SONY DSCHello…I’m Ilana Sharlin Stone.
I found my umami in Cape Town. The multi-cultural city that takes the cake when it comes to natural beauty. And the place where I live with my husband and two teenage daughters. Once, I was a chef from LA. I moved here to open and run a restaurant called Rustica, which became an overnight sensation and iconic place to eat. Always, I’ve been a writer. Since Cape Town became my home in 1994, the year South Africa became a democracy, I’ve witnessed a culinary revolution. This is what I’ll be blogging about…Cape Town’s abundant umami.
Over the years, my writing has appeared in the US: Life & Thyme, Zester Daily, Bon Appétit, Gourmet, Food & Wine, Whetstone Magazine, LA Times, Metropolitan Home, Budget Travel, travelandleisure.com; and in South Africa: Sunday Times, Sunday Independent, Woolworths TASTE and Sawubona.
Finding Umami in Cape Town is not a recipe blog or a restaurant review site. It’s a window on life in Cape Town, viewed through food-obsessed glasses. Not just because I love food, but because food tells you a lot about a place and its culture. It’s also what brings people together, and no matter where you live, we could all use a lot more of that.
Expect to read about samoosas and foams and potjies and farmers’ markets and house-cured bacon and fish and chips and home-baked rusks and spekboom. And a lot of other things, along with the people who make them.
So what does umami, the fifth taste defined by the Japanese, have to do with Cape Town? It’s the earthiness, savouriness and depth in the blood of the growers, chefs and cooks and in the bite of the food itself. What can I say….food just tastes amazing here!

Want to talk? E-mail me at ilana@findingumami.capetown.
NOTE: Umami is the fifth flavor sensatioin (sweet, sour, salty and bitter are the other four). Savoury and complex, it is found in foods as diverse as tomatoes, Parmesan cheese, mushrooms, bone marrow and anchovies.