South Africa’s Top Culinary School Also Trains Amateur Foodies

Not too terribly long ago, very few men and women in South Africa received formal cooking school training to learn how to prepare food and present meals. At that time, the home kitchen was primarily the domain of women, while male chefs predominated in the restaurant industry.

A girl usually had to help her mother with household chores, which would include certain duties within the kitchen. She gained her knowledge of cooking by observing her mom and/or being taught by her. If not, she may have acquired a few recipe books and muddled along by trial and error.

Once she had a home and family of her own, she would take charge of her own kitchen, perpetuating much of what her mother taught her – for better or worse; all moms didn’t (and don’t) exactly cook and bake equally well.

From Fresh to Frozen and Back Again

On farms and in rural communities, raw materials were usually home bred or grown and always fresh; so too were most other ingredients, because most modern methods of food preservation had not yet been invented.

Once the techniques to freeze foodstuffs successfully were perfected, freezer space in refrigerator designs was enlarged. Consequently, frozen foods became all the rage amongst home cooks – an absolute no-no at modern culinary schools and in reputable restaurants. Fortunately, the emphasis on fresh ingredients has returned to home kitchens too, and there’s more demand for top-quality, organic raw products of superior nutritional value, texture and flavour.

At the Prue Leith Chefs Academy, students are provided with only the best fresh ingredients with which to learn and practice their art. Certain products are imported if these happen to be the finest of their kind, which the world of gourmet cuisine demands. Additionally, smart cooks make use of ingredients which are in season to ensure optimal freshness and availability.

Great cooking only begins with top-quality ingredients. One also needs to have a thorough knowledge of their origin, use, flavours and flavour combinations, as well as classic French preparation techniques, creative menu planning, plating and service. Fortunately, all this and much more is taught at Prue Leith’s food academy, a leader amongst its culinary school peers.

Courses for Non-professional Cooks and Foodies

In addition to being the top South African chefs’ training institute, Prue Leith Chefs Academy offers a number of short courses for enthusiastic amateur cooks, foodies and groups of friends who enjoy preparing food together. Short courses include, but are not limited to:

  • Now In Season
  • Divine Desserts
  • Healthy On The Go
  • Basic Baking
  • Fish (or Meat) Fabrication & Preparation
  • Healthy Entertaining
  • Menu Planning, Plating and Trends
  • Art of Pasta & Sauces
  • Chocolate and Confections
  • and many more

No special uniforms are required. However, because training is conducted in a professional kitchen, participants are required to comply with certain dress standards. They should bring a chef’s jacket, if available, an apron and comfortable shoes.

Hair must be off the face and tied back; make up and jewellery should be kept to a minimum. Remember, actual working female chefs don’t even wear nail varnish. Although most of these courses are also suitable for qualified chefs who wish to refresh certain of their skills, they are perfect for foodies who want to take their passion to the next level.