To all new 1st-year chef students, welcome to the ICA campus!


Speaking of futures, whether you are newly enrolled, currently completing your industry placement as a 2nd-year student or preparing yourself to kick off your 3rd-year specialization academic block, standing on the brink of your professional future in the culinary arts, the question remains: how can a successful career be guaranteed? Is it dependent on the institution attended? Is it dependent on marks obtained? Is it dependent on hours of tuition, theory or practical placement in the industry?

Or is it all of this combined plus, maybe … something more?

2022 marks the ICA’s 34th intake of first-year chef students embarking on their culinary journey. 34 intakes have gone on to produce 34 groups of graduates who have successfully completed their chef training and culinary studies. Out of these, hundreds of individuals have turned their innate passion for the culinary arts, combined with world-class, in-depth ICA training, into hugely successful professional careers, even through acutely challenging times.

The ICA continues to uphold its utmost standard of training as a firm obligation to all who have gone before, and all who are yet to enrol to study at the ICA. Our standard of excellence remains steadfast through any circumstantial challenges because that is what training integrity requires.

Out of all the culinary schools in more than 80 countries all over the world, ICA students are once again in the lead. Recent international City & Guilds examination results, as released just this past week, places ICA students at a high of 98%, with all students passing with merit or distinctions! A commendable achievement indeed.

As we set the new academic year in motion, the ICA stays 100% committed to training and equipping culinary students to world-class standards, as we do every year.

Choosing a career as a chef for external reasons will not guarantee a successful outcome. Being a chef is not merely a career – it is a lifestyle! Of course, when conditions are easy and things are going well, excelling in this industry may be possible, yes. But it’s how you perform under pressure, or when the going gets tough, that will determine how you can hold on to your training, dig deep into the well of strong intrinsic drive within you and harness your grit and adaptability to ultimately reach the top!

Much loved and highly respected South African actress, Lizz Meiring, recently reiterated the idea that intrinsic drive leads to success in an interview on RSG. “Every little bit of success – whether it is an exam mark you’ve achieved or a competition you’ve participated in or won – is for yourself. When working with young people in the industry, I have noticed that grace comes easy in comfortable times. When there is pressure, challenges and the odds are stacked against you, the winners are not the individuals who have always worked for external rewards, approval or motivation. The winners are those who have intrinsic stability. They are the ones who have grace under pressure. They are the people who can stand the heat and be successful.”

The ICA’s strong emphasis on mentorship helps cultivate and nurture chef personalities who can stand the test of time. Our industry experiential training philosophy ensures that student-mentor placements are never made at random. Months of careful thought and consideration goes into placing students under the guidance and mentorship of chosen industry partners. These placements and the benefits of these training blocks may or may not be immediately obvious, but in the 3 decades of consistent successful pairings, it is evident that years of tuition, training and the various experiential placements are just one half of the success story.

The other half is written by the student.

The vibrant and multi-layered careers of alumni such as Herman Lensing, Jacques Erasmus, Kobus van der Merwe, Callan Austin, Peter Tempelhoff, Zola Nene and Michael Cooke (to name but a few!) confirms the truth that passion drives vision, but that it is vision plus the necessary sharp skills required, that unlocks potential.

And potential can only lead to triumph when there is a robust, durable, inherent drive and personal commitment to succeed.


Applications for 2023 are now open.