The Swiss Hotel School South Africa Professional Chef Programme

The Swiss Hotel School South Africa Professional Chef Programme

Overview of the programme
Developed on the back of over 20 years of experience in culinary education, it provides students with a solid basis on which to build a career in the industry. It provides teaching through classroom theory, on-campus applied theory, and assessed practical workshops and planned progressive exposure to the world of work.

Outcomes of the programme
A thorough grounding in professional cookery from commodities and basic preparations, though a variety of cooking methods and techniques from simple snacks to those dishes sitting more comfortably on a gastronomic menu in a five-star hotel. Dealing with hot and cold kitchen, pastry, and bakeries, the programme examines processes and best practices in cooking for small numbers as you would expect in your friendly local restaurant and the large numbers involved in institutional catering, conferences and events. The programme also covers additional subjects such as IT, Business Communications, Nutrition, and Financial Control to provide context and a broader understanding of what is required at a senior level within the kitchen.

Assessment is varied and fit for purpose. Theory modules will be subject to written tests and assignments. On-campus practical workshops will be assessed on the day and feedback given. Learning outcomes achieved through participation in school functions, events, and team-based projects will be assessed and contribute an appropriate percentage towards final module marks. Work undertaken in the industry will be evaluated qualitatively and quantitively through student completion of logbooks, portfolios, records of achievement, employer feedback and assignments.

A note on the qualification
The three-year programme is developed around the learning requirements of the NQF level 5, Occupational Certificate accredited by the Quality Council for Trades and Occupations (QCTO), a quality (assurance) council appointed under the Skills Development Act by the Department of Education. The development of this qualification was project-managed by South Africa Chefs Association and enjoys broad-based industry support. The long-term aim of the project is to establish a strong national qualification that is recognised internationally for its scope and integrity, thereby giving qualification holders extended international opportunities. Though the School takes full responsibility for all teaching and learning during the 3 years, granting of the final qualification by QCTO requires the student to challenge a national theoretical and practical examination (Trade Test) administered by the industry SETA (Sectoral Education and Training Authority) and NAMB (National Artisan Moderation Body). On return from the final internship, the school will run a “gap-filling” and revision week prior to the student applying for a trade test date.

On successful completion, students will receive:
• Occupational Certificate CHEF (NQF level 5)
• The Swiss Hotel School Culinary Certificate of Completion
• City and Guilds Certificate in Food Preparation & Cooking (8065-01)
• City & Guilds Diploma in Food Preparation & Cooking (8065 -02)
• Guild of Coffees Barista Course
• First Aid Level 1 certificate


Safety and Hygiene in the Workplace
This module deals with all aspects of safety that the new industry entrant needs to know. Starting with personal hygiene, the chef’s uniform and proper hygienic practices, the module develops into workplace safety (hazards and risk control) and responsibilities to the team and concludes with a detailed look at food safety – types of contamination and temperature control (storage, cooking, holding).

READ ALSO  UJ Faculty of Arts, Design  and Architecture-About Us

Preparation for Tertiary Study
This support module is designed to ensure that the student is ready for higher-level studies. The module covers numeracy, units of measurement in common use, percentages and the sort of calculations in common use in the kitchen. It also seeks to ensure basic IT competence in word processing, spreadsheets, emails and using the internet to conduct research. It concludes with the professional chef’s responsibility towards ongoing personal development, study methods and life-long learning.

Environmental Studies 1: Awareness
Looks at various concepts of environmental conservation and protection – climate change, water and air pollution and how such issues impact responsible catering operations especially “conscious” cooking and waste management.

Nutrition 1: Introduction to Nutrition
Deals with the foundations of nutrition such as different food groups, nutrients and the concept of a “balanced” diet. It develops with the consideration of special dietary requirements and how the chef can helpfully respond.

Introduction to hospitality
This module covers the hospitality industry as a whole, how it sits within the Tourism sector and its component parts. It examines the various aspects of Food Service and Catering and explains the roles and responsibilities of key role players.

Commodity Studies: Basic ingredients
Building on the introduction to nutrition this module examines the various food groups (proteins, starches, fats etc) and more specific ingredients such as leavening agents and preservatives. It concludes with an overview of beverages (hot and cold beverages, wines, malts, spirits and non-alcoholic beverages).

Theory of food production
Various food production systems including such as cook-serve and cook-chill operations. Mise en place and prep’ lists. Portion control concepts are introduced as are monitoring and quality control of inputs and outputs Food preparation methods, equipment and techniques.
This foundational module familiarises students with a wide range of kitchen tools and equipment. It introduces the student to various knives and their uses and everything from pots and pans to cutters, slicers and mixers. It concludes with a review of various cooking methods and when to use them.

Food preparation 1
Explores cooking methods and techniques; the preparation and presentation of cold foods, fruit, vegetables, starches, stocks, soups, sauces, eggs and cheese. This theoretical module operates in tandem with planned, hands-on sessions in the training kitchen where students develop practical skills and techniques.

Internships 1 & 2
The objectives of both these internships are to make students comfortable with the pace and intensity of commercial operations. Internship 1 is normally spent in the retail sector where hands-on experience with products is the aim. The second internship is in a hotel or larger restaurant where there is the possibility of working in different corners exists.


Safety and Hygiene 2: Supervision
Building on the first-year module this module discusses how to get the job done in the workplace. It looks at establishing policies, roles and responsibilities, creating procedures, and quality controls to ensure compliance. It closes on aspects of records, dealing with accident reporting and compliance.

READ ALSO  UL School Of Economics and Management Courses Offered

Menu planning and recipe costing
Introduces students to the various types of menus prevalent in the industry and why they are suited to different demand situations. It also deals with the fundamentals of costing dishes, manually and using spreadsheets, and explores the most popular methods of determining selling prices.

Environmental studies 2: Sustainability
Building on the first-year module this one examines the various challenges relating to a range of ingredients – meat, fish, vegetables, grains, poultry and game.

Nutrition 2: Healthier food preparation
This module answers the question – how can the professional chef produce healthier food? It deals with the various well-known diets of the day, healthy alternatives and reducing the destruction of nutrients.

Gastronomy and Menu Development
This module looks at gastronomy from a variety of perspectives – from scientific principles, flavour dynamics and development, to the gastronomic characteristics of a variety of global cuisines. Practical workshopping will involve students in researching different national cuisines and creating themed menus.

Professional development
Deals with establishing a personal brand with a view to accessing better job opportunities. Includes preparation of a curriculum vitae, preparing for job interviews, use of social media and maintaining a positive online presence.

Food preparation 2
Builds on the first year module and focuses on grains and pulses, farinaceous dishes and pasta, meat, poultry, game, offal, fish, shellfish, basic pastry, and desserts. Again, includes planned practical sessions giving students opportunities to apply theoretical learning and to develop “cooking under pressure skills” required for the national trade test.

Operational Supervision 1
This module requires students to apply aspects of theoretical learning to practical challenges. Specifically, students will assist new first years with their settling in, acting as mentors and supporters. They will also participate in planning, executing, and evaluating a variety of meal experiences from regular on-campus lunches to breakfast, dinner, and specialist events.

Internships 3 & 4
The theme of Internship 3 is large scale catering; be it in functions, eventing, conference or industrial catering, or centrally produced pastry and confectionery. Internship 4 returns the student to Hotel and restaurant catering were “cook to order” is the norm.


Cost control 2: Financial reporting
This module covers aspects of book-keeping, accounting, and financial management from a chef’s perspective. It familiarises students with accounting terminology, common reports (P&L, Balance sheet, Cash Flow forecasts, budgets, asset registers, etc), defining profitability, and how to achieve it through sales promotion and more often control of expenses. Purchasing and stores organisation.
Deals with professional purchasing from food specifications and quality issues, prices, supplier relations, receiving, storage, stock takes and issuing of requisitions to working with accounting personnel.

Theory of food production supervision
This module deals with establishing a highly productive food service operation through consideration of staffing issues, (scheduling, training, motivation) use of production equipment, and establishing procedures appropriate to the type of operation.

READ ALSO  UJ Faculty Of Engineering And Built Environment-Contact Address

Food preparation 3: Advanced techniques
building on the learning achieved in the first 2 years, this module addresses a number of more difficult culinary challenges such as performed in a delicatessen (food preservation, curing, pickling, forcemeats, and pates) or a patisserie (modern cake assembly, plated desserts and working with chocolate).

Practical sessions will provide valuable hands-on experience for students and a chance to practice higher-level skills in preparation for the national Trade Test.

Operation Supervision 2
Developing from OS 1 this module involves the student in a number of capstone projects which require students to plan, organise, supervise, and evaluate operations. This will entail creating and costing menus in response to a specific brief, scheduling the workforce, organizing equipment, ordering, receiving and issuing products, supervising cooking and service, and on completion evaluating financial results and customer feedback.

Internship 5
As the final internship can also become the graduates’ first full-time position, the nature of this internship will be selected with student input. By this stage in the programme, students will be expected to hold down a responsible position and will therefore be paid during this period.

Professional Chef Programme: Admission
To be eligible for admission to the Professional Chef programme, applicants need to meet the following minimum requirements:
• Applicants require a South African National Senior Certificate (NSC) with a matriculation endorsement.
• Demonstrable passion for cooking
• Self-disciplined and willing to work hard

Applicants will be CONDITIONALLY ADMITTED based on their Grade 11 or equivalent results, subject to them meeting all the minimum requirements. FINAL ADMISSION to the programme will depend on the final Grade 12 results.

If the applicant’s Senior Certificate was received prior to 2008 or if they completed a different school leaving qualification or if they completed their formal high school qualification at an international institution, a separate arbitration will be made by the Registrar based on this qualification levels of parity with the APS system.

Application Process
Applications are welcome from all qualified, interested students regardless of race, religion, national origin, or sexual orientation. The School aims to conclude most of its registration work by November each year but recognizes that with matriculation results being published later than usual in 2022 there may be some last-minute activity.