Zola Nene is a South African celebrity chef and author best known as the resident chef on the SABC3 breakfast show Expresso.
After studying B.Comm law for two years, she realised that it was not the career path that she wanted so she applied for a holiday working visa and went to England, where she looked for a job in a professional kitchen. She worked in a brasserie in Cheshire for two years, first as a hot section chef, then as the head pastry chef.
After her two-year stint in England, Zola returned to South Africa and enrolled at the Institute of Culinary Arts in Stellenbosch. During her studies she worked with chefs including Margot Janse of Le Quartier Francais and Chris Erasmus of Pierneef a la Motte. She specialised in Food Media in her third year of studies and worked at Top Billing magazine as a food assistant for six months.
After graduating, she moved to Johannesburg and worked in a large catering company as catering manager. It was around that time when Expresso was conceptualised. When the producers were looking for a Food Stylist for the show, they called her up and offered her the job. She started working on the Expresso Morning Show on SABC3 in October 2010 as the resident chef on the show.
In February 2016 she released a cookbook called Simply Delicious.
In 2017, Zola joined the BBC Lifestyle reality competition series The Great South African Bakeoff for its third season as a judge, replacing the departed Shirley Guy.
In 2019 she was a resident judge on the SABC3 reality competition The Taste Master, which she co-hosted with chef Gregory Czarnecki.
She also judged on 2021's Season 2, subtitled The Baking Edition, alongside baking entrepreneur Fritz Schoon.
In 2020 she headlined the South Africa episode of Season 2 of Gordon Ramsay: Uncharted 2.
In 2022 she was announced as one of the three judges on Season 4 of M-Net's revived Masterchef South Africa.