Consumer Studies learners from four Cape Town based high schools got to spend a week in the busy kitchens at GrandWest where they were exposed to the diverse aspects of working behind the scenes in the fast paced hospitality industry. The learners were from Goodwood College, JG Meiring High, Ravensmead High and Sinethemba High.
The initiative, A Day in the Life of a Chef, was organised by GrandWest’s Social Economic Development Department as an extension to its Consumer Studies upliftment programme which has seen the Consumer Studies classrooms at the four schools upgraded to ensure better learning environments for the learners. The upgrade project included equipping the classrooms with seven stoves each, as well as crockery, cooking utensils and fridges. Industrial tables and cupboards were installed, while various aesthetic improvements were also made, including fixing the ceilings and repainting the classrooms.The A Day in the Life of a Chef initiative sought to ignite a passion for culinary arts amongst the learners by giving them practical insight into the range of career opportunities available to them in the hospitality field.
During their week at GrandWest, the 40 learners spent time in various restaurant kitchens as well as the hotel’s kitchen where they enjoyed learning about pastry making, kitchen hygiene, catering for banquets and other important functions. The skills and knowledge gained will help them to prepare for a Master Chef competition to be hosted by GrandWest later this year.
One of the highlights of the A Day in the Life of a Chef initiative was the development of a 72 page recipe book to which the learners were able to contribute. Once completed, each school will be given 80 copies of the recipe book to sell in aid of further equipping the Consumer Studies classrooms at their schools.
“The culinary industry, like many industries, faces a skills shortage and there is a need to attract new blood and passion to the field. Our classroom upgrade project not only ensures that Consumer Studies learners have the chance to learn in a conducive and appropriately equipped environment, but it will help to create a pool of qualified and employable people for the hospitality sector. By giving learners the experience of working with our food and beverage teams, we can open their eyes to the diverse career opportunities that are available to them in this field,” says Heidi Edson, Group Social Economic Development Manager for Sun International.