There are many times when you may need to know about what scope of catering services are available for your particular needs. Whatever your needs for catering services though, you will not need to go any further than to contact Prue Leith Catering Services of Centurion. Prue Leith Catering came into being in April 2005 and was the brainchild of Tiny Barnetson and Graham Ledger. Nine years earlier Tiny and Graham started the Prue Leith College of Food and Wine just a few blocks away in the picturesque Centurion garden suburb of Hennopspark. The Prue Leith College was started after an obvious problem appeared in South Africa’s catering industry. Following the lifting of sanctions against the country, there was an inevitable surge in the tourist trade, and many catering establishments, in particular hotels, restaurants and game lodges, found themselves with an acute shortage of well disciplined and highly qualified catering staff. With this shortage in mind, a training curriculum was put into place that was to satisfy the needs of the catering industry’s shortage. What did the average foreign tourist to South Africa look for in the catering industry? They wanted excellent quality, they wanted to try out South African (and possibly Pan African) foods, and they wanted to supplement their dining with some of South Africa’s finest wines. All of this was thought of when putting together the college’s curriculum.
After passing their Matric Examinations (at least at Standard Grade) and if they have reached the age of eighteen, prospective students may apply for acceptance into the college. Before being accepted they must attend and pass an interview and complete a comprehensive questionnaire. If accepted they will start the college course in either January or July. The course lasts for eighteen months and covers three six-month semesters. During this time students get a comprehensive look at the catering industry from all aspects. They learn about management, finance and the organization of a kitchen, menu planning and, of course, how to cook. The underlying philosophy of the college is that, in order to keep their academic knowledge, it should be put into practice as soon as possible. The students therefore get extensive exposure to the actual workplace as soon and as often as is practical, all under close supervision.
Students at the College gain their practical experience in several ways. The first experience they get is to work in the College’s own restaurant, Prue Leith’s. From day one at the college students are rostered into either a day or an evening shift. Evening shifts are spent working in Prue Leith’s. Here the students take orders, prepare, cook and serve fine food, as well as acting as Maître d’Hotel, Wine Waiter and Front of House. In their final semester students are placed in selected gale lodges, restaurants or hotels throughout South Africa and even as far away as Ireland.
It was partly as a result of student requests and partly because of Market demand, that the College trustees decided to start a catering services company in 2005. Students gain further valuable experience working in the catering company before they graduate. The catering company seeks to imitate the superiority of the College in the catering services it provides for its customers.