So you think you can cook?

January 18, 2012 (Last Updated: January 11, 2019)

… and do you want to sharpen your skills and become a chef? We’ve gathered all the information you need on some of South Africa’s top chef schools

Prue Leith Chefs Academy
Established in 1997 by globally renowned chef, restaurateur and author Prue Leith, the academy in Centurion has trained world-class chefs who have worked in famous kitchens across the globe, including those of Jamie Oliver, the Roux brothers and Gordon Ramsay. The curriculum was developed by Prue in response to industry demands and standards.

Courses on offer include:

  • Grande diploma in culinary studies and wine, 18 months, R96 600.
  • Prue Leith/ALMA (Italy) international
  • joint programme – professional chef of Italian cuisine is conducted in partnership with Italian culinary academy ALMA, 13 months, R181 875.
  • Diploma in culinary studies, 12 months on a part-time basis, R57 960.
    Diploma in patisserie, five months, R64 500.
  • Certificate in sugar craft, 12 sessions, R4 500.

Past graduate: Jessica du Plessis, coowner of Burnsides Café in Craighall. Call 012-654-5203, email at
[email protected] or visit www.prueleith.co.za.

Capsicum Culinary Studio
The cooking school was created in 2003 by former hotel manager Cheryl Nesbitt in order to fill the need for an affordable cooking school. Training is provided in six locations, namely Cape Town, Durban, Johannesburg, Centurion, Boksburg and Port Elizabeth.

Courses on offer include:

  • Diploma in hospitality management, two years, R79 900.
  • Diploma in food and beverage management, 10 months, R35 900.
  • International professional chef management diploma, two years, R118 900.
  • Certificate in food preparation and cooking, five months, R26 900.
  • Diploma in food preparation and cooking, five months, R60 900.
  • Diploma in patisserie, five months, R44 900.
  • Advanced diploma in culinary arts, five months, R14 900.
  • Entrepreneurship, full- and part-time, R7 900.

Past graduate: Angelique Orselli, sous chef at Serengeti Golf Estate. Call 086 111 2433 or visit
www.capsicumcooking.co.za.

The Swiss Hotel School
The curriculum is modelled on that of the Hotel School Bevoirpark in Zurich founded by Jürg Vontabel. The South African school was set up in 1995 and is based in Randburg.

Course offered:

  • Hospitality management diploma, three years on a full-time basis, R60 000 a year.

Past graduates: Maritz Jacobs, head chef at Reuben’s One&Only and Kevin Miller, senior chocolatier at Lindt Chocolate Studio. Call 011-789-9934 or visit www.swisshotelschool.co.za.

1000 Hills Chef School
Based in Botha’s Hill in Kwazulu-Natal, the school was established in 2004 and is run by chef Sharmaine Dixon.

Courses on offer include:

  • City & Guilds culinary arts and food preparation diploma and pastry diploma, R89 000.
  • City & Guilds advanced patisserie, R68 000.

Past graduate: Chris Brayshay, head chef at Toravaig House Hotel in Scotland. Call 031-777-1566 or visit www.thechefschool.com.

Butler’s Hotel School
Situated in Kimberley in the Western Cape, the school was created in 2009 and is run by executive chef Daniel Williams.

Courses on offer include:

  • Professional cookery certificate, six months, R25 000.
  • Professional cookery and food and beverage management diploma, one year, R40 000.
  • Professional cookery advanced diploma, two years, R40 000.

Past graduates: Richard Van Wyk, Western Cape Unilever Young Chef of

  • Higher certificate in hospitality management, one year, R59 280.
  • Advanced certificate in hospitality management, one year, R53 030.
  • Advanced diploma in hospitality education, one year full-time or two years distance education and online training, R8 640 per semester.
  • Advanced certificate in international culinary arts, six months, R35 500.
  • Diploma in culinary entrepreneurship, nine months, R48 200.
  • Diploma in international hospitality management, two years, see website for price breakdown.
  • Diploma in international culinary arts, two years, see website.

Past graduate: Alida Nel, housekeeping assistant manager at Majeka House in Stellenbosch as part of a management trainee term. Call 021-881-3792 or visit www.privatehotelschool.co.za.
HTA School of Culinary Art
Based in Johannesburg, the school was established in 1995 and is run by Stephen Billingham, president of the South African Chefs Association.

Course on offer:
Food preparation and culinary arts diploma, two years on a full-time basis, R44 000 per year.

Past graduates:
Andrea Mansfield, consultant at Party Design Events and Kelly McErlaine, chef de partie at Salon de Cuisine.

Infinity Culinary Training
Based in Pinelands in the WesternCape, ICT was created in 2009 to train unemployed people to allow them to find jobs in the hospitality industry.

Course on offer:

  • Basic general professional cooking offers the basic requirements for entry level positions in the South African food and hospitality industry, in addition to life skills, 12 weeks, free of charge.

Past graduate: Thobani Sokani, pastry chef and all-rounder at Caffe Milano. Call 072 297 3616 or visit www.infinityculinarytraining.co.za.

The International Hotel School
A division of the Three Cities hotel group, the school has campuses in Sandton, Durban and Cape Town as well as the Christina Martin School of Food and Wine in Durban.

Courses on offer include:

  • Christina Martin culinary arts programme, one year, R63 000.

Past Graduate: Dasen Sarugaser, junior chef at the Ocean Terrace restaurant at The Oyster Box Hotel. Call 021-555-6000 or visit www.hotelschool.co.za.

Silwood School of Cookery
Based in Rondebosch, Silwood is the country’s oldest cookery school. It was founded in 1964 by Lesley Faull and is now run by her daughter Alicia Wilkinson. Its graduates work in global kitchens, including those of Heston Blumenthal and Marco Pierre-White.

Courses on offer include:

  • Cordon bleu certificate course, three years on a full-time basis, R62 000.
  • Cordon bleu diploma course, R22 720.
  • Cordon bleu grande diploma, R2 420 (students can only attend if the above two courses have been completed).
  • Patisserie certificate, R30 000.

Past graduate: Judy Sendzul, owner of the Salmon Bar restaurant, bar, deli and bakery in Franschhoek. Call 021-686-4894, email [email protected] or visit www.silwood.co.za.

Institute for Hospitality Education (SA)
The school was set up in 1993 and is based in Greenpoint.

Courses on offer include:

  • Diploma in hotel operations and management, one year, R29 500.
  • Diploma in professional cookery, one year, R24 500.
  • Diploma in patisserie,12 weeks, R18 000.

Call 021-425-8469, email [email protected] or visit www.ihesa.co.za.

The Cape Town Hotel School
The school was established in 1991 and falls under the Faculty of Business at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology. Courses on offer include:

Courses on offer include:

  • Diploma in hospitality management and professional cookery, three years on a full-time basis,
    R65 000.
  • Diploma in hospitality management food and beverage, three years on a full-time basis, R65 000.

Call 021-440-5700, email [email protected] cput.ac.za/[email protected]or visit www.cput.ac.za.

 Chef School for Food and Wine
The school is an approved City & Guildscentre and is based in Krugersdorp. Courses on offer include:

Courses on offer include:

  • Diploma in food preparation and culinary arts, 18 months, R60 000.
  • Advanced diploma in culinary arts, 12 months, R20 000.

Past graduate: Robert McKenzie, sous chef at De Hoek Boutique Hotel in Magaliesburg. Call 011-665-5233 or visit http://thechefschoolsa.com.

SA Chefs Academy
The school opened in Observatory in Cape Town in 2004 and offers handson training by a team of five-star hotel chefs.

Courses on offer include:

  • Professional chef diploma, one year on a full-time basis, R89 347.
  • Chef diploma hot kitchen, six months on a part-time basis, R11 400.
  • Chef diploma pastry, six months on a part-time basis, R11 400.

Past graduate: Henrico Grobelaar, executive head chef at the 12 Apostles Hotel and Spa and current captain of the SA Culinary Team. Call 021-447-3168 or visit www.sachefsacademy.com.

Warwick’s Chef School
The school was opened in 1991 by Kevin Warwick. Based in Hermanus, the school aims to prepare young chefs for the hospitality industry by ensuring that they are competent in the basics of classic French cuisine and contemporary cooking.

Course on offer:

  • Commis chef diploma, six months on a full-time basis, R43 500.
  • Past graduate: PJ Vadas, owner of The Round House.

Call 028-316-1166 or visit www.warwickschefschool.co.za.

Institute of Culinary Arts (ICA)
The school was established in 1995 in Stellenbosch and offers training based on classic gastronomic principles.

Courses on offer include:

  • ICA higher diploma in culinary arts, professional cheffing and patisserie, three years, R118 000.
  • ICA/Aleit higher diploma in events management, three years, R127 000.
  • ICA/City & Guilds internationaldiploma in culinary arts and patisserie, two years, R78 850.
  • ICA/City & Guilds international diploma in food preparation and culinary arts, 18 months, R64 950.

Past graduate: Petrus Madutlela, chef de partie at the Savoy Hotel in London and Unilever Foodsolutions Chef of the Year 2010. Call 021-885-1414 or visit www.icachef.co.za.

Tips for budding chefs

  • To become a chef, you need to be creative, artistic, patient, able to work well with people, have goodorganisational skills and be willing to work long hours under pressure.
  • Plan your chef career carefully. A few years in a large hotel kitchen will provide an excellent foundation to move your career in any direction.
  • Students should treat their first two years of employment as an extension of their studies. In other words, don’t worry about a low salary at first. With experience and dedication comes money.
  • After graduating, go straight into employment if possible rather than taking a holiday first. It is difficult to find employment in the new year when the season is winding down.

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