The prominent Hofmeyr Hall in the town centre of Stellenbosch, was the chosen venue for one of the ICA’s yearly calendar highlights: Graduation 2018. Students from the Institute of Culinary Arts attended the event with their families on a beautiful, crisp autumn evening, enjoying sparkling wine and canapés prepared by the 1st years before the formalities started. A special treat was tasting the very same prosciutto upon its maturity in the campus wine cellar 18 months later, that was cured by thís group of students during their Advanced Cooking training period at the ICA!
Graduates received their respective ICA and City & Guilds International qualifications and are now armed with the best culinary stamp of approval South Africa has to offer!
Alumni speaker, Alisha van Heerden, painted a delightful picture of her personal journey of becoming a chef, noting the strong sense of community that is formed between students in the training kitchens of the ICA and reassuring her fellow class mates that Patience, Persistence and Precision ultimately always leads to Perfection, and a lifetime of opportunities.
During the motivational speech delivered ICA alumni, ICA graduate and award-winning chef, Michael Cooke, shared his personal industry advice to the newly graduated chefs, emphasizing that the advice comes from someone that has been exactly where they find themselves now. Michael accentuated the following:
“No shortcuts! Never. Ever. Neither in food, nor in life. Aspire to be better every day…be BEST each day. Never compromise. Work hard, but smart. Don’t be afraid of failure and take risks. Be fair. Show respect. Show good character. Take pride in what you do. Support one another. Communicate. Be dependable and reliable and learn to adapt.”
Looking back on his time at the ICA with the fondest of memories, Michael congratulated all the graduates, urging them to find a mentor in whom they can believe and who will support their ambitions, guide them and continue to teach them. He ended by welcoming the graduates to the proud club of ICA alumni.
Michael Cooke (ICA Graduate) is currently the Executive Chef at The Camphors at Vergelegen. In 2017, Michael was listed no. 6 on the prestigious Eat Out Awards Best Restaurants List as well as being honoured with the Eat Out Woolworths Sustainability Award.