Everyone who has ever prepared food has experienced some form of cooking training, no matter how basic or unintentional. This may consist of casual observation in Mother’s kitchen, following recipe instructions, asking a friend’s advice, watching a TV celebrity create dishes on the small screen or simply trial and error – one is said to learn by one’s mistakes.
Some are purposely taught by a parent because they show an interest, yet others claim to know nothing about cooking and “can’t even boil an egg”. Anyone can undergo cooking training and learn how to prepare food, but it takes a special person with a passion for all things food related to become a great chef.
Although a chef’s job is seen by most people as the preparation and presentation of tasty food, his/her task is far more complex, requiring many skills, abilities, characteristics and talents, and last but by no means least, a formal qualification from a recognised training academy.
The chef is in charge of everyone and everything in the kitchen. An ability to work with people, form them into a cohesive team, guide, mentor, and supervise them in all they do, ensure that all wear the correct uniform, and adhere to policies and high standards of hygiene form the basic people related responsibilities.
He/she plans menus, orders ingredients from preferred reliable suppliers, after negotiating the best prices and value. The menu must be discussed with the team to ensure that every member knows what is expected of them so that preparation and service can run like a well-oiled machine, with all dishes perfectly plated and ready simultaneously for each table.
Guests don’t like to be kept waiting for long once they’ve placed their order. Happy diners say “compliments to the chef” and that is one cornerstone of a prosperous restaurant’s business and a chef’s reputation. Managing a kitchen and preparing innovative meals for paying diners involves budgeting and sound financial management, another vital aspect of the restaurant’s business.
Great chefs are able to produce great favourite dishes, adapt timeless classics and create entirely new culinary masterpieces – having a good palate is a distinct advantage. As in the case of fashions, culinary trends constantly evolve and no top chef wants to fall behind, so keeping up to date with the latest worldwide food styles is a must.
Patience is said to be a virtue and the chef needs a lot of it. A passion for food and the industry is essential, because running a kitchen and restaurant is hard work and working hours are long and often hot, spent on one’s feet with other busy people in a relatively confined working space, where everyone is under pressure.
All this seems terribly daunting. Why would anyone put themselves through all this? Firstly, all this and more can be learned and is successfully taught at our top chefs training academy in Centurion, conveniently located for students from both Pretoria and Johannesburg. Secondly, the reason why culinary art is the career of choice is for the sheer love of it.
When one is passionate about and keenly interested in a field, especially a job that offers an unlimited career path that enables one to work anywhere in the world, any workplace inconveniences are minor issues. No workplace promises Utopia and when one has to work hard to achieve one’s goal, the success is that much sweeter.
After undergoing our comprehensive theoretical and practical training towards a Grande Diploma in Culinary Arts and Wine and passing both our own and the City & Guilds examinations, all our graduates are well prepared to commence their career.
The on-site restaurant at our academy accepts bookings from diners, who are treated to the delights prepared by our students, enabling learners to have practical training under real restaurant conditions. When they leave us after graduation, no student feels out of their depth when they begin working.
Our full time Grande Diploma extends over a 12 month period so that it is long enough to include all the extensive in-depth modules which we and our esteemed patron deem essential, but short enough to prepare our learners for their new career in a relatively short period of time.
Additionally, training to be a chef at our school is fun too, because learners are surrounded by like-minded, passionate food aficionados. Cooking training at our highly regarded school is the passport to an unlimited future.