January 2nd, 2013
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Find out more about Chef training...
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There is no route to becoming a chef without first going through chef training. If you wish to train to become a chef you have two ways to go about it in South Africa. We’re going to find out more about these methods now.
Attending Culinary School
This is the most popular way in which would be chefs get the training they need in South Africa. The school is dedicated to providing training for future chefs and they traditionally provide two types of courses for potential pupils to consider.
The first option you have available is called the certificate level. You should expect to spend around one year completing this type of course. The second option is the more advanced option and it allows you to study to diploma level. This is the preferred option of the two, since it gives you far more experience and knowledge and will put you in a far better position when it comes to seeking work.
Opting for an apprenticeship
As you may guess from the name, this allows you to learn on the job while also studying in a classroom setting. The idea here is that you would be taken on by an employer and allowed to be an apprentice in the kitchen. At the same time as doing this you would be allowed to attend a culinary school to further your learning.
This can be a good option because you get practical hands on and very realistic experience as well as learning the ropes as a chef. The only downside is that there are not that many apprenticeships available for would be chefs in South Africa at the moment. By all means search for them – you might be lucky and find something suitable near you – but they should not be your only focus.
So is Culinary School the best choice?
On the face of things yes, it is the best choice. However you should expect to make a considerable investment in your training. The yearly fees for a Culinary School would be anything from R25000 upwards, and it could be double that. Clearly you have to think about how to finance this so you can forge ahead with your training and your career.
What about more specialised courses?
If you have designs on becoming a pastry chef or another kind of more focused position, there are courses available that focus on these types of positions. For example the Prue Leith Chef’s Academy runs a pastry school that teaches its students how to become pastry chefs, with everything that entails. This is not the only course of its kind in South Africa, but it shows you that more specific courses are available.
So you can see that there are lots of training opportunities available for would be chefs. Even though an apprenticeship offers unique opportunities for those who are lucky enough to find them, they are much sought after and most chefs opt for the Culinary School option. This could be your first step into a rewarding career as a chef.