Top Tips for Choosing a Chef School to Gain a Competitive Edge in the Culinary Industry

If you are considering a career as a chef, food critic or restaurant owner, you will benefit from having a qualification from a top chef school. Although many older chefs will argue that nothing beats on-the-job training, this takes many years in the right kitchens, and you may also not gain all of the knowledge that you can get from one of the top chef schools in the world. The first step in starting your career in the culinary world is thus to select a chef school that is right for you and will give you a head start in the culinary or hospitality industry. Below are a few tips to help you make the right choice, when it comes to the ideal training institute.


View the training school’s credentials. You only want to study at a school that is accredited to provide the level of qualification that you are after. As such, look for a school where you will have SETA accreditation as well as   write the school’s exams in addition to the City & Guilds exams, in order to gain a locally and internationally recognised qualification. Following an accredited course will mean that you will get quality training.

Cost of Education

Note that a prestigious chef school education costs more and as such, you should keep your budget in mind. That being said – there are many student loan options, in addition to bursaries, available to students from all backgrounds. You will find that a bank will be more likely to provide you with a loan if you plan to study at an accredited and well-recognised culinary school.

School History

Rather than studying at one of the newer chef schools, which lack international standing and a proven track record of top chefs coming from their ranks, choose a well-established culinary school with at least 15 years of training experience. This will help to improve the credibility of your qualification and will also mean that the training provided will be more comprehensive, as well as include traditional and modern techniques. Nothing can be more embarrassing than having a qualification from a school that has only been open for five or so years and has no solid reputation to rest on.

A well-established school has proven that it can withstand economic downturns and your references from the training institution will thus be worth it.  If the school is well-established, chances are that many of the top chefs in 5 star restaurants around the world may have experiences of the school, making your qualification more recognisable when you apply for a job.

Training Facilities

You will want to train under the best chefs in state-of-the-art kitchens featuring modern equipment. The best chef schools have on-site restaurants and modern facilities to ensure that you are trained to work in modern kitchens of top restaurants around the world.

Practical Training

You will want to have access to theoretical and practical training. As such, select a school that offers on-site practical training kitchens, a restaurant for real-life work experience and internship programmes at top restaurants, hotels and lodges.

In short, look for one of the chef schools that have the following:

  • Excellent standing in the culinary industry.
  • High after-graduation employment rates.
  • Large number of top chefs forming part of their alumni.
  • Ample practical training and experience.
  • Well-equipped kitchens and restaurant facilities.
  • Internship programmes at prestigious culinary establishments.
  • Accomplished chefs and lecturers to lead the training.
  • Small student to trainer ratio for more personal attention.
  • Easy access to cities.
  • International reputation for excellence.
  • Accredited programmes.
  • Wide range of courses.
  • Chef recruitment programmes.
  • Clear description of their courses.

Indeed, our Prue Leith Chefs Academy in Centurion, South Africa, meets and exceeds the requirements for a top chef school. View our courses and contact us for enrolment information.