Becoming a Chef with Prue Leith Culinary College

For anyone considering becoming a chef, choosing the correct culinary college is of great importance. At Prue Leith culinary college, students are given all the fundamental training needed to become a chef. During the 18-month course, all students will be intimately involved in the running of the Prue Leith Restaurant, located in the Lyttelton Manor House on the college campus. Centrally located in Centurion, the college is only 20 minutes away from both Johannesburg and Pretoria, making it easily accessible to students.

Within the first two weeks of the first semester, students are entered into the work roster at Prue Leith restaurant. Here they will come into contact with and receive hands-on training in the various duties associated with becoming a chef. Some of the extensive practical experience that will be gained at the culinary college includes food and wine waitering service, customer order taking, serving at the bar, acting as maître d’ Hotel, stock taking and preparation of the weekly trading accounts. The practical instruction does, of course, also include work in the kitchen, where students will learn to correctly prepare, cook and plate meals, as well as plan and cost menus. Prue Leith Culinary College places much emphasis on the practical side of the course, ensuring that all graduates are comfortable in the kitchen and restaurant environment and can confidently start on their path to becoming a chef. As an extension of the involvement in Prue Leith Restaurant, the culinary college places student with some of the top restaurants and hotels around South Africa during the second and third semesters. During these two-month internships, students will have the chance to work under some of South Africa’s top chefs and experience different environments, techniques, and management styles. Invaluable to becoming a chef, the experience will broaden the students’ horizons and lead them closer to choosing the road they would like to take once they graduate.

Though the focus is very much on the practical, all the theoretical subjects essential to becoming a chef are also covered by the course. These subjects include menu planning, kitchen organisation, financial planning and management, kitchen terminology and French culinary terms, maintenance, care and use of equipment and utensils, organisation of the kitchen brigade and culinary departments and professional ethics. The preparation of various types of dishes, including vegetarian, international and South African dishes, is covered by the course. In addition to these cooking styles, the subject of bush cooking will be of great interest to anyone considering becoming a chef at a game lodge.

One of the modules included in the course, and one that is absolutely essential to anyone wanting to become a chef, is wine. Prue Leith culinary college includes the South African Wine Academy’s Certificate course as part of the compulsory modules. In this module, students will learn to select wines to suite their menu. Students will be tested on their ability to taste, describe and identify different cultivars, regions, and even individual winemakers. On the theoretical side, they will learn about the process of growing vineyards and making wine.

Upon completion of the course, students who have successfully passed all subjects, practicals and exams, will be awarded the Prue Leith Culinary College of Food and Wine Diploma. This diploma includes the South African Wine Academy Certificate and is internationally accredited. Students may also apply for their National Qualification from the Tourism, Hospitality, and Sports Education Training Authority (THETA), as all THETA modules are covered by the course. Should a student wish to acquire this useful addition to the College’s diploma, they may obtain the required THETA workbooks, which the College’s accredited staff will sign off as modules are successfully completed. With these three qualifications, as well as the extensive practical experience that the students will have gained over the duration of the course, every graduate of the Prue Leith Culinary College have all that they will need to start fulfilling their dreams of becoming a chef.