Train­ing pro­gramme serves up new batch of chefs

Vuk'uzenzele - - Education - Su­laiman Philip

the lives of 305 young­sters have been spiced up! These kitchen whizzes re­cently grad­u­ated from the Depart­ment of Tourism’s Na­tional Youth Chefs Train­ing Pro­gramme (NYCTP).

Funded through the Ex­panded Pub­lic Works Pro­gramme (EPWP), the ini­tia­tive drew as­pir­ing chefs from across the coun­try.

Speak­ing at the grad­u­a­tion in Soweto, Tourism Min­is­ter Tokozile Xasa re­minded them that this was just the first step. “Cel­e­brate your achieve­ment to­day and prepare to make a mean­ing­ful con­tri­bu­tion to our ex­cit­ing sec­tor.”

Launched in 2011, the NYCTP is run by the South African Chefs As­so­ci­a­tion (SACA) and con­sists of the­ory and prac­ti­cal in-ser­vice train­ing. On grad­u­a­tion, the new chefs re­ceive an in­ter­na­tion­ally-recog­nised Pro­fes­sional Food Prepa­ra­tion and Pas­try cer­tifi­cate.

World-class chefs

Stephen Billing­ham, SACA pres­i­dent, said that grad­u­ates could walk into a ca­reer any­where in the world. “The se­lec­tion process for the train­ing pro­gramme is a rig­or­ous one, and we are con­fi­dent that we are re­leas­ing com­pe­tent world-class chefs into the in­dus­try.”

For their in-ser­vice train­ing, stu­dents were placed in kitchens as di­verse as the Es­tate Pri­vate Ho­tel, aboard a P&O cruise ship and at the high-pres­sured Em­per­ors Palace.

These part­ner­ships, the Min­is­ter said, en­sured that grad­u­ates are able to gain the work ex­pe­ri­ence nec­es­sary to be em­ployed. “Our part­ner­ship with in­dus­try stake­hold­ers has played a crit­i­cal role in the suc­cess of this train­ing pro­gramme. It is only through such part­ner­ships that we can grow tourism, em­power our com­mu­ni­ties and erad­i­cate poverty.”

In 2013, a third year was added to the course, which sees stu­dents work­ing to­wards an Ad­vanced Di­ploma in Food Prepa­ra­tion and Cook­ing. The ex­tra year sees them learn­ing lead­er­ship and man­age­ment skills, menu de­vel­op­ment and spe­cialised cook­ing skills.

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