Twenty-six year old Jodi-Ann graduated from Silwood Kitchen, one of South Africa’s oldest culinary training schools, achieving in her first and second years of study what many never achieve in three, including a variety of Top Student Awards of Excellence and the Lesley Faull prize for cooking amongst many, many others. To work and achieve is Jodi-Ann’s life. This can be deduced from the vast work experience she has built up in her career. Apart from owning her own business she has worked at Nando’s International she has worked at Silwood Kitchen, where she was top student on being awarded her Grande Diploma.
Jodi-Ann has worked at Woolworths Culinary Centre, at La Colombe Restaurant, at The Five Files, at The Radisson Hotel, at All things culinary (with Bertus Basson and Craig Cormack), at PCP with Garth Shnier and at The French Laundry in California with Thomas Keller.
And what of participation in culinary competitions to show off her obvious talent? In 2005 Jodi-Ann was one of two students awarded first place in the Southern Sun Student Skills Challenge, she also won second place in the Chaine des Rotisseurs’ Jeune Commis competition, and was one of the regional finalists in the Unilever Foodsolutions Junior Chef of the Year.
2005 was also the year in which Jodi-Ann, through a rigorous selection process, was selected by the South African Chefs Association to join the National Culinary Team (Team SA) as its newest junior member. She has since gone on to achieve great things.
In March of 2006 working first under Craig Cormack and Bertus Basson, then at Strategic Gourmet under Garth Shnier, Jodi-Ann traveled to New Zealand and the 32nd World Association of Chefs Societies World Congress, as a junior South African representative and competitor in the Hans Beuschkens Junior Chefs Challenge. Here she was awarded a gold medal and upon returning was promoted to full National Culinary Team (Team SA) status.
Jodi-Ann has represented her team well. Winning almost every competition in South Africa on both a junior and senior level.
In May 2006 Jodi-Ann began work as International New Product Development and Technology chef for Nando’s Chickenland, where she was given free reign to follow her belief: “Throw your soul into your cooking, food is about love, passion, perseverance and appreciation and the more you give the better it gets.”
In January 2007 Jodi-Ann went to the US to work at the World Renowned restaurant The French Laundry in the Napa Valley under profound chef Thomas Keller, here she had the opportunity to learn and grow in a phenomenal way. The 3 months she spent there have placed her in good stead to continue to fulfil her dreams in the culinary arena.
Outside of the culinary arena Jodi-Ann finds herself in an arena of a different kind. She is passionate about horse riding and likes to spend any extra time she has riding her horse Salem and competing in show jumping and dressage competitions.
The outdoors are definitely where Jodi-Ann likes to be. She mountain bikes, plays golf and loves hiking. Quiet time is usually spent with a great book or eating out at different restaurants, checking out the food trends or going to theatre.
In May 2008 Jodi-Ann began The Food Design Agency which is a company specialising in food styling, product development, high end functions, celebrity cheffing and skills up-liftment. In 2008 Jodi-Ann also took the title of South African chef of the year as well as receiving South African colours for cheffing.
In 2009 Jodi-Ann won the coveted By Invitation Only Chef of the Year competition and became the first person to ever win all three titles of South African Chef of the year and she did it in three consecutive years. She then went on to represent South Africa in the Global Chefs Challenge. In 2009 Jodi hosted the Slim Life cooking programme as well as started her radio show, The No Fry Zone, which airs live on Jacaranda FM – South Africa’s largest
independent radio station – every Friday morning.
In January 2010 Jodi-Ann once again represented her country, this time in Chile, where she spoke at the WACS congress about food trends and innovations. She also travelled to Sri Lanka to participate in the World Spice Festival, taking top honors, winning the best restaurant and best hawker street awards. 2010 was the year that Jodi-Ann opened The Cookie Design Emporium and Little Leaves, her newest entrepreneurship projects.
Jodi has gone on to become the chairman of the South African chefs Association Gauteng Regional committee, the culinaire of The Chaine de Rottiseur Johannesburg Baillage as well as being awarded a seat on the Junior Liason committee for The World Association of Chefs Association.