The tasks which are performed by a chef are extremely diverse, as this is an incredibly varied profession. Generally, a chef supervises a kitchen or a section of a kitchen, overseeing staff, food, menus, and related issues. In order to become a chef, someone must pursue some form of professional training. Some chefs attend a culinary academy to learn their craft, while others work their way through kitchens, starting at the bottom as apprentices and moving their way into top kitchen positions. An executive chef usually oversees all the cooking in a restaurant, or sometimes multiple restaurants. Executive chefs order food, oversee all kitchen staff, plan the menus, or oversee menu planning. However, they may no longer do much actual cooking. A sous-chef is the executive chef’s second in command. A pantry chef prepares and oversees salads and other cold foods, and a pastry chef does the same for the dessert menu. A grill chef runs the grill, and a saute chef oversees the saute station. All of these individual chefs report either to the sous chef or directly to the head or executive chef. A personal chef prepares meals directly for an individual or a family.

How To Qualify

In South Africa there are two mainstream training options open to aspiring chefs. The first is a specialized Culinary School or College; and the second is an In-Service style apprenticeship programme within the Hospitality Industry combined with an off-site block release component at a Culinary School. These apprenticeships in industry are limited at this stage in South Africa but most aspiring chefs are trained through Culinary Schools. Culinary Schools whether governmental or private require huge investment to set up, run and maintain and for that reason, they are expensive to attend. Before committing yourself to a Culinary School there are a number of pointers to seriously consider when selecting the most suited Culinary School.

There are predominantly two levels used by chef training institutions, the first level is certificate level and according to SAQA’s 1200 notional hours of learning, the duration of a Certificate Programme should be in the region of one academic year. The second level is the diploma level that is most commonly used and again according to SAQA, diploma’s require 2400 notional hours therefore the recommended duration for a Diploma Programme is two academic years.

Where To Study

* Professional Cookery Courses at False Bay

* Vaal University of Technology

* Cape Peninsula University of Technology

* Durban University of Technology

* Tshwane University of Technology

* University of Johannesburg

* Catering Studies at Boland

* SW Gauteng

* Maluti

* Vuselela

and numerous other FET colleges