When an entire packet of heirloom carrot seeds are sown in a vegetable patch and the seedlings all receive the exact same nutrients, the same amount of sunlight, the same amount of shade, the same amount of water, and weeding and care, why is it then that no two carrots that are pulled from the soil, look exactly alike?

With the astonishing beauty of pure nature at work, each carrot is nurtured within an optimal environment in the ICA campus vegetable garden. How they are cultivated and cared for above the soil is done with great precision, perseverance and dedication. Yet, it is what happens beneath the surface that delivers exciting and amazing results, a wonderful surprise with every gentle tuck from the earth.

The Institute of Culinary Arts recently hosted another remarkable Open Day on campus in the breathtakingly beautiful Banhoek Valley just outside of Stellenbosch. Potential applicants were welcomed and offered an interactive and immersive tour of the unique campus as well as given a taste of what a day in the life of an ICA student would look like. The candidates were intrigued, their questions about enrolling at the ICA were fully addressed and they were informed on the ICA’s philosophy and culinary training excellence ethos – that which sets the ICA apart from all other culinary training facilities and that have earned the school the City & Guilds Medal for Excellence as Best Chef School in Africa and one of the 3 Best Chef Schools in the world. City & Guilds is a global, leading vocational training body, constantly verifying and scrutinizing training deliverance in more than 80 countries worldwide.

After attending an immensely informative session, potential candidates applied and are now eligible for a personal interview, hopeful to be accepted to SA’s most highly awarded chef school. Should they be successful, they will enter the ICA partially formed, but filled with potential and hope. Here, they will remain for a season, a phase of their lives. Lecturers will shape, chisel, form, and mould. Students will receive, grow, be strengthened, and be filled. Then they will step out – shining, strong, equipped, and whole.

But as with the humble carrot, no two students are exactly alike. Students will not learn the same, will not develop the same, and will not reach the same career heights. Each individual student at the ICA will receive culinary training in excellence and each individual student’s potential will be formed and influenced to bloom as and when the time is right. For some, it might happen quickly, for others it will take longer. As ICA principal and founder, Letitia Prinsloo, always emphasizes: “There is no escalator to culinary career success. ICA students are advised to take the stairs”. Of course, this point is proven by the global successes now being achieved by numerous ICA graduates after 20+ years of devotion to their chosen careers. Read here about Peter Tempelhoff’s (FYN Restaurant, Cape Town) and Kobus van der Merwe’s (Wolfgat, Paternoster) performance amongst the very best of the best on the 2021 World’s Best Restaurants List, considered the Oscars of culinary awards!

“It is my responsibility to train world-class chefs that can fully stand their ground in a global culinary arena, armed with an internationally recognized qualification. Our training philosophy influences the caliber of top-rated chefs trained by the ICA, ensuring their legacies are carried forward day after day, far beyond the physical boundaries of the training kitchens and classrooms at the Institute of Culinary Arts.”

– ICA Principal, Letitia Prinsloo.


Applications for 2022 & 2023 are now open.