Meet The Team | Sophisticated Chef

Meet The Team

Sybil Doms


I grew up in the heart of the Robertson winelands in a family of great cooks and even greater food lovers. After school, I qualified in 2006 at the Institute of Culinary Arts in Stellenbosch. This allowed me to work in the kitchens of some of South Africa’s best-known and best chefs as part of my practical training, something that only strengthened my love for great food. After travelling abroad and being introduced to Europe’s most famous wines and qualifying as a sommelier, I returned to South Africa to join the world of food and wine media. This included food styling for several top publications such as Rooi Rose, Fair Lady Bride and Woolworths Taste. At the same time I continued to coordinate food and wine pairings for well-known wine estates such as L’Ormarins, Rupert and Rothschild, Graham Beck and De Wetshof.

Career highlights

  • Being awarded the prestigious sommelier scholarship at Waddesdon Manor in Buckinghamshire in England.
  • Attaining a level 2 distinction at The Wine & Spirits Education Trust in the UK.
  • Being appointed personal chef to the late Pietro Ferrero of Ferrero Rocher.
  • Launching Come Wine With Us, a social networking and wine marketing business, in February 2012 and growing it from one event per month to four.

With Sophisticated Chef I aim to bring together everything I have learnt and draw on my experience, as well as that of our team, to create memorable food experiences, imparting invaluable food and wine knowledge, and provide a personalised solution, whatever your needs.

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Vanessa Jayne Dorward

Chef, stylist and food designer

“One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.” – Virginia Woolf, A Room of One’s Own

Vanessa grew up in the Eastern Cape, and after finishing school, pursued a career in food. She attended The Institute of Culinary Arts in Stellenbosch for two years, graduating with a Grande Diploma in professional cooking and baking.

Vanessa travelled in Europe, working as a private chef, then moving on to London, where she worked as a chef at food & wine bar, Vinoteca, learning the skill of a daily changing menu, with wine pairings and the art and marriage of food & wine, as well as using fresh seasonal and local ingredients, under SA chef Carol Craddock.

Returning to SA, she again worked for Chef Pete Goffe-Wood at his restaurant Cassia on Durbanville wine estate, Nitida, under Chef Dan Evans, and also worked for the Caveau Group in Cape Town.

She then teamed up with Ilze Koekemoer for the design and creation of now popular restaurant, Dear Me, as well as it’s fine dining venue, The White Room, and rooftop bar, Tjing Tjing.

After winning Eat Out’s inaugural ‘Rising Star’ award in 2013 as well as being nominated Eat Out’s Top 20 South African Restaurants in 2014, she moved to PE to be with her fiancé Mark, heading up new eatery/cafe, Savages, at the renovated Victorian Veranda on Park Drive.

Her food is elegant comfort food and Vanessa is an ambassador for sustainable practices in the restaurant industry, as well as ethical farming practices. She focuses on creating close relationships with her suppliers and creates awareness around growing your own produce, farming ethically and eating & cooking seasonal and sustainable ingredients.

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Maryke Reuvers


Maryke is based in Cape Town, South Africa where she works as a freelance chef. She has been in the food industry for over 18 years and has both local and international clients.

She has worked on various commercials, print campaigns and cookery books in a food styling capacity and she also creates private meals for companies and private clients. Her work has taken her on many international destinations including the wilderness of the Russian Arctic, the Caribbean, Greek Islands and the South of France to name a few.

Other passions in her life include Photography, Writing and Exploring.

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Vallimma Pillay

Head of Food Prep, Waiters & Assistant Private Chef

“People who love to eat are always the best people.” – Julia Child

I have been in hospitality industry since 2006. I’ve had the pleasure of working with private chefs like Matt Manning of One Ingredient and Tjaart Walraven, and have also worked at Beau Constantia where I explored different canapés to pair with a variety of wines. I began working with Sybil in 2010 and help her to create and provide a service Sophisticated Chef’s clients never forget. Assisting private chefs in our clients’ homes is something I really love and I take great pride in this position.


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