as Resident Chef for the Life of Reily blog!

We are tickled pink to have Alet on board, to guide us on the Life of Reily food-journey.


Tea or Coffee:
When I am working on a project and not sleeping for days, COFFEE! When I am on the couch at home, tea please.

Foodie Heroes:
My mom! She inspired and taught me how to cook with love.

Definition of ultimate luxury:
Around a long table with my loved ones, glass of good bubbles in hand – luxury personified.

Guilty Pleasure(s):
Cheese, cheese and more cheese! Oh and a glass of bubbles.

Most memorable meal:
I think I might have been 7 or 8 years old, on holiday with my parents and my older brother – somewhere in the North of SA. We had dinner at an authentic Italian restaurant and I had my first (of many) Spinach & Ricotta Cannelloni. Life changing!

Most prized possession:
My gazillion cookbooks and my genuine love of seeing the faces of the people I cook for.

Alet’s website: The Culinary Consultants | Contact:


Dust off those aprons, and join us for the joyride – you might just learn something new!

Daniela, contributors

Daniela Zondagh

To take a photograph is to align the head, the eye and the heart. It’s a way of life.

Henri Cartier-Bresson

Some people just have it good – to be blessed with skills behind the lens of a camera and super talented behind a stove top, is just damn lucky! Our lucky lady managed to combine her greatest pleasures in life and made it her career – travelling to take snaps of gorgeous food. And then get to eat it!

To say Daniela knows a thing or two about food, is an understatement. This qualified chef-turned foodie-photographer, earned her stripes the hard and proper way. After enrolling at the prestigious Institute of Culinary Arts at Spier in 2000, this gutsy blonde decided to simultaneously pursue the art of photography. A real go-getter in my book….

That she’s really, really good at what she’s doing, is an understatement – this qualified chef was quickly snapped up by various top-notch kitchens – Le Quartier Francais (Franschhoek), Aubergine Restaurant (Cape Town) & Makalai Private Game Reserve (Hoedspruit). They clearly knew a good thing, when they saw it.

Read more about Daniela...

A quick turn in Knysna followed – stints at Phantom Forest Eco Reserve and Ile de Pain (best bread in the biz), followed by a short Johannesburg stint (Ulla-la Restaurant), but her love for the Cape brought her back to Knysna, where she took up the prestigious position as head chef at Phantom Beach Castle, Noetzi and later back at Phantom Forest Eco Reserve, as executive chef. In short, she understands food.

With Daniela nothing is done half-heartedly. If she wants something, she goes out and takes it.

As for was her opening her own restaurant, “Daniela’s” at Leisure Isle Boutique Hotel in Knysna, which made the top 100 restaurants in SA Wine Magazine for 2008/2009. Told you, no half measures here…. and all this while honing her skills behind the lense! Amazing opportunities presented itself – photographic assistant for the Jan Hendrik Group really focussed her in marrying her skills for food and photography, which is proof in the work conducted for major South African foodie- & fashion glossies – Woolworths TASTE Magazine, Sarie, RooiRose, Fresh Living and Fairlady.

These days, Daniela enjoys the freedom and successes of a freelance photography career, peppered with frequent travel and even better eating. A life to truly envy! Actually, living the life of Reily, come to think of it……

We are over the moon to have Daniela on board. What an immense treat to share life through her lens…


Tea or Coffee:
Tea – No problem in ‘my world’ can’t be solved over a cup of tea.

Photo you wish you took:
Every gorgeous travel picture I see – I could travel for a living!

Definition of ultimate luxury:
Good quality linen and hot water at the end of the day!

Guilty Pleasure(s):
Buying cookbooks & beautiful vintage crockery for my kitchen….

Most memorable meal:
India – food, history, culture & a photographic delight. I want to go back again and again!

Most prized possession:
My Vespa ‘Lulla’ & my camera – my passport to freedom!

Daniela’s website: Daniela Zondagh Photography | Contact:


Bill Cunningham on your racer bike, watch out – Daniela on her Vespa is around the bend!