Ilana Sharlin Stone is an American freelance writer and former chef who has lived in Cape Town, South Africa since 1994. Originally from Los Angeles, she worked as a professional chef for 15 years: first, in acclaimed LA restaurants City Restaurant (Susan Feniger and Mary Sue Milliken) and Angeli (Evan Kleiman); and later at Rustica, the iconic rustic Italian restaurant she opened and operated with her South African husband in Cape Town, just as Nelson Mandela became South Africa’s first democratically elected president.
Over the years, Stone has contributed articles and online content to Bon Appétit, Food & Wine, Gourmet, LA Times, Metropolitan Home, Gourmet, Budget Travel and Travel + Leisure Online, as well as numerous South African publications.
She is passionate about South Africa – a country she has embraced -- with its bounty of diverse culinary traditions, innovative chefs, and food and drink producers. Captivated by its wide open spaces, 350-year-old winemaking heritage and pioneering attitude, as well as the unique floral kingdom and natural beauty of the Cape of Good Hope, Stone would like to open the world’s eyes to the place she now calls home.
Stone blogs about food and food culture in South Africa at Finding Umami in Cape Town. She is currently writing a memoir about opening a restaurant at the dawn of democracy in South Africa.
She is a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, Hyde Park, and holds a B.A. in English Literature from the University of California, Berkeley.