The internationally renowned chef’s college, Prue Leith School of Food and Wine, came into existence in 1996 due to a shortage of trained chefs in South Africa. Tourism was growing in leaps and bounds and with it lodges hotels and resorts. All of these were in need of well-trained professional chefs that could create food of international standard. Importing chefs from overseas meant there was little control over who would arrive and what their abilities would be. Thus a chef’s college was born that till today train up chefs of the highest caliber.
The involvement of Prue Leith, a guru in the international food industry, ensured that this would not be just any chef’s college. The 18 month Diploma course on offer is based on the classical French method of cooking and extremely comprehensive. Training is given in Cold Kitchen, Hot Kitchen and Pastry Kitchen. The latter is of Master Class level. Students also get trained in the financial aspects of running a kitchen and restaurant. Menu costing, profit and other aspects concerning finances are part of the chef’s college curriculum.
The campus is based in Centurion, Gauteng where the chef’s college trades under the name of Prue Leith Chef’s Academy. It boasts the Leith Restaurant, one of the top 100 restaurants in the country. Students are responsible for running every aspect of the restaurant – under the watchful eyes of professional chefs. Trainees have to take orders, prepare, cook and serve food and take turns as wine waiters, front of house and Maitre d’Hotel.
The advisory panel of this renowned chef’s college reviews the curriculum regularly to ensure it stays on track with international trends.