Roots to fruits “Cultivating world-class chefs who breathe inspiration and innovation into the culinary world …trained to challenge conformity by pushing boundaries, bringing with them excitement and a fresh approach to the world of food.” This was the dream that inspired Letitia Prinsloo to open the Institute of Culinary Arts (ICA) in 1995. Renowned for her unwavering commitment to quality, she was awarded the Chaîne des Rôtisseurs blazon for the famed restaurant she once owned in Pretoria, La Maison. Her passion now bears the fruit of being recognised as the country’s leading chef training facility. A classical foundation provides the roots, as students are guided in mastering classical techniques across a wide spectrum of disciplines. The excellent tutor/student ratio of 1:7, allows students to explore new techniques and break boundaries with innovative and exciting new trends, setting benchmarks for others to follow and measure themselves by.
Back to our Roots Nestled, settled, between Simonsberg and the Stellenbosch Mountains lies the Banhoek Valley with its spectacular views. It was here, surrounded by the valley’s natural splendour and historic farms that Letitia Prinsloo’s dream first took root to start the country’s most esteemed chef school. It is to the same beautiful valley that the Institute of Culinary Arts (ICA) now returned for an invigorating new phase in its proud history. “I believe the time was right to return to our roots. My vision for the ICA’s next phase is not about being the biggest, but offering exclusive and cutting edge chefs training experiences; more personalised, more intensive and more individual,” Letitia. Investing in world class, state-of-the-art facilities at Banhoek signals the optimism for the future of this specific region in Stellenbosch. “The Banhoek Valley is a hot-spot for development and has always been a destination for wine lovers. The ICA plays a vital part in the valley’s reputation as a gastronomic destination.” Banhoek Valley and surroundings bring their own unique experiences: the Jonkershoek Resort with wild mushroom foraging. Delaire Graff Estate , Thelema Mountain Vineyards, Tokara (award winning vineyard and olive oil estate), Clouds Estate, Zorgvliet Vineyard Lodge & Spa, as well as the delightful Hillcrest Berry Orchards and herb nursery, to name a few. Chefs at top establishments locally and abroad are ICA graduates, also boasting coveted titles such as the Sunday Times Top Chef of the Year; there are Sommeliers at Michelin-star establishments, Food Editors at several highly acclaimed magazines, others lecturing at international training facilities such as Jamie’s Fifteen, ICA graduates excel, all round. The establishment also produced many of the winners in the Chaîne des Rôtisseurs annual Young Chef’s Competitions, representing SA at the International Competition in New York in October 2009. A strong business acumen is a vital ingredient that sustains ICA’s success, which led the ICA to become the first culinary establishment in the country to receive a Business of the Year Award. This spurred us on to further grow the enterprise in a sustainable way to benefit the food industry we serve. Having established the ICA as the preferred source for qualified industry ready chefs and food professionals. Added to this is the coveted address of the Banhoek Valley, so the terms ‘exclusive’,’ intensive’, ‘personal and individual’ reinforces our overall winning formula.
Cutting edge career
At no other time has there been such an interest in food, restaurants, eating out or eating in. Chefs are the hottest new celebrities and cookery books the favoured bedtime read. Yet, this golden era of cuisine holds new challenges for the world of the professional chef. Never have diners been so demanding and informed, nor has the craving for anything new and contemporary reached such a fevered pitch. Globally the tourism and hospitality industry is the fastest growing sector. This growth brings with it an insatiable demand for well-trained chefs that can stand the heat of the professional kitchen. Then come the career questions. Which training facility to choose, what course to follow, whether to just skip the training part and try to work your way up by simply starting at a restaurant from scratch? Employment opportunities have expanded significantly into new and exciting fields where multi-tasking is the order of the day. ICA prepares students for a wide range of career opportunities such as speciality bakeries and confectioneries, product development, food styling, journalism, independent or chain affiliated restaurateurs, small guest lodge owners, executive chefs at large hotel kitchens or in-store food theatre chefs.
Pressure cooker or paradise?
Jamie Oliver makes it look so easy! However, he is not an overnight success. The television screen does not show the burnt fingers, the knife-nicked thumb, the tired feet or hot tempersâ€Ś The professional kitchen is a pressure cooker, and unless culinary students are taught the essential basic skills, and all elements necessary to fit the complete profile of the contemporary chef, the harsh realities can be daunting. Then again, few careers offer such inspiration and personal satisfaction as being a chef - confident and fuelled with creative energy. Every dish becomes an expression of oneâ€™s passion for food, an opportunity to delight the diner, and to create memorable moments through flavours, textures, aromas and taste experiences.
Skills training forms the foundation on which the young chef can build a personal style and distinctive signature. Bringing a new generation of chefs into the fold of good food also helps to break the growing dependency on convenience foods, fast food, and food without soul or real substance.
Professional recognition - proof of the pudding Don’t find yourself all dressed up with nowhere to go! Unless the food and hospitably industry – in South Africa and abroad – respects and recognises your culinary qualification you might not see all your hard work and dreams fulfilled. The ICA is an independent organisation registered and accredited by several major national and international culinary organisations. The South African industry recognises the Tourism Hospitality and Sport Education and Training Authority – (THETA) - as a benchmark of national qualifications. This Sector Education & Training Authority’s (SETA) main function is to contribute to the raising of skills for those already employed or entering the industry. The assessment and control of these standards are legislated by government and according to agreed standards within a national framework (NQF). Note: THETA presently certificates only to Level 5, yet ICA achieves beyond Level 7. National framework guidelines do not currently exist to assess beyond Level 5. The SA Chef’s Association (SACA) represents more than 2 000 of the country’s finest chefs, restaurateurs, educators, learners and culinarians. As a member ICA is closely involved with many of SACA’s high profile events. Working and networking with SACA keeps students and faculty up to date with latest developments and industry trends. City & Guilds Pitman Qualifications is the leading vocational awarding body in the UK, awarding almost 50% of all National Vocational Qualifications (NVQ’s). Globally City & Guilds also provide internationally recognised qualifications through licensing agreements with various institutions. Similar to THETA, C&G offers learners a recognised level for basic skills in a variety of areas. Chaîne des Rôtisseurs, the European born association, promotes the art of fine cuisine amongst both amateur and professional gastronomes, and globally supports the development of young culinary professionals. ICA alumni students frequently participate in regional and national competitions achieving wide applause for top ranking positions every year. In September 2003, the ICA was selected to host the 27th Concours International des Jeunes Commis Rôtisseurs Competition, a first for South Africa after many years of other countries hosting this prestigious event. The International Association of Culinary Professionals - (IACP) is a professional association which provides continuing education and development for its members who are engaged in areas of culinary education, communication, or in the preparation of food and drink. The 4000 members in 35 countries are truly the “who’s who” of the food world. ICA has also received an award of excellence from the IACP in 2007. The Culinary Institute of America – (CIA) is dedicated to providing the world’s best professional culinary education. The ICA visits the CIA regularly to source new and exciting networking opportunities with the vision of developing a South African institution of international acclaim.
The world is your oyster The ICA has very quickly emerged as the leading and preferred source for qualified industry ready chefs. ICA graduates have been snapped up in a variety of positions. Some establishments include:
Leading hotels & restaurants, nationally & internationally - from the Grand Provence, Le Quartier Français and La Colombe at Constantia Uitsig, Fat Duck (UK) and Lemanoir aux Quat’ Saisons (UK) Exclusive game lodges – Susuwe, Makalali, Malori and Sangitha Leading product development companies – I&J, Woolworths, Lombardi foods and Foodcorp Media Work: - Magazines – Stylists, Food Writers - TV programme productions, local and overseas Leading retail stores – Woolworths, Harrods (UK) Top caterer & function co-ordinators: - Aleit Group - By Word of Mouth - Pomegranate - Salt - Chef Bruce Robertson catering
Rave reviews Top chefs and restaurateurs highly rate the quality of ICA training and facilities. ICA’s reputation ensures that a wellmotivated, dedicated ICA-trained graduate will always have work. Our graduates are highly sought after by overseas employers, praised for their work ethic, their will to succeed and to serve.
What the gourmet gurus say A R N O L D G O U BE T Head Sommelier, RAYMOND BLANC’s Manoir aux Quat’ Saisons, LONDON UNITED KINGDOM “ICA provides their students with a firm foundation of knowledge.”
T A K A S H I M UR A K A M I Conseiller Culinaire, Confrérie de la Chaîne des Rôtisseurs, CANADA “I am confident in the great success of the Institute of Culinary Arts in the future and of its principal producing top quality chefs in South Africa.” “Their kitchen equipment and layout is world-class, which I personally experienced when the Institute of Culinary Arts hosted the Chaîne des Rôtisseurs International Commis Competition”
LANNICE SNYMAN Book Publisher & Culinary Consultant, CAPE TOWN “The success of the Institute of Culinary Arts and quality of the training is borne out by the respect that the hospitality industry shows to its graduates. More importantly, it shows in the passion that its graduates bring to their profession.”
BARAK HIRSCHOWITZ Executive Chef and Recruitment Consultant, CAPE TOWN “I believe that the Institute of Culinary Arts produces a top class graduate who is well prepared for the competitive world of cheffing. Their student training is of the highest calibre, and this can be seen by their performance in the industry. A graduate of the Institute of Culinary Arts can be assured that they will have a good foot in the door of the hospitality industry.”
ALAN COXON Chef and BBC Television Presenter, UNITED KINGDOM “I have been unable to find such consistency in standards, quality and professionalism that can match the Institute of Culinary Arts. As a chef I am extremely pleased that such a college is training, motivating and delivering up and coming talent into the world-wide culinary arena with the ability to match and exceed that of any other catering college around.” “As an author, I feel relieved that I can hand over recipes for the Institute of Culinary Arts to test before publication, knowing that the keenness to follow a recipe, read, look, taste, comment and scrutinise will be achieved with every dish.” “As a chef/presenter in front of the camera as well as live audiences, I am totally relaxed knowing that I have the Institute of Culinary Arts students looking after all the preparation and organization behind the scenes.” “Finally, as I have a business placing students in various culinary operations around the UK, we have no hesitation in recommending any student after successfully completing their studies at the Institute of Culinary Arts.”
BRUCE ROBERTSON Executive Chef, Chef Bruce Robertson, CAPE TOWN “The Institute of Culinary Arts has elevated the training of our young chefs to an all time high International level. I strongly believe in its principles, training and discipline. It teaches how the industry is and not just the pretty pictures!”
AMOR ENGELBRECHT Executive Producer – PASELLA, SABC “At Pasella, we love working with the Institute of Culinary Arts because they deliver excellent food content to our television show. Their preparation, research and exciting approach helps us to produce the quality food inserts the show is known for”
ANITA ROUX Product development, WOOLWORTHS “Woolworths’ prior experience with the ICA in-house experiential training students has seen them to have professional training. They contribute a great deal with their fresh approach, new ideas and positive attitudes. They will always go the extra mile with projects, in-store demonstrations and events.”
SIMON OFFEN WADDESDON MANOR, UK “Waddesdon Manor has benefited from receiving ICA students for the past five years. Without exception the chefs and waiters have been honest, hard working and willing to both give of their time and to learn. I look forward to continuing our relationship with the Institute for many years to come.”
Choose quality from the menu New chef training establishments are mushrooming. Competition is healthy, as it shows that the industry is thriving. Not all can claim quality, though. When faced with so many choices, invest your precious time, career future and resources in ICA with its reputation as the leader in the industry. What you get when you choose ICA: Dedicated core business focus on industry related training Highly specialised industry and professionally trained lecturers Continuous curriculum development and control Selection and utilisation of the best quality ingredients for the training of cooking and baking High-tech, state-of-the-art kitchen units Provision of superior training equipment and resources Supportive training structure offering a tutor / student ratio of 1: 7 Personnel recruitment and development Top-notch operating systems and procedures Up-to-date media centre incorporating computer and library facilities Collaboration with leading industry partners nationally and overseas Professional accreditation and networking Student profiling and career development for optimal industry placement Involvement of faculty and students in culinary events and competitions within the industry