African Relish is owned by Philip and Lisa Key. The concept of having a rural cooking school in the Karoo was born on a visit to Provence, France in 2003. General manager Virna Gouws, Chef Camilla Comins and the wonderful team pictured above are responsible for making the school what it is today. Philip and Lisa have spent most of their lives in the film, design and marketing world and live in Cape Town.
Chef Camilla Comins has run kitchens both in South Africa and abroad in the US and Germany. More recently, she worked as a Food Product Developer for the Woolworths Group in Cape Town. She was the creative force behind two restaurants in the Stellenbosch region – the 2011 Eat Out award-winning The Table at De Meye, and Overgaauw Restaurant.
Camilla’s unique approach to food and her knowledge of ingredients comes both from travel and from growing up on a self-sufficient farm in KZN. She is know for her simple approach to food which honours the ingredients while drawing on classic dishes and styles for inspiration. Camilla’s career also included a stint as a food stylist with her photographer husband, collaborating on five cookbooks and contributing to numerous magazine articles.
The couple moved to Prince Albert in June 2016 to make a new life for themselves and their little girl. Camilla now continues her food journey and simple country cooking philosophy with the team at African Relish.
Philip is the founder and chief executive of Moonlighting Film Production Services, an internationally renowned company involved in the production of major Hollywood films and international commercials. Moonlighting has its offices in Cape Town which also house their interest in publishing through Rugby365.com and sports content through MoonSport. He brings a great deal of entrepreneurial and business experience to African Relish and believes that the company will have a positive impact on the local tourism industry. Philip assumes a non-executive role in the business.
Lisa has been involved in marketing for most of her career and continues in this role for African Relish. She has worked in advertising, public relations and publishing. Lisa has also been Marketing Director for some of South Africa’s leading production companies. She qualified cum laude in Archaeology and Anthropology at the University of Cape Town. Lisa brings this fusion of experience and talent to developing African Relish. She is the mother of 5 children and lives in Cape Town with Philip and their family.
Virna Gouws is a long time resident of Prince Albert. She is an indispensable part of African Relish through her exceptional skill in managing every aspect of the business and her local knowledge is also invaluable. Virna manages the finances, human resources and general management of the company. She maintains that she does not like cooking, but is actually highly accomplished at the craft.
Born and schooled in Prince Albert, Donovan started work at African Relish as a student under the umbrella of a provincial Tourism Ambassador programme. He is now a qualified Western Cape Tour Guide and first aider. Donovan plays an important role seeing to the welfare and comfort of our guests at African Relish’s cottages. He dreams of one day owning his own tour company.
Rowina, a born and bred Prince Alberter, came to African Relish as a student completing her one year internship in Hospitality. From the start Rowina showed an interest in the preparation of food and a natural ability to work with flour. She quickly mastered the making of freshly made pasta, pizza dough and samoosa pastry. Rowina is now training to be our sous chef under the excellent guidance of Camilla and will also have the opportunity to work alongside the best of the visiting contemporary chefs.
Alicia, a true Prince Alberter, is the Housekeeper of our lovely cottages and cooking school. With her charming personality, she is very popular with our guests and always goes the extra mile to please them. Alicia is a versatile, fun loving employee who takes charge of the laundry and also helps out in the kitchen with food prep and service during our busy times.