What criteria should you consider when selecting a Culinary School?

Before committing yourself to a Chef School, here are some suggested pointers for carefully evaluating your options.

  • Credentials –Check and validate the credibility and credentials of the Chef school. Does it have the required accreditation through a Quality Assurance Body such as the newly formed Quality Council for Trades and Occupations (QCTO)? If yes, check that the accreditation and registration numbers correspond. Don’t take anything at face value. Like any industry, the Hospitality Training Industry has its share of fly-by-nights and “crookery schools.” Most schools including HTA are registered / accredited by City and Guilds, a U.K based Awarding Body for internationally recognised Chef qualifications.
  • Reputation –What is the reputation of the Chef School? Speak to past graduates and current students and find out what the employment ratio is for graduates and where they have been placed in the industry, and speak to those Chefs / Employers.
  • Student, Instructor Ratio –What should the ratio between students and instructors be?  As this is a highly craft-based industry, the ideal is considered by the Department of Labour to be 16:1 in a practical session, giving a reasonable level of lecturer attention per student. The school should also have a reasonable ratio between practical and theoretical training, with practical training taking more of the time allocation.
  • Industry placement – If the Chef School offers experiential training partnering with industry – which it should – what monitoring and assessment processes are in place to make sure that the realistic workplace experience is structured and valuable?
    Contracts must be in place between the Industry establishments and the School to ensure that the student receives an all-round Quality Learning Experience in a safe and secure working environment.
  • Calibre of lecturers – Are the School’s lecturers themselves trained and qualified with sufficient and relevant knowledge and working experience?
    Do they have the required ETDP SETA qualifications to both Assess or Moderate student performance?
  • Backup Systems – Does the school have backup systems in place in the event of load-shedding or water disruption in order to continue providing uninterrupted training?
What determines the cost of Chef Courses?

Chef Training is expensive, due to factors such as the price of food, set up, and energy costs. Across the country Chef school fees can range from between R65 000 to R250 000 per student per year.  When evaluating Chef Schools, find out what you get for your money. For instance, there could be extra costs such as professional knife sets, uniforms, text books and field trips. Find out what all the hidden additional costs are. Even Student parking can make a dent in a monthly budget.

Associations and Awarding Bodies that you will come across within Professional Chef Training.
  • Who is QCTO?
    The Quality Council for Trades and Occupations (QCTO) is a Quality Council established in 2010 in terms of the Skills Development Act. Its role is to oversee the design, implementation, assessment and certification of occupational qualifications on the Occupational Qualifications Sub-Framework (OQSF).The QCTO is one of three Quality Councils (QCs) responsible for a part of the National Qualifications Framework (NQF). Collectively, the Quality Councils and the South African Qualifications Authority (whose role is to advance the objectives of the NQF and oversee its development and implementation), all work for the good of both learners and employers. Another important role for the QCTO is to offer guidance to service providers who must be accredited by the QCTO to offer occupational qualifications. HTA School of Culinary Art is accredited by QCTO to offer the Occupational Qualification Professional Chef. (QCTO Accreditation Number: SDP/16/0079)
  • Who are City and Guilds?
    Established in 1878 as ‘ City and Guilds of London Institute ‘, its mission was to provide qualifications and certifications directly linked to workplace skills, as compared to pure academic degrees which certify knowledge but not competence on the job. This approach to learning and certification has made the name of City & Guilds synonymous with practical excellence in 22 occupational sectors, and 120 countries worldwide and has earned it worldwide recognition as a developer of competent and qualified workers, benchmarked against the best in the world. It awards over a million certificates every year in over 500 different vocational trades. HTA School of Culinary Art offers their qualifications in Food Preparation and Culinary Art.
  • Who is the South African Chefs Association?
    The South African Chefs Association (SAChefs) is recognised as the authority on food and all things culinary in South Africa.  SAChefs is a SAQA approved Professional Body of approximately 7500 members, with seven established branches throughout the country.  Its member base includes catering and hotel company directors, restaurateurs, chefs, cooks, culinary educators, apprentices and students and can be found in every type of catering establishment from canteens to fine dining award winning restaurants. The South African Chefs Association also plays an integral role in the setting of and continuous improvement of standards in the Hospitality Industry and Culinary Education.
  • What are the benefits of being a SAChefs member?
    SAChefs members are regularly invited, whether through their school, employer or as individuals, to enter National and International culinary competitions. This is a great opportunity for Chefs to showcase their abilities on the culinary stage both locally and internationally, while invitations to various SAChefs events, workshops and demonstrations, as guests or assistants, also allows for networking opportunities. Apart from this, each SAChefs member also receives discounts from various SAChefs-affiliated corporate companies, as well as a bi-monthly online Chef! magazine, the official voice of the South African Chef.
  • What is World Chefs? (W.A.C.S) 
    The World Association of Chefs’ Societies (WACS), the mother body of all Chefs Associations, is a global network of Chefs Associations dedicated to maintaining and improving the culinary standards of global cuisines. First founded in October 1928 in Paris, there were originally 65 delegates from 17 countries. Today, this global body has 108 official Chefs Associations as members, representing over 10 million Professional Chefs worldwide.

HTA School of Culinary Art is the only Chef School in South Africa to have received the Recognition of Quality Culinary Education for five consecutive years.

Are there sufficient jobs to go around?

The Hospitality, Travel and Tourism Industry is the worlds fastest growing employment sector and opportunities are plenty locally and internationally. Qualified Chefs around the world now have opportunities in a wide range of establishments ranging from Hotels, Restaurants, Game Lodges, Industrial and Commercial Catering, Event Catering, Institutional Catering through to cruise and airline cheffing.

Alternate careers within the industry for Chefs include Food Photography, Food Journalism and Retail Research and Development.

Self-employment opportunities are fairly easy in this sector for those graduated with an entrepreneurial side. Believe it or not we have a global skills shortage in professional cookery, we simply do not have enough trained Chefs.

Which hotel establishments are used for experiential/practical training?

HTA School of Culinary Art has a large number of contracted hotels and quality catering companies in and around Johannesburg within the hospitality industry where Students will be placed. Some of the frequently used establishments include the The Saxon Boutique Hotel and Spa, African Pride Melrose Arch, Autograph Collection, Sandton Hilton, Radisson Blu, Johannesburg Marriott Hotel – Melrose Arch, Pivot Hotel Montecasino, DaVinci Hotel, Intercontinental Hotel – O.R Tambo, Indaba Hotel – Spa and Conference Centre, Sandton Sun and Towers, Emperor’s Palace, 54 on Bath Hotel, Southern Sun Monte Casino, Palazzo Monte Casino and many more. It is usual for these establishments to offer graduating students employment after their HTA training has ended.

How does the School deal with scheduled Load Shedding?

HTA School of Culinary Art invested in a large Generator, providing the property with more than ample electricity for as long as needed.

What about the Student Pass Rate since 2004?

HTA School of Culinary Art is proud of achieving and maintaining a student pass rate of 94%




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