A recently published article in the local SA Chef’s Magazine, asks this question:

Is talent not enough?

The question was elaborated into a quest to determine whether a solid academic foundation was at all necessary to become a successful chef?  So to speak then: “If you can read, you can cook”. This might even be the adopted philosophy of many culinary institutions locally – that practical training is sufficient enough to become a chef.

The fact is that cooking is a science as much as an art. One cannot exhibit artistic excellence successfully and consistently without the needed knowledge and skill.

To some extent agreement is offered to the publication in saying that to audiences, novice cooks or show attendees, chefs may easily be passed as an artist. It is said that “They give entertainment value and pleasure, because a chef is an artist. The industry is broadly called the Culinary Arts and their educational background is of little or no consequence to the audience.”

However then, why does ICA demand a strong theoretical grasp of the science behind the art?  Why does ICA require this together with an exceptional practical skill and precision to successfully qualify from the ICA?

The answer lies in what awaits graduates beyond culinary studies and their first few years of working and competing in the workplace. It lies in being equipped both academically and practically to rise to the very top, to compete internationally and to reach a level of achievement further than where talent alone can take them.

The real question is this: What makes the ICA stand out from its peers?

Our belief and credo of course: the unwavering commitment to culinary education excellence and continuous high standard of operation.

There is more to a culinary career than “talent” as claimed in the article.  A modern culinary career does not only require you to “just cook and entertain” any longer.  No, there are an array of collective business and entrepreneurial knowledge essential to establish and maintain a successful and profitable career or business.

Ever-changing culinary and social trends demand advanced development of new products to satisfy the accelerated rate of growth in consumer demand and satisfaction of needs.  Social media and marketing to millennials are an ongoing “skill” to satisfy and keep on trend with how to effectively communicate your culinary arts to an audience and end users.

This is what drives the ICA toward their continual quest to provide graduates the tools both as knowledgeable professional and artistic chefs, with a clear understanding of running a business.

At a recent workshop presented in August near Stellenbosch, a leading French Chef and Creative Director of the acclaimed Valrhona Chocolates reiterated that, without the required knowledge and skill to comprehend and understand the functionality and capability of ingredients, it will most surely impair your creativity and consistent success.

We must therefore continue to equip our culinary graduates to be able to adapt and evolve into culinary professionals that practice excellence with calculated business and culinary knowledge.

So, when choosing to become a culinary professional, what are the important questions to ask about the institution and the curriculum on offer?

  • Does the curriculum provide a holistic approach toward an extensive culinary career, e.g. to manage, lead or own a successful business?
  • Does the institution offer a curriculum that provide a broader spectrum of additional culinary career choices, e.g. Product Development, Media Communication or Professional Wine Studies and Events Coordination?
  • Does the curriculum provide a comprehensive theoretical and practical basis before students are placed in industry for essential experiential training?

ICA trains students to excel and to tread the global stage without fear. ICA realize potential and hone their culinary talent through world-class tuition to shape their futures.