Diane Kay

Chef

Being a woman chef in a professional kitchen speaks volumes. But that Diane Kay represented South Africa at the prestigious Bocuse d'Or competition held in Lyon, France, in January 2009 says far more. Kay trained for three months straight to prepare for the trials and she was the first female South African entrant in the long history of the country's participation. Kay is a graduate of the Prue Leith Chefs Academy in Centurion, south of Pretoria. She is based in McDonald Frimley Hall Hotel and Spa in Camberley, just outside London. She has worked in some of the best hotel kitchens in the country including the Arabella Western Cape Hotel and Spa in Hermanus and Sandton's Michelangelo. She was also a member of the national culinary team that represented South Africa at the Culinary Olympics held in Germany in 2004. She has won a number of accolades, including the Nestle Mini-Plated Salon Culinaire (junior section), the 2000 Jeune Commis Rotisseurs (first place in the Johannesburg regional finals) and the Easigas Young Chef of the Year (first place). Her plans for the future? "Just to keep cooking.� � Eamon Allan

Lunch spot: French Laundry, Yountville, California