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I was born on the Island of Mauritius in 1962, the eldest of four children. The family moved to South Africa in 1967 prior to Independence. i grew up speaking French at home, on a farm on the South Coast and captained the hockey team at Port Shepstone High School. After leaving Edgewood College of Education in 1984, I worked for the Durban Municipal Library and moved onto the Durban Chamber of Commerce and Industry where I headed up the Information Department and then the Membership Department. The opportunity to promote the City of Durban as an investment destination in 2002 saw me travelling extensively to Durban’s sister cities and attending global conferences. In 2007, I was asked to establish Tradepoint Durban, an export training incubator for KwaZulu-Natal based SMMEs seeking to find markets for their products.

In May 2011, I took the step of following my dream and enrolled at the Ballymaloe Cookery School in Ireland. Fellow students on the course represented 14 different nationalities and my network grew substantially. Living and working on an organically certified farm a short distance from the sea and being taught the importance of knowing where the produce has originated resonated. Opportunities at Ballymaloe included working the night shift in Arbutus Bakery in the City of Cork, helping sell fresh produce at the Local Farmers’ Market in Midleton and learning to remove the pin bones from wild salmon in the kitchens of Ballymaloe House. I am currently producing my first cookbook entitled, ‘Facebook Foodie: Recipes of the Liked and Shared’. This experience has been made more simple thanks to the self-publishing tools available on the Internet.

In 2001, I was selected to participate in the Group Study Exchange to District 2420 in Turkey led by PDG Natty Moodley of District 9270. The 6 weeks spent visiting Rotary projects after the devastating earthquake of 1999 was an eye opener. On my return to Durban, I was invited to join the Rotary Club of Durban Umhlatuzana.

I run my own consulting business specializing in business retention and expansion programmes, building databases and recently I started a new craft manufacturing company called Afriweave with three other partners, aimed at assisting needy communities earn an income thanks to Afriweave’s low entry cost.

I am married to Francesco Petruccione, Research Chair and Professor of Theoretical Physics at UKZN.


How to Self-Publish?

1: Why food?

Palm hearts and pineapples are two food products grown on my parents’ farm in the deep south of Mauritius at Surinam. It’s easy to have a passion for food and agro-processing when from an early age one is brought up on a farm learning how to grow vegetables and tropical fruit. This passion is then expanded when one is taught how to prepare the produce using old family recipes passed down from generation to generation. Since 1988, one of my dreams was to attend Ballymaloe Cookery School in Ireland and this happened a few years ago when I joined 63 fellow food students from 14 different nations in Shanagarry, County Cork. Ballymaloe Cookery School opened on the 5th September 1983 and is located close to the sea and the beautiful fishing village of Ballycotton.

The 12-week course I did was very structured with one teacher per six students. We were taught an extensive range of butchery, fish filleting, preserving, freezing, classical French cookery techniques as well as a Wine Appreciation course. Neil Ellis from Stellenbosch dropped by one Monday afternoon and gave us all the story of Cape winemaking and we had the opportunity of tasting his wines. More pride for the 4 South Africans on the course when one of the Wine Negociants in Cork brought along a range of top South African wines for tasting made up of Fleur du Cap, Hamilton Russell, Jordan and Meerlust. As students we had the opportunity to cook many dishes from the demonstrations given daily by School Principal Darina Allen, fellow Director Rory O’Connell and daughter-in-law Rachel Allen of TV series fame.

Duties at the Cookery School started very early in the morning and included milking the Jersey cows, picking salad and vegetables, making butter, preparing stock and making a range of cheeses and breads. The School facilitated opportunities for me to work in a commercial bakery in Cork called Arbutus as well as in the kitchens of Ballymaloe House learning how to remove pin bones from wild salmon. Every Saturday was market day in Midleton, the small town 15 minutes drive from Ballymaloe and there we learnt to sell the School’s jams and pickles, interact with the Irish folk and see new food items created by various artisanal producers. This has created numerous opportunities in the food sector. I have had food-related articles published in Taste magazine, the Saturday Independent and I write restaurant reviews on a regular basis.

The idea of publishing my first cookbook called, Facebook Foodie: Recipes of the Liked and Shared came about as a result of the comments and requests for recipes on my Facebook profile. Francesco, my husband suggested putting these favourite recipes into a cookbook. The criteria to choose the recipes to be included in the cookbook, was based on the most number of ‘Likes’ or ‘Shares’ these last three years. They are a combination of family favourites and include Low Carb High Fat recipes.

The process of self-publishing is cost effective and speedy. All necessary tips are readily available in the public domain on the Internet. Self-publishing is to be recommended. Write your thoughts, ideas or stories electronically and check out for ease of self-publishing.
Widely travelled, I make a study of food styles and regional specialities at the many locations I visit with Francesco. My food blog was started in 2011 whilst at Ballymaloe Cookery School in Ireland. When not entertaining friends and family, my business consultancy serves clients in various industry sectors.

2: Online self-publishing options

  • – subsidiary of Amazon

With CreateSpace you can easily access tools, quality printing, booksellers, eBook distribution, and marketing strategies so that you can generate more opportunities than you imagined – all while building your following of readers

  • – Indie publishing platform

Blurb gives you a complete self-publishing platform using BookWright

3: Recipe Book Themes

Here are some local and international cookbooks on my kitchen bookshelves.

  • Forgotten Skills of Cooking by Darina Allen
  • Kitchen Cowboys by Peter Goffe-Wood
  • Modernist Cuisine – Nathan Myhrvold
  • NOMA: Time and Place in Nordic Cuisine by René Redzepi
  • Perfection by Janice Wong
  • Plenty More by Yotam Ottolenghi
  • Strandveld Food: A West Coast Odyssey by Kobus van der Merwe & Jac de Villiers
  • Tasty Delights by Jacqueline Dalais
  • The Little Paris Kitchen by Rachel Khoo
  • The Real Meal Revolution by Prof Tim Noakes, Sally-Ann Creed, Jonno Proudfoot and David Grier
  • Ukutya Kwasekhaya: Tastes from Nelson Mandela’s Kitchen by Xoliswa Ndoyiya and Anna Trapido

4: Recipe Book Content

  • Cover – theme
  • Title page
  • Imprint page – copyright, disclaimer, ISBN, publishing/printing info
  • Dedication or acknowledgment 
  • Content page ie starters, soups, beef, chicken, fish, lamb, desserts
  • Foreword
  • Introduction
  • Utensils/Conversions
  • Range of Recipes
  • Special ingredients – Local Suppliers
  • Glossary of terms
  • Source references
  • Biography and/or information about the photographer

5. Steps to Self-Publishing

The two leading e-book formats are .mobi (Kindle) and .epub (Ipad, Nook, Kobi e-readers)

  • download the Rolls-Royce software called Calibre – it’s free!
  • write your book in MS Word or
  • produce a clean html file
  • use proper paragraph formatting
  • no extra spaces or linefeeds except at paragraph end
  • if using MS Word save the book as filtered html (without extra MS Word details)
  • click & drag html document into Calibre window
  • allow e-book software to create table of contents from your hierarchy of headings
  • to transfer a .mobi file into a Kindle, plug Kindle into your USB port
  • Kindle appears as another disk drive
  • Copy .mobi file into directory where e-books stored

6. Ways to market your Cookbook

Personal marketing – Rotary Clubs, bookstore events, launches
Social networking – Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn
Personal networking – connect with people personally
Create a website –
Basic publicity – online media, TV & radio show, SAFM’s Shado Twala – Otherwise
Media relations – press kit, book reviews, testimonials, targeted approach
Direct marketing – email, direct mail, book catalogues, bookmarks
Blogging – text post, images, embedded video, podcast installments
Culinary festivals, trade shows, Franschhoek Literary Festival
Awards – International Association of Culinary Professionals Gourmand World Cookbook Awards; James Beard Awards and Tabsaco’s McIlhenny Company Tabasco Community Cookbook Awards

7. Cost of Self-Publishing

Booksellers depending on whether they are small, medium or large expect a substantial discount when selling your book. For the large bookseller it’s 45%, a medium bookseller’s discount is 40%, whilst a small bookseller asks for 35% discount.

8. Facebook Foodie: Recipes of the Liked and Shared

To compile my cookbook I produced a:

  • MS Word document
  • The food photos were shared in a DropBox folder for the graphic designer
  • cover photograph taken by Craig Scott
  • food photos taken using my IPhone or Sony Cyber-shot HD 10xOptical zoom with GPS
  • own content
  • acknowledgements


9. For more information please give me a shout on:

mobile: 082 924 6349

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