The South African Chefs Association has been promoting the art and science of cookery in South Africa since 1974. In 2012 SA Chefs was recognized as the Professional Body Status by the South African Qualification Authority (SAQA) and has been acknowledged throughout the hospitality industry as the authority on quality and education within the culinary field. SA Chefs was re-recognized as the Professional Body in 2018.
SA Chefs is an important platform for transferring skills and networking to maintain and grow the quality of the culinary industry of South Africa. With a current membership of over 9600 and five regional branches, the association has done well for culinary professionals.
As a Professional Body, the association can now work in conjunction with the Quality Council to set the standards for formal qualifications registered on the National Qualifications Framework (NQF). The NQF is a comprehensive system approved by the Minister of Education.
SA Chefs can register professional designations to the NQF – outlining the qualifications and experience necessary for the roles as:
• Chef de Partie
• Sous Chef
• Head Chef
In setting the standards for entry into these roles, SA Chefs is building on and promoting the professionalism of the cookery industry. SA Chefs pledges to continue to contribute towards building the national education and training system, and will work towards setting and administering its own board exams in the future.
Training and skills development is crucial to the progress of any industry, and in line with registering professional designations, SA Chefs now has the authority to recognise suitable education providers and training systems. The SA Chefs-recognised schools will have an excellent curriculum, and a track record of equipping student chefs with the skills, work ethic, kitchen code of conduct and integrity to be a successful chef in the industry.
In line with SA Chefs official authority as a Professional Body comes much responsibility. SA Chefs pledges to continue to contribute towards building the national education and training system, and will work towards setting and administering its own board exams in the future.
Building on the relationship with World Chefs, SA Chefs will also encourage international practice, raising the esteem of the South African chefs’ profession on a local and global platform.
“The South African culinary industry has grown and developed tremendously to become diverse and world-class. We look forward to setting standards and raising the profile of the South African chef on both the local and international stage,” says Billingham.
Constantly striving to improve the culinary world in South Africa, SA Chefs has spearheaded important initiatives like the Tsogo Sun Centre for Culinary Excellence in partnership with the University of Johannesburg’s School of Tourism and Hospitality and the National Youth Chefs Training Programme in association with the National Department of Tourism.
Reaching SAQA’s Professional Body Status is a momentous achievement for the chefs, directors, board members and honorary life members of the association, and is a great platform for developing South Africa’s culinary industry further.