culinary hall


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. Manager Virna Gouws, Chef Jaco Fourie 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.

Jaco Fourie

Jaco graduated from the Stellenbosch based Institute of Culinary Arts (ICA) under founder and principal , Letitia Prinsloo. He then stepped into Reuben Riffel’s kitchen as a sous chef where he mastered the elements of flavour and presentation. Jaco left Reuben’s to pursue a job offer at a large seafood restaurant on the west coast of Ireland where he worked for 4 years. Jaco also has a passion for photos, film and editing and will introduce these skills offering exciting classes in food styling and photography. His vision for African Relish is to stick close to our local Karoo flavours by adding them to different international cuisines, enhancing the simplicity and value of good food.

Philip Key

Philip Key owner of African RelishPhilip 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 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 Key

Lisa Key owner of African RelishLisa 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

Virna Gouws of African RelishVirna 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.

Donovan Ontong

img_donovanBorn 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 Petersen

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 our ICA trained resident chef and will also have the opportunity to work alongside the best of the visiting contemporary chefs.

Alicia Botes

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.