Professional Training for SA’s Most Sought-after Chefs

Long before recognised, formal schools of training for cooking/culinary arts were established, sought-after chefs were persons who had to rely on their innate talent, reputation and “trial and error” experience to secure cooking jobs for themselves or set up their own eatery in a hostelry, travellers’ inn or shop.

Informal Chefs/Cooks Training

At the time, chefs – more commonly known as cooks or head cooks in non-French speaking countries – gained informal training, knowledge and experience by starting at the bottom of the pecking order in a large kitchen. Here, the person gradually worked his/her way up through the ranks, preparing meals at a wealthy landowner’s estate, in the city home of an affluent merchant or, most prestigiously, in a royal or noble household.

In Service

Households of affluent, upper-class Englishmen were run along very formal lines. It took an extensive staff complement to manage such large households efficiently; the staff hierarchy was strictly and formally enforced and adhered to. Staff members of such households were referred to as being “in service”.

The butler and housekeeper usually held the highest ranks, followed by valets and lady’s maids, while footmen were present at meal times to assist with service. “In service” positions also included nurses, nannies, governesses, tutors and parlour maids.

In Charge of the Kitchen

In the kitchen, Cook was in charge of all menu items and food preparation, plus everyone who was engaged to work there. He/she would delegate the tasks of assisting kitchen staff and his/her word was akin to law. A scullery maid occupied the lowest rank.

Enduring French Influence

The age old influence of French cuisine still forms the basis of fine dining food preparation today throughout the world, as does the chef’s position at the head of the kitchen and all who work within it.

In our reputable culinary training academy, regarded by leading chefs, our peers and the hospitality industry as the finest school of its kind in South Africa, all our courses offer classic French training as bases in hot, cold and pastry kitchens, in addition to various types of cuisine and other vital aspects of modern kitchen management.

Grande Diploma in Culinary Arts & Wine

This comprehensive course prepares and trains students for a career as a professional chef and as indicated by the title, is based on classic French techniques. It also includes Pan African and International cuisines, Finance and Kitchen Management – the latter being crucial to running a modern, successful kitchen and restaurant.

As part of this concentrated 18-month full-time course, the curriculum includes a module covering an Introduction to South African Wines and Wines of the World, for optimal wine/food pairing. Invaluable practical experience is gained at our on-campus restaurant, which consistently and proudly rates amongst South Africa’s top 100 fine dining establishments.

Italian Cuisine

Italian cuisine, like French, is a global favourite in all its diverse regional styles, whether honest and rustic or smart and sophisticated, and always relying on the quality and freshness of its ingredients and the combination of flavours.

In order to allow learners to immerse themselves in distinctive Italian culture and cuisine, we offer City & Guilds qualified chefs the opportunity to undertake the outstanding ALMA “Professional Chef of Italian Cuisine” training programme – in Italy.

Unless you have graduated at our academy, you will be required to complete a practical entrance exam prior to being considered for acceptance on this course, after which you will take Italian language and culture evening classes at the academy in preparation for you training abroad. Aspirant Italian chefs with no culinary experience are not excluded. They will be required to complete our Grande Diploma programme and thereafter follow the procedure for ALMA acceptance.

Open Day

Learn more about the variety of sought-after courses and top chefs training on offer at our highly regarded institution during our next open day on 12 September 2015, and take the first step to realise your creative professional cooking career ambitions.