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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.

South Africa’s extra virgin olive oils are beginning to turn global heads. Credit: Credit: Courtesy of Lettas Kraal

When Americans think olive oil, South Africa probably doesn't leap to mind, but like South African wine, the country's extra virgin olive oil is

Samantha O’Keefe went from being a newcomer to winemaking to now having highly touted wine. Credit: Courtesy of Lismore Estate Vineyards

Back in 2000, Los Angeles native Samantha O'Keefe took a major chance on a winemaking career and an untested wine region when she purchased

Cape Malay cooking teacher Faldela Tocker, with a dish of pickled fish. “Once it’s pickled, it needs to sit for the flavors to develop,” she says. Credit: Copyright 2016 Ilana Sharlin Stone

In Cape Town, South Africa, Easter is all about chocolate eggs, hot cross buns and pickled fish, a local turmeric-hued, sweet and sour favorite,

Pioneer winemaker Ntsiki Biyela is launching her own brand, Aslina. Credit: Copyright 2016 Ilana Sharlin Stone

In a country in which wine making is still predominantly a white, largely male profession, South Africa's first black woman winemaker, Ntsiki Biyela, is

The Test Kitchen's blinissoise, with chilled blini creme, barbecued langoustine "en gele," and a langoustine tataki with liquorice powder. Photo courtesy of The Test Kitchen.

If you're a globetrotter into fine dining, consider making your next destination Cape Town and its outlying Winelands, where an innovative eight-course tasting menu

A traditional potjie is made with tough cuts of meat, then layered with hard vegetables. Credit: Copyright 2016 Ilana Sharlin Stone

South Africa's potjie -- the country's iconic three-legged cast iron pot and culinary workhorse -- is a centuries-old piece of cooking equipment experiencing a