There are a number of very good culinary schools, culinary courses and culinary institutions throughout South Africa. Here’s a list of some of the most popular and well-known which will all award you with an internationally recognised City & Guilds accredited qualification.
1. The 1000 Hills Chefs School
Situated 40kms outside Durban, in the beautiful surroundings of Valley of a 1000 Hills, this lovely school provides students with all the ingredients for the duration of the course and well over a 100 recipes for their recipe file. The one-year intensive course covers all aspects of the chefing industry as well as pastry skills, and the school’s students will obtain internationally recognised diplomas in patisserie and food preparation and culinary arts. A second year advanced course is also available, where students specialise in advanced patisserie work – including cheese making, sausage making and beer brewing.
2. Prue Leith Chefs Academy
Situated in Pretoria Prue Leith is regularly rated as the finest chefs training institution in South Africa by top chefs in the country. In addition to the high quality of education, students are also taught using only the finest quality ingredients from around the world – such as Iranian caviar, Italian truffles, French frog’s legs, foie gras and Belgian couverture chocolate. Offering an intensive full-time 18-month course divided into three semesters, students enjoy classic French training in hot, cold and pastry kitchens and specialist subjects such as Pan African cuisine, spice route studies, finance and kitchen management. Also, Cape wine master Clive Torr offers the Cape Wine Ambassadors course.
3. The Culinary Academy
The Culinary Academy gives you the opportunity to pursue your passion for food in the heart of the Cape’s winelands. TCA says “living on a wine estate whilst learning everything about being a chef, from harvesting, tasting and understanding the wine making process to planting and watching your own vegetables grow – knowing that your dishes contain the freshest produce and are made in the healthiest environment, gives our students the advantage others can’t.” The school offers a 15-month Advanced Food & Wine Chefs Diploma, a Diploma in Hospitality Management & Food Studies as well as The Grande Diploma in Good Food, Fine Wine and Hospitality Management. And each month the Culinary Academy hosts a themed workshop for members of the public.
4. Silwood School of Cookery
Silwood graduates can be found in kitchens worldwide – with celebrity chefs such as Jamie Oliver and Gordon Ramsay. With 44 years of recognition of their qualifications, Silwood in Cape Town awards the internationally accepted Silwood Grande Diplome after three years of training. Silwood is proud to be the school chosen by Woolworths to train the recipient of their Taste Magazine Bursary. Offering comprehensive full-time courses – a First Year Certificate Course, a Second Year Diploma Course and the Third Year Grande Diplome – Silwood is South Africa’s oldest cookery school and has since its inception remained a small family-run business. The school offers a broad based culinary education and is surrounded by spacious organic gardens where students relax between lessons and pick and use their home grown herbs and vegetables.
5. Institute of Culinary Arts
This school’s comprehensive and specialised training is based on classic gastronomic principles, coupled with innovative thinking and creative flair. The internationally recognised courses offer an essential culinary qualification necessary to start a career in any professional kitchen and restaurant – and range from 9-month, 1-year and 18-month, to 2-year and 3-year diplomas. Located in the beautiful Stellenbosch winelands, the ICA promises to prepare you for any challenge you might meet in a culinary arts career – whether you want to start your own catering company or restaurant, work in product development, hospitality management, the wine and beverage industry, or even exploring food writing and photography.
6. Christina Martin – School of Food & Wine
The Christina Martin School of Food and Wine, founded 38 years ago, has gained international recognition for its renowned One Year Intensive Chef and Patisserie Diploma Courses. Located in Westville, Durban, classes are taught by a team of highly skilled, classically trained chefs who emphasise the rich heritage of French cuisine but who also encourage students to develop their own palate, style and culinary knowledge in a unique, multicultural learning environment. Other courses are also available – such as wine courses, a professional cake icing course and a French language course which include all the French cooking terminology, simple grammar and vocabulary.
7. South African Chefs Academy
The SA Chefs Academy in Cape Town specialises in preparing student chefs for entry to the five-star hotel and restaurant environment. There’s a one-year diploma course as well as a part-time block release (certificate, diploma or pastry) for those students already employed in a kitchen and seeking an internationally recognised qualification. The SA Chefs Academy is where you’ll be trained by professional chefs on a daily basis and you’re also guaranteed a job interview on graduation. The SA Chefs Academy also offers lifestyle cooking classes as well as gastronomic euphoria evenings – where absolutely no cooking experience is needed, but a sense of humour is mandatory.
8. The Fusion Cooking School
Situated in Durban, Fusion offers a wide range of specialised courses and diplomas, such as a 3-month Boutique Hospitality Certificate in Global Cuisine – ideal for those owning guesthouses and B&Bs. Apart from the Diploma and Advanced Diploma in Global Cuisine and Culinary Theatre, the lifestyle cooking classes, team-building days, catering courses and theme dinners are also popular activities available at this institute. You name it – Fusion’s got it! Celebrated chefs Shaun Smith and Carryn England – whose motto is cook better, eat better, live better – promote a fun, healthy, every-day lifestyle eating experience with an emphasis on nutrition.
9. Capsicum Culinary Studio
Capsicum Culinary Studio is the largest private chef training school in Southern Africa and has schools in Cape Town, Pretoria, Durban and Johannesburg. Capsicum is not interested in producing clones of celebrity chef cooking styles. Their learning philosophy is that through experimentation, playing with food, fun, and expression of creative individuality within a professional, structured learning environment, excellence is born. A large number of Professional Qualifications, along with an Industry Targeted Course and a Fun Course, as well as the fact that it’s available in South Africa’s four main cities, makes Capsicum a popular destination among both locals and foreigners looking for a career in culinary arts.