A catering career offers many opportunities to a motivated person. There it a place for every personality in the catering industry, be they an artist or an administrator. Prue Leith College’s Catering Diploma will introduce students to the many aspects of the catering industry. Over the 18-month duration of the course, which is divided into three semesters of six months each, students will cover all the disciplines relating to the catering industry, with a strong emphasis on practical experience.
The Prue Leith Restaurant on the College premises gives students the opportunity to gain extensive practical training. From the beginning of their course, students are entered into the work roster for the Restaurant. Some of their duties will include customer order taking, serving in the bar, stocktaking, food and wine waitering service and acting as a maître d’ Hotel. As they are skills essential to a good catering career, students will also be required to plan and cost menus, prepare, cook and plate meals and prepare weekly trading accounts to test the performance of the restaurant. Practical placements are arranged for periods of two months in both the second and third semesters. Students are placed in selected establishments, such as hotels, restaurants and lodges. These include some of the top establishments in South Africa. Here they will gain added practical experience in a variety of working environments that are likely to be encountered in a catering career.
Candidates who successfully complete all modules of the course will be awarded the National Qualifications by THETA (Tourism, Hospitality, and Sports Education Training Authority). This is a useful by-product of the Diploma course, and not a substitute. Modules covered in the duration of the course contribute to the pool of skills required for a successful catering career in variety ways. Subjects such as introduction to equipment, tools and machinery, handling and using of knives, maintenance, care and use of equipment & utensils, food sanitation and hygiene all contribute to the basics of culinary work. A variety of catering styles, such as South African, International, and vegetarian dishes as well as bush cooking are examined, as well as complimentary accoutrements such as herb gardening and wine. Candidates are required to complete the Cape Wine Academy’s certificate course, which will give students a better understanding of the wines that will compliment their menus. Organisational subjects such as kitchen planning, finance and management, menu planning, kitchen organisation and professional ethics prepare the candidate for the running of a business.
When the candidate successfully completes all the requirements for the course, they will be awarded the Prue Leith College of Food and Wine Diploma. Should a student meet the minimal requirements, but fail the practical section, they will receive the Prue Leith Certificate on Food Theory. If they should pass the practical, but fail the theory section, the student will be awarded the Prue Leith Certificate in Food Preparation.
Once the student has completed the full Diploma course, the options for starting their catering career are numerous. Some may wish to go into the restaurant or hospitality industries, while others may find traditional catering companies more to their liking. Students of a more entrepreneurial nature may want to use the knowledge and skills they have acquired to start their own business. Whichever direction the graduate chooses to take, the international accreditation given to the Prue Leith College Diploma, as well as the excellent foundation lain by the course and contacts made during the practical placements will give them a head start on their catering career.