Ilse van der Merwe, October 2019 (self portrait)

I am Ilse van der Merwe – a true enthusiast of the culinary world and all of it’s magical chambers. Welcome to my digital space where I love to cook, write, create and explore.

In the beginning of 2011, I started this blog as a tiny foot in the door of the food industry, while still fully immersed in my previous career as a music booking agency owner. I figured it out bit by bit, learning the basics of WordPress and slowly making food-friends online. The blog has always been my personal play pen – a creative platform where I could write about the food that I loved to cook and share it with like-minded people. Although my initial dream was to host a tv show in the food scene, I quickly realized that my blog would become a very important online portfolio and create a necessary social presence for me. Opportunities arrived in the form of recipe development, food writing, reviews, social media content writing and (to my delight) tv cooking. I closed my booking agency and decided to give it a full-time shot. What followed was the beginning of a tough but very fulfilling journey.

It is a tremendous pleasure to be working as a food writer, content creator and cook in the SA food landscape – a competitive and dynamic environment. I have collaborated with photographer Tasha Seccombe since 2012 and you’ll see many of her photographs here. She’s one of a few photographers that also have a great eye for styling, so where I cook/plate/style the food, she’s mostly the one behind the backgrounds & lighting. After finally buying my first basic DSLR camera in 2017, I’ve started to post more of my own photographs. I’ve been shooting with a Canon EOS RP mirrorless camera since 2020 and, while still in the process of learning as much as I can, slowly becoming more confident in my solo photography.

My dream of hosting and co-producing a tv series finally became true in February 2019, when #Klankbord aired on Via (DSTV 147) – an Afrikaans lifestyle programme where incredible fine dining destinations were paired with the best of local music. A second series followed in 2020. These have been some of the most personally enriching experiences of my career.

I feel fortunate and thankful to be working as a food creative on a full time basis today, based in one of the most beautiful towns in the world, Stellenbosch. I love every second of every bite, every word and every shoot. My husband and daughter have been on this ride by my side every step of the way, supporting my passion without limits.

Contact me via email: [email protected]

(All text, food preparations, recipes and photographs on this blog done by Ilse van der Merwe since January 2011, unless mentioned otherwise. Photography by Tasha Seccombe credited where applicable. All rights reserved.)

About my reviews & features:

I enjoy discovering new restaurants, newly appointed chefs, new seasonal menus, new products and exciting new destinations. I only do reviews on invitation, and will then consider if it fits my audience and my schedule. I don’t publish negative reviews, so will only write about an experience or product if I have something positive to say. All views and opinions are my own. Keep in mind that I prefer bringing a partner along for restaurant reviews – I believe it ensures a rounded experience, similar to what regular patrons/visitors will experience.











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  1. I say cheers to that! The world of foodies is wonderful and very exciting. Looking forward to reading more about your food and wine life at Stellenbosch!

  2. Keep up the blogging, its a wonderful journey and I look forward to seeing your posts

    1. Thanks Sam! Great to see you here! 🙂

  3. Ek is seker ek sal iets kan ruik uit jou oond as ek op die agterstoep staan !
    Kan nie wag om nog te lees nie 🙂

    1. Ek sal jou moet begin oornooi om al die eetgoed te kom uittoets! 🙂
      Check julle binnekort. xx

  4. wowweee, alles lyk so so heerlik! Jy’t ‘n besonderse talent! en daai pavlova sal ek moet probeer

    1. Maré! Het nounet jou site ook gaan check, en dis beautiful!! Wow, super professioneel! Ek sal moet kom tips vang! xx

  5. I would love to chat to you about an idea I have in mind for a Client of mine – Sasko Flour.
    Please can you send me an email with your details so that I can contact you about this.

    Thank you very much!

    Kind regards
    Dominique Harmse
    [email protected]

  6. I am glad I found this site. I love food as much as you do and people can never figure out why I love to cook, especially make up my own recipes. Nothing ever tastes the same twice. I think we foodies enjoy to eat all foods of all varieties from all nationalities. And, healthy to top it off. Will keep checking the site often. Keep up the good work. Sig in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada

    1. Dear Sig, thanks so much for your message! My blog is created out of pure love and passion for food, and it is fantastic to find more people who feel the same – on the other side of the world! Let me know if you also have a blog, I would love to check it out. If you don’t have one, it’s maybe time to start one…

  7. No website and no blog – no time. Will continue to read yours.

  8. Hi daar! Jou blog is super awesome! Ek werk vir die TV-program Pasella en ons wil op 1 en 2 Februarie ‘n kosinsetsel skiet saam met 3 kosbloggers in die Kaap omgewing. Die tema vir die program is MUIS en ons wil dus kyk hoe 3 bloggers ‘n dis demonstreer op kamera met ‘n minder bekende kaassoort.

    Sou jy dalk belangstel om deel te neem?

    My e-pos adres is [email protected]. Indien jy meer wil weet pop vir my ‘n mail en dan chat ons oor die details!

    Vriendelike groete,

    021 700 1050

  9. Hi there, The Red Fox

    I would like to make contact with you regarding the Eat In DStv Food Network Fresh Produce awards.

    If possible, can you please send me your contact details?

    Thank you in advance.

    Kind Regards

    1. Hi Anita, thanks for your message. You are welcome to contact me on [email protected]. I look forward to hearing from you!

  10. Wishing you all the best on your new adventure..
    You look like you’ve been doing this all your life, calm and collected..Great!
    I’ve just discovered (during the December holidays) a new hobby at the age of 43’ and being a male and never baked in my life..I’m Loving it’
    Thanx for your inspiring pumpkin cake!

    Keep it up!

    Wentzel ‘Melville Johannesburg’

    1. Dear Wentzel
      What a fantastic message! Thanks so much for your kind words. It is amazing to be following your dream, or finding a new hobby that you really love. Food and cooking is such an wonderfully positive thing in my life, and it’s so great to hear that you also enjoy it. Keep on baking, you’re going to love this journey!

  11. Jy moet n boek uit bring ilse!!!! dit lyk scrumptious!

    1. Wow, Lauren, dankie vir die groot kompliment! Ek sal baie baie graag ‘n boek wil publiseer, hopelik in lyn met die tv-reeks wat ons gaan skiet later die jaar. Jy moet duimvashou dat als uitwerk – baie exciting jaar wat voorle! 🙂

  12. Thank you for this blog and sharing your passion for food. I am inspired to be more creative in the kitchen 🙂

    1. Hi Tamryn, it is just my pleasure! And so great to hear that my blog has inspired someone on the other side of the screen. 🙂

  13. Wow, great blog!
    I agree, you should do a book!
    What new food show, yaaay! Sounds awesome, what is it about?


    1. Thanks so much Thomene! I’ll tell everyone more about the tv show when our sponsorship gets finalised – in the very near future! I’m so very excited. 🙂

  14. hello, your post is great. keep going and let more and more people vistit your blog regularly. check this site it may help you to promote your blog!!! there is a link in main menu called “Punch yourseklf”, once you are logged in, u can submit your blog/site there 🙂 anyway all the best 🙂

    1. Thanks Rishad, will check it out!

  15. Hi Ilse, please may I have your e mail address, I would like to invite you to a murder mystery evening at Five Flies, thanks Martina

    1. I’ll send you an email with all my details. x

      1. Please i alwys follow your recipes but i cannot find this one the recipe of your chicken pie Please and i also want to get you recipes by e-mail I love your recipes

        1. Thanks Sandra! Here’s the link for the chicken pie:
          You can subscribe to receive emails everytime I publish a new recipe by filling in your address on the right hand side of my blog – there is a subscription option. 🙂

  16. Colleen Conradie

    How do you stay thin with all your delicious food and cakes? I am happy to hear about your TV Show but I think a book would be great please 🙂

    1. Hi Colleen! I’m lucky enough to be 1.90m tall, so I think I have more “space” for food than other people! 🙂 And I like to run about 3-4 times a week. I don’t believe in depriving myself of anything, otherwise I just get more cravings. The golden rule is moderation! And don’t forget to indulge every now and then. 😉

  17. Hi, stumbled accross your blog looking for a receipe for chocolate peppermint crisp as my SA hubby has mis-placed his mum’s. I’ve just popped the tart in the fridge and looking forward to surprising him with it and a taste of SA tomorrow! I love your style, it’s so easy to follow and your dishes all sound delicious! Many thanks, Jo, UK.

    1. Hi Jo! Thanks for your lovely comment – hope you love the pepperment crisp tart as much as I do! 🙂

  18. Gunsteling, gunsteling, gunsteling blog! Volgende stap: ‘n boek?

    1. Baie dankie Theo! Ek sal mal wees daaroor om ‘n boek te doen, hopelik in lyn met die komende tv reeks! Ek dink al lankal daaraan. 🙂

  19. Well done on your new website Ilse – looks stunning and so professional. A real feast for the senses with all the beautiful photos, and your blogging is top-notch – so easy to read and full of passion. And the recipes…(Swoon). So special watching this baby growing, and wishing you all the success you so richly deserve! Xxx

    1. Ag Nicci, thanks so much for your message! I really appreciate it so much. I’m loving every second of this journey – so happy to be doing what I really love! 🙂

  20. Hi do you have a cooking class? I’d love to join. I tried the Sasko Swiss roll yesterday, the flavor was perfect but the cake just would not roll. What a flop! Any tips?

    1. Hi Belinda, I’ll announce the next upcoming cooking classes soon – apologies for the delay! Also, for the swiss roll: don’t worry too much if it breaks, it’s part of the charm! But try to roll it while it is still hot and leave it to cool while rolled up. Then open it up very carefully, fill and roll up again. 🙂

      1. Brilliant thanks! Look forward to it, very much!

  21. Hi Ilse
    Just found your blog and it makes me so nostalgic for everything South African. We moved to the US in December last year and I am hosting a proudly South African dinner party for our new friends next weekend and your blog is giving me such great ideas! Thanks! Looking forward to following the adventures here.

    1. Hi Jane, so lovely to hear from you!! Hope you cook up a storm in the States! Show’em how we do it! 😉

  22. I am not a great food blog follower, probably because I prefer to rate myself as a good “buyer” of food, rather than a good “preparer” of food.

    But your blog is gorgeous, and I really love the images and what looks like the most yummy reviews.

    1. Thanks so much Celeste! Lovely to hear such great feedback from a good buyer of food! 😉

  23. Hello Ilse,

    I came across smoked Mozzarella purely by chance at a winelands market and scoffed the one and used the other to make your Eggs Benedict. What a treat!

    Which food stores, markets, stalls and shops do you frequent for ingredients? Please share your pantry secrets with us.

    Regards from a recent arrival to the Boland

    1. Hi Debs, welcome to the wonderful Boland!! As a food lover, you’re going to have a BLAST here, I can guarantee you that! There are many great shops here in Stellenbosch. The 2 supermarkets that I go to often are Die Boord Superspar and the other smaller fine foods Spar opposite Paul Roos – both stock a fantastic range of artisenal and delicatessen produce (like free range eggs from Farmer Angus from Spier). For bread you cannot beat De Oude Bank Bakkerij in Church Street. Otherwise it is always great to visit the Slow Food Market at Oude Libertas on Saturdays, and the new Route 44 Market at Audacia on Sundays. But we are so spoilt for choice when it comes to visiting actual producers in the greater Boland area, like Dalewood Fromage, Fairview, Bread & Wine (Neil Jewel’s charcuterie is the best in the country), etc. I think I must write a post on great shops/stalls/markets in my area!

      If I can let you in on a little secret, you’ll soon be able to buy the best produce in the whole Boland and Overberg area in my new shop in Somerset West – will post about it as soon as I have the opening dates etc. VERY exciting times this side!

  24. suppper Blog Ilse!!!

    1. Dankie Jaans! xxx

  25. What camera do you use to take your pics ?

    1. Hi Geenie, most of the pictures that you see are taken by Tasha Seccombe (they are credited accordingly) – I’ll have to ask her! But you can go to her site at For my own pictures (there aren’t too many, because I’m not a good photographer!) are taken with my very basic Fuji Finepics S700. 😉

  26. Margaret Engelbrecht

    I am arranging a 50th birthday party for my blind brother-in-law and would like to know if you are into catering and what areas.
    We stay in Walkerville, south of JHB and anticipate about 40 guests.
    Date: 30-Nov-13


    1. Hi Margaret, I only saw your message now!! So bummed that I didn’t see it earlier! I’m based in Stellenbosch, but if your budget allows is I am always willing to travel! 🙂 Yes, I do some private catering for smaller groups of people – I would have loved to do this function, so sorry that I missed your message. Hope you have a beautiful day! In furute, you are welcome to use my personal email: [email protected]

  27. […] Recipe, food preparation and text: Ilse van der Merwe […]

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  31. Hi Ilse. I’m tring to reach (call or email) Inke Gouws Sandri. Any chance you share her details with me. I’m organising a baking event at Nitida wine farm on 23 MArch and would love to invite her. REgards, Tamsin

    1. Hi Tamsin! I’ll email you Inke’s details!

  32. […] Food preparation and text: Ilse van der Merwe […]

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  41. […] This post was written and composed for Poetry stores by Ilse van der Merwe from The Food Fox. […]

  42. […] highlights in pictures – I’ve picked my favourites from the week, as taken by myself, Niamh Shields, Matt Long, Norman Roehlig, Keith Jenkins and Natalie Roos. You can track all of the […]

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  46. Hi! Have you opened up your Somerset West store yet? If so please can I get the details? I’d love to come support you!

    I hope you’ll be offering cooking classes from your new shop, Somerset West needs you!

    1. Hi Belinda! Thanks for checking in – I’m actually in the process of opening a new demonstration kitchen in Stellenbosch where I’ll be hosting dinner demos at night and have a kitchen retail section by day. I hope to be open from the second week in July, so please keep an eye on – I’m so excited about it! Hope to see you there. x

  47. […] Recipe, food preparation and text: Ilse van der Merwe […]

  48. […] Recipe, food preparation and text: Ilse van der Merwe […]

  49. Good day
    Please send your email address as I would love to invite you to the launch of our brand new kiddies food range made in Stellenbosch!
    Kind regards
    Leoni Siebrits

    1. Hi Leoni, my email is [email protected]. Thanks!

  50. […] Food preparation & text: Ilse van der Merwe […]

  51. […] Recipe, food preparation & text: Ilse van der Merwe […]

  52. Good morning Ilse,

    Happy Friday, I hope you are well?

    I wondered if you would be open to sponsored content on your blog or if you would be open to creating a dish with a key ingredient and share the post on your social media platforms?

    If this is something that you would consider, could kindly share your costing/rates with me please – for you to either, endorse a product or to create a dish with a specific ingredient and if you would be open to share it on your social media platforms?

    Thank you Ilse, I look forward to your soonest feedback here.

    Kindest regards,

    1. Hi Bavani, yes, absolutely. Please send me more info to [email protected], thank you.

  53. Hi Ilse,

    I wondered if you are open to creating dishes with a specific ingredient or if you are open to talking about a specific nutritional product that can be prepared and used in various ways?

    As such could kindly share your costing with me – for you to either, endorse a product or to create a dish with a specific ingredient and if you would be open to share it on your social media platforms?

    If you are open to this could you kindly let me know what your costs are to undertake the following please so that I can advise a client accordingly.

    Kindest regards,

  54. Marthie Swanepoel

    Goeiedag Ilse
    sal jy asb vir my jou ma se resep vir anysbeskuit met
    kondensmelk, gee wat jy op via gedoen het, my skoonma het dit ook altyd gebak, sy het nou alzheimers en die resep
    is nooit neergeskryf nie.
    Ek sal dit baaaie waardeer indien dit vir jou moontlik is
    Kimberley N C

  55. […] Recipe, food preparation, food styling & text: Ilse van der Merwe […]

  56. […] Recipe, food preparation, food styling & text: Ilse van der Merwe […]

  57. […] Recipe adaptation, food preparation, food styling & text: Ilse van der Merwe […]

  58. […] Recipe adaptation, food preparation, food styling & text: Ilse van der Merwe […]

  59. […] Recipe, food preparation, food styling & text: Ilse van der Merwe […]

  60. […] Recipe adaptation, food preparation, food styling & text: Ilse van der Merwe […]

  61. Hi Ilse

    I Came across your blog browsing the net for some interesting local influencers and thought it may be interesting to chat.

    We have just started a local lifestyle product called Socialite. Basically, our customers get the loyalty benefit of 20% – 25% off at any of our merchant partners, ranging from eateries to spa’s and outdoor activities.

    It would be great to hear your thoughts on the product and if you like, put together some sort of campaign.

    I look forward to hearing your thoughts.


    Barry van Lingen

  62. […] Recipe, food preparation, food styling & text: Ilse van der Merwe […]

  63. […] Recipe, food preparation, food styling & text: Ilse van der Merwe […]

  64. […] Recipe, food preparation, food styling & text: Ilse van der Merwe […]

  65. Hi llse, I’d love to invite you to an event-pls could you let me have your e-mail address?

    1. Hi Allison, you can send me an email on [email protected]. Thanks!

  66. […] Tasha Seccombe Photography  | Ilse: The Food Fox | Assistant:Paula Smit | Food Suppliers: Checkers | Sponsors: Poetry Stores | Thorne & Daughters […]

  67. Homesick South African working in Dubai! Just stumbled across your website, bookmarked so many recipes 🙂 just delightful, congratulations on succeeding in your art form = food.

    1. Thanks so much for your feedback, Stefnie! Have a beautiful festive season in Dubai!

  68. Did you know on the 16 January it’s National Rooibos Day!?

    Share your ROOIBOS moment on social media:

    Facebook @RooibosDay

    Twitter @RooibosDay

    Instagram @RooibosDag

    More info:

    Rooibos greetings Sanet & Marietjie

    Rooibos Tea House


  69. Hi Ilse,

    May I please have your contact details? I’d like to give you a quick work-related call.

    Kind regards

  70. Good afternoon
    I would like to request some information about the blog :

    *The number of unique users per month
    *The page impressions per month and
    *The cost of advertising on the blog ?

    Thank you

  71. […] cost. Well-known foodies such as The Food Alchemist Pete Goffe-Wood, The Kate Tin Katelyn Allegra, The Food Fox Ilse van der Merwe and the Italian La Terra dei Cuochi winner Lapo Magni will share their pairing secrets – […]

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