Each and every ICA Graduation Ceremony is special. Every year, as a group of newly qualified professional chefs, receive their black buttons and step out into the greater culinary world, it is a celebration of lives transformed, of hardships overcome, of strong bonds that formed, and of character growth beyond expectation!

The 2022 Graduation Ceremony was no different.

In keeping with the theme, graduates were reminded that the path to success is formed through the careful and consistent climbing of small steps along the way.

Words of encouragement for this group of young chefs came from various sources with an exceptionally powerful analogy by ICA Placement Coördinator, Mrs. Antoinette van Zyl:

When HEAT is applied:

  • Sugar caramelizes
  • Fat melts
  • Protein coagulates
  • Starch gelatinizes
  • Water evaporates
  • And Gold … when heat is applied, when going through the fire, gold gets refined!

The ICA Class of 2022 completed their Industry Training when the entire country was in lockdown during the Covid-19 Pandemic and the entire hospitality industry was all but shut down. They were faced with unusual and extreme circumstances, but – just as gold is refined by going through fire – so they were refined!

ICA Student Representative, Marlie Louw, addressed her fellow classmates with an earnest appeal to keep searching for and finding their own individual drive, their own purpose, and their own unique “why”.

“Your WHY is what sets you apart from everyone else. It’s your purpose. It’s what inspires you to take action. On our very first day, we were asked:

“If you could be any ingredient, what would you be?”

My answer back then was salt, because, without it, a lot of dishes would be bland. But I soon realized that one cannot eat salt alone. So today I would like to be a tomato! I want to be something substantial, something that can stand alone, that can obtain sweetness from roasting, bitterness from its peel, and acidity from its juice.

I am sure in the future, I can become something else entirely as my WHY develops over time.”

Graduates thanked their lecturers for always having their best interest at heart, and for working tirelessly behind the scenes during an unusually difficult couple of years in educating the future chefs of South Africa.

Today, they see themselves as having been on an adventure, one that was certainly demanding, strenuous and daunting at times, but an adventure that was worth it for producing stronger and more capable chefs. Chefs that will be able to stand the test of time.

These talented young chefs are now entering the culinary arena with a world-class set of skills, internationally recognized qualifications, and character traits that will set them apart from their peers in the industry. From what seemed to be the most insignificant positions to occupy in the kitchen when starting out, to where they are growing and going in their respective future careers, these graduates now know that no position is irrelevant. All positions matter. Each and every one of these chefs have a role to play. Their parts matter in the greater scheme of things just like each step on a ladder leads to greater heights – there is no way to reach the top without climbing them all.

The ICA will follow their careers closely as they remain forever … Proudly ICA.