Gauteng is a Province of South Africa rich in corporate offices, especially in the heart of Johannesburg. Corporate functions, wedding receptions and sports dinners occur with great regularity, and most of these functions call for an outside caterer, since only a few body corporates have their own in-house caterers.
There are plenty of caterers in Gauteng, some large organizations and some small companies that cater for the small function. Using as an example a wedding with one hundred guests, caterers can be expected to organize almost the entire function for you. They will cater for the food, the drink, floral arrangements, draping and décor, wedding cake, photographs, music, invitations, child-care and parking attendants. Add to this list the venue for the reception, be it a hall or a garden and, yes, even the chapel. Now it is very easy for anyone to become a caterer you might think. All you have to do is to purchase a few pots and pans, some cutlery, crockery and you’re in business. But it is not quite as easy as that. You also have to have the knowledge – you have to know exactly what you’re doing, and for that you need to go to a catering college, one that covers the entire catering curriculum.
Tucked away in a quaint little garden suburb in Centurion is the Prue Leith Catering College. This college offers what is probably the most comprehensive catering course in the whole of Gauteng, in fact the whole of South Africa. Students start at the college after they leave school, and should possess at least a standard grade Matric pass and be seventeen years of age. This catering course starts twice a year, in January and in July, and the course lasts eighteen months over three semesters. One of the unique features of this college is that it has its own restaurant. Not only that, the restaurant has been rated in the top-ten of Gauteng’s restaurants and the top-twenty in the whole of South Africa. The restaurant has also been awarded the Blaizon from the Chaîne des Rotisseurs. This is all very significant as the food is prepared, cooked and served by students of the college. As early as the second week of their course, students commence work in the Odd Plate Restaurant, and the proof of their ability lies in the accolades won by the restaurant. In addition to the normal lectures and practicals, students spend time cooking in the college Boma, where they are trained in the arts of Bush cooking and African cuisine. Part of the course is taken up with the Cape Wine Academy Certificate course, and students must complete this course within a course in order to graduate from the college.
On graduating from the college students are presented with a Diploma that is recognized throughout the world. These are the caterers of the future. They will have already spent two eight-month periods working as caterers in prestigious game lodges, restaurants and hotels from Cape Town to the Cotswolds.