What lies behind words?
Words carry so much meaning and yet can be so meaningless.
The ICA often quotes the phrase: “To be the BEST, learn from the BEST”
But who – or what – determines the meaning of this word “BEST”?
At the ICA, we do not believe in praising ourselves using unsubstantiated hollow, trivial sayings. The ICA strongly believes that the true result of training excellence lies in the accolades awarded to the school and its graduates.
It is certainly not about how many students have passed through the training doors.
It is also not about training students for over half a century or more.
It is far more important to see where a training establishments’ students make their mark and what they achieve in this highly competitive industry. It is also significant to note what the ICA as chef school has achieved in merely 2 short decades.
The facts are:
- At the end of 2016 the ICA was recognized by the one of the world’s most influential professional bodies for establishing world-wide culinary training standards as a City & Guilds International Centre of Excellence – the best in the whole of Africa and one of the 3 best chefs training facilities in the world (as evaluated by an entirely independent panel)
- At the beginning of 2017 City & Guilds once again honoured the ICA by appointing its Head of Faculty, Chef Merizle Mitrovich, as Tutor of the Year with an International Medal of Excellence
Both these awards were an absolute first for South Africa as never before have any other hospitality training facility in the country been considered for these accolades.
Since its inception, only 22 years ago, ICA graduates have raked in more award-winning positions on the acclaimed Eat Out Awards lists than any other chef school. In just the past 5 or 6 years, around 30 ICA-trained names featured on the nominees and winners lists of this prestigious platform for acknowledging local talent and most recently walked away with a total of 8 awards for 2017!
Not only would you find young ICA graduates directly from chef school in the best national and international restaurant kitchens alongside names like Heston Blumenthal, René Redzepi, Raymond Blanc, Thomas Keller, Jamie Oliver, Marco Pierre White, Jan-Hendrik van der Westhuizen, Luke Dale-Roberts and even in the past for the rich and famous such as Dodi Al-Fayed…to name just a few!
ICA-trained chefs are even invited to demonstrate their talent on international stages – Identità Golose in Milan, Italy, the World’s biggest culinary showcase – standing shoulder-to-shoulder on the same stage as Massimo Botura, twice appointed BEST chef in the World.
And, when recently asking SA’s top local chefs to whom they turn for inspiration, fingers once again pointed back to ICA training.
It is no wonder that 10 months ago, founder and principal of this multi-awarded school was crowned with the highest personal honour when Letitia Prinsloo was bestowed with the Eat Out Lifetime Achievement Award for her dedication to cheffing in South Africa and training SA chefs to be able to compete on a global level.
It is not about the recognition or the awards. The ICA truly believe that it is through an intensive, classically and scientifically based, industry-driven and career-focussed philosophy of training excellence, that the majority of graduates end up as entrepreneurs in running their own successful operations, be it as restaurant owners, executive chefs, product developers, food writers, editors and stylists for prominent publications and productions or other top positions in the broader culinary career avenue.
So what do those in the know say about the ICA?
- “You can be very proud, all of your pupils are streets ahead of the other colleges.” (Award-winning restauranteur, CT)
- “The one thing that always stands out about the ICA is its integrity.” (Food writer and television co-ordinator)
- “ICA is simply the best in teaching and the knowledge I have learnt is still my anchor with every new dish I develop for WW and the food industry.” (Former student and product developer, CT)
…and the list goes on.