In an era of increasing environmental consciousness, the Institute of Culinary Arts (ICA) has been at the forefront of training chefs who not only excel in culinary skills but also embrace sustainability as a core principle for the past 30 years.

At the heart of ICA’s culinary philosophy lies a deep appreciation for the rich diversity of South African produce. ICA chef students understand the value of sourcing ingredients locally and seasonally. By forging strong relationships with producers and suppliers, ICA’s culinary training approach encompasses real-world business ventures as in-depth learning and execution opportunities for 3rd-year specialisation students. Another example is the 2023/2024 Indigenous Eats collaborative project with Stodels Garden Centres nationwide.

3rd-year specialisation field students were tasked with developing delectable recipes fit for al fresco outdoor dining from a selection of seasonal indigenous plants, formerly unfamiliar as culinary ingredients. Previously only utilised as garden features or home-made medicinal remedies, plants like dune sage, spekboom variants, kapokbos, wild garlic, confetti bush, waterberry and a variety of buchu were incorporated into delicious recipes with a strong local heritage, yet adhering to a minimal waste methodology.

Trained in perfecting the art of culinary creativity, students developed, tested, created, styled and photographed a unique range of recipes such as Spekboom chutney-marinated braai snoek; Kapokbos chicken sosaties; Waterberry ginger beer; Lemon buchu and amazi loaf cake and Bobotie-filled dune sage ravioli, to name but few!

Each month, Stodels and ICA will publish a new recipe, featuring an indigenous plant ingredient as its hero. ICA students worked incredibly hard to achieve a delicate balance of introducing new flavours to pre-loved recipes. As ambassadors of sustainable cuisine, these students wish to raise awareness about the unexplored world of indigenous plants for culinary use, emphasising how sustainability can be integrated into everyday culinary practices. By imparting their knowledge and passion, these chefs inspire future generations of culinary professionals to embrace sustainability as an essential aspect of their craft.

Click here for this month’s featured recipe.

Spekboom chutney-marinated braai snoek

Marilé du Plessis
Media Communication

If you are interested in pursuing a sustainable culinary career, please book your spot for our upcoming Open Day on 16 September, make an appointment to visit our campus, visit our website for further information on the courses we offer, or contact us at info@icachef.co.za or (021) 885 1414.