Cold Kitchen

The Cold Kitchen, which is otherwise known as the Garde Manger, is that area of the kitchen where cold foods are prepared for serving at table. Many of the food items that you find in the Cold Kitchen will have been cooked in the Hot Kitchen beforehand. The cold kitchen is where dressings, hors d’oeuvres, vinaigrettes and garnishes are prepared. Typically in the Cold Kitchen you will find:

  • Dairy products: milk, cheeses, butter and yogurt
  • Salad vegetables: lettuce, tomatoes, watercress, parsley etc.
  • Cold meats: ham, tongue, cold roasts, salami etc.
  • Cold desserts: fruit salads, fruits, ice creams etc.
  • Other: Patés, cold pastries etc.

In the cold kitchen you will normally find refrigerators, freezers and a walk-in cold room.

The cold kitchen, or garde manger, is studied in some detail by students at the Prue Leith College of Food and Wine and is one of the main groups in the content of the Diploma course. Graduates of the college leave with the Prue Leith Diploma, which is recognized the world over as an excellent qualification. The college can be found in the Centurion suburb of Hennopspark, halfway between Johannesburg and Pretoria. The college was started in 1996 by Tiny Barnetson and Graham Ledger in order to help plug the gap in the catering industry, which was experiencing a shortage of highly motivated and well-trained staff. This had come about because of a massive increase in the number of foreign tourists visiting South Africa after the lifting of economic sanctions. The aim of the college is to train students in all aspects of the restaurant business, including finance and management. Graduates are expected to be at the head of their field within a few years of completing the course.

Students can be accepted into the college after they have finished their formal education – they must have a Matric pass and have reached eighteen years of age. They must complete an application form and if accepted attend an interview board and fill in a questionnaire. Courses at the college start twice a year, in January and July, and last eighteen months over three six-month semesters. Students spend much of their time getting extensive exposure to the workplace. This is done in several ways. Within a short time of joining the college students are manning the Prue Leith Restaurant, an offshoot of the college in the college grounds. They take on all of the jobs of a restaurant including cold kitchen and hot kitchen, waiting at table, Maître d’Hotel, Wine Waiter and Front of House – all under the supervision of the restaurant manager. Further “hands-on” experience is gained when they are placed for a period of six months at various catering establishments in South Africa, Europe and the Middle East. In addition time is spent working in the college’s own catering business, Prue Leith Catering, situated a couple of kilometres from the college grounds. By the time students graduate with their diploma, they not only have a sound academic catering knowledge, but have also spent valuable time in the workplace.