An important thing to have behind every business is a passion. Vanilla Zulu Culinary Adventures is the next iteration of the original cooking school Melanie Townsend Alafaci‘s ran in South Africa. Starting to teach cooking classes in a humble granny flat, Melanie has found success in Brisbane where she has recently opened her new and improved location at Teneriffe.

Melanie’s culinary backstory is an epic tale of determination and steely guts. Growing up on sparse farms with little entertainment, she was gifted a cooking book that her brothers would read aloud to her so she could concoct masterpieces. She grew into what she describes as a ‘fun, lighthearted, sassy Afro Australian Chef.’ Like any good chef, Melanie delights in sharing food with the people around her. Whilst traveling around the world tasting cuisine, she would hand out exotic berries, pheasants and other delicacies to her eager friends. Melanie’s creativity has proven a major impact on her business. She specialises in culinary bling and making basic food staples versatile and beautiful, as well as hosting team building cooking classes.

With four business innovation awards, voted as one of Brisbane’s best cooking schools and continuously growing her business, Melanie has dived head first into stardom with her sparkling personality and goals. Having outgrown our Wilston base, the move was a must and the Teneriffe-Newstead precinct ticked all the boxes. Demand for our public classes continues to grow. Our MasterChef-inspired nights and Team Building events have become very popular, especially for the corporate executive market.  It’s lots of fun and the Vanilla Zulu venue is free,” Melanie said. “This is not a boutique retail shop, it is a hard-working functional kitchen! You learn plenty of practical tips including time management and where to find the best ingredients. But most importantly, we’re here to have fun.”