Anyone interested in getting a catering education, need look no further that Prue Leith College. Their internationally accredited Diploma course will give students the correct training and exposure to start their career in catering. The Prue Leith Group consists of three interlinked divisions, namely the award-winning Prue Leith Restaurant, Prue Leith College and, as of April 2005, the Prue Leith Catering Company. Students of the college are integrated into both the restaurant and catering company, and during the 18-month course, they will receive comprehensive practical and academic training in all aspects of the catering and culinary industries. Located in Centurion, a top education in catering is accessible to students from both Pretoria and Johannesburg.
At Prue Leith, the secret to a complete catering education lies in the practical application of academic knowledge. Once students have studied the intricacies of menu planning and costing, stocktaking, kitchen management and preparation of various dishes, they will be given the opportunity to apply what they have learnt during “Menu Week” at the restaurant. During this week, senior students are required to ‘run’ the restaurant. They will be responsible for creating their own special dishes, as well as ensuring that ingredients are ordered in time, supervising and assisting junior students, and preparing, cooking and plating meals. In order for students to have a broad understanding of all aspects of the catering and restaurant industry, they will also gain experience working with customers in the restaurant. The tasks assigned to them will include greeting and seating guests, taking customer orders and serving food and wine. Knowing how to correctly lay a table seems like a small thing, but it is because of the Prue Leith graduates’ intimate knowledge of such small details that they are so highly regarded in the catering industry.
During the second and third semesters of the course, students are given the chance to spread their wings in the catering and culinary fraternity though practical placements, arranged by the college. Students are placed with lodges, restaurant and hotels across the country, where they will be exposed to different types of establishments and kitchen organisation, and learn and gain inspiration from some of South Africa’s top chefs. This type of exposure will be invaluable to the students’ catering education, as well as allowing them to make new contacts within the industry. Many superior students have come out of an internship such as this with an excellent reference, or even an offer of a job upon completion of the course.
To further the students’ catering education even more, they will also have the opportunity to work with the Prue Leith Catering Company, which offers an upmarket catering service for weddings, parties, conferences and other functions. Students will assist in preparing and serving meals for weddings, parties, conferences and other functions catered by the company, adding another dimension to their education in catering.
Be it in the classroom, kitchen or dining room, Prue Leith is committed to excellence and passion in education, service and, of course, culinary offerings. This commitment is passed on to students, assuring that all graduates are able to demonstrate their skills immediately to prospective employers. Students will leave the college with a catering education that forms a firm foundation to their budding careers, and opens up the possibilities for them to work in any sector of the food industry.