A Guide to Becoming a Professional Chef

There’s a great deal more to becoming a professional chef than talent, a love of and passion for food, important as these qualities are. Years ago, this might have been enough but today, most industry leaders are unanimous that proper training at a reputable cooking school and an accredited qualification is essential to excel.

In short, becoming a professional chef means qualifying at a professional institution, the higher its standards, the more widely accepted graduates will be. Courses, such as those offered by our leading chef academy, must be comprehensive, with course content that provides students with hands-on and theoretical knowledge and the financial aspects of running a restaurant or kitchen as a prosperous business venture.

Our Grande Diploma in Culinary Arts and Wine course includes Pan African and International cuisines, and Finance and Kitchen Management. Because pairing fine wines with food forms an integral part of the chef’s profession, we have the Cape Wine Academy present two additional courses – an Introduction to South African Wines and Wines of the World.

Covering and extending the practical aspect and goal of cooking school training, our students prepare and serve diners at our on-site restaurant, which is rated as one of the Top 100 fine dining establishments in South Africa, a worthy platform for producing gourmet cuisine.

Intensive training is based on classic French methods and hot, cold and pastry kitchen food preparation. The duration of the Grande Diploma course is 18 months of full time study. On completion, candidates need to pass our own exams to complete their local framework and also the City & Guilds examination, which is internationally accredited, enabling graduates to work at top establishments, anywhere in the world.

In fact, several of our graduates have been chosen to work in the kitchens of the Roux brothers, Gordon Ramsay and Jamie Oliver, to name a few. Locally, job advertisements often carry the proviso that the prospective employer will only consider applications from candidates who’ve trained at our cooking school.

It’s clear that job opportunities abound for our graduates, locally and overseas and our reputation is a source of pride, particularly since we developed our in-house courses in response to industry demands. A course best suited to students who are unable to study full time, is the Diploma in Culinary Arts, which spans 12 months’ part time study.

This diploma is designed for persons already working in the industry, who want to further their careers by obtaining additional training and a qualification, or for those who are inexperienced but want to qualify as a professional chef.

It should be noted that this course aims to train professional chefs and admission is not available to hobby cooks. Classic French methods, hot and cold and pastry kitchen disciplines form the basis of this course, which also includes Finance and Kitchen Management, again because it is aimed at the professional chef.

For the convenience of persons working in the hospitality field who want to obtain a recognised qualification, we offer our block release program, where part time students may complete a suitable modular block or block release format, while studying toward the Diploma in Culinary Arts. A list of credits is issued on successful completion of each module.

Our intensive 6 month, full time study Diploma in Patisserie is designed so that graduates are ready to move into entry level employment as a Pastry Chef immediately after qualifying at our cooking school. How many other careers offer such prospects?

The basic course principle teaches classic French methods with modern techniques, on successful completion of our exams and those of City & Guilds, our students have the skills, abilities and confidence to work in 5 star pasty kitchens, making them sought after in the hospitality industry.

No matter which course or speciality learners choose, they will be highly employable and sought after upon completion of their studies in becoming a professional chef, a field in which career opportunities all over the world beckon.