10 Best Culinary Schools in Africa
Cooking is a skill that can be taught and perfected over years of experience and with lots of dedication, and, last but certainly not least, by traveling as far away as possible. Probably greater than the world map itself is the map of flavors, so specific and yet so widely spread that it’s nearly impossible for one person to have walked through and indulged in it all.
Yet, in this insatiable world of taste, there are flavors we grow up with, some that impress us along the way, and others that we can reinterpret and reinvent. All of us love to experience and enjoy foods. But there are some among us who want to take these skills much, much further and sharpen their tools through formal training. And it’s not only about perfecting the act of cooking. Going pro also means having the proper mindset to be able to perform under a lot of pressure, since the culinary domain and the professional kitchen are often savage and unforgiving.
Prestigious culinary schools around the globe offer formal training, and we’re not just talking about cooking skills. We’re also talking about soft and not-so-soft skills that are indispensable for setting up own your successful business, restaurant, cafe, or bar. We’re talking about management techniques, menu planning, financial planning and cost control, and even a few of the legal aspects of operating in this business.
Culinary schools offer the full range, from classic to molecular cuisine, but all this training does come at a price. Top schools are very expensive and it’s difficult to make a decent buck right after graduation, so you might want to take into consideration the best options for making a living while you are perfecting your cooking skills and style. However, there are luckily plenty of funding programs and scholarships, and if you do your research right, you’ll probably get what you want.
The hospitality, restaurant, catering, and tourism industry in Africa is developing quickly as tourism increases.
Exposure to native cuisine is the best first-hand training for students. From then on, it’s only a matter of the time needed to travel around the kitchens of the world. The fascinating thing when it comes to cuisine is the multicultural mix ‘n match between chefs of different backgrounds, with adventurous tastes and experiences that go to create food that brings joy to food enthusiasts and that eventually turn into kitchen artistry. Out of the top international cooking schools, the most popular are found in the big cities around the world and offer more than just degrees. They provide access to regional cuisine, famous restaurants, acclaimed chefs, and culturally flavored food knowledge right from source.
The region we focus on for this article is Africa. The hospitality, restaurant, catering, and tourism industry in Africa is developing quickly as tourism increases. This makes career opportunities for culinary school graduates very promising as it requires more and more chefs. The United Nations’ World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) 2019 report shows Africa had the highest growth of all world regions. In 2018, the continent drew almost 67 million visitors from around the world. That is 7% more compared to the previous year.
It goes without saying that high demand is the best starting point for chefs at the beginning of their career, offering not only opportunities but also numerous advantages. We’ve interviewed chefs around the world to find out whether they’d suggest professional training in cooking schools before becoming a chef, to which 70% responded with a very definite yes.
So let’s take you through the best, critically acclaimed culinary schools in Africa.
1. The Institute of Culinary Arts, Stellenbosch, South Africa
Award winning and Internationally rated the Best Chef School in Africa and one of the top three culinary schools in the world.
Enter as an amateur and become a highly skilled, world-class chef. The Institute of Culinary Arts in South Africa is based on classic principles alongside innovative, out-of-the-box thinking and lots of creativity.
But as well as being an art, food is also science. In order to understand the science behind food, the ICA is guided by the fundamentals chefs need to explore and develop their palate, learn how to think ahead, master ratios behind classic recipes, and aim for nothing less than perfection. Becoming an ICA-trained chef will guarantee your worldwide prominence, sculpting a type of individuality for every style, teaching how to refine your distinctive character, making it through both temporary and long-lasting trends.
Qualification and Degrees:
- ICA 3-Year Diploma: Advanced Culinary Arts, Advanced Pâtisserie & Specialist Culinary Field
- City & Guilds Diploma in Food Preparation & Cooking (Culinary Arts)
- City & Guilds Diploma in Food Preparation & Cooking (Pâtisserie)
- Certificate of Unit Credit: Food Safety in Catering
- First Aid Level 1
- City & Guilds Certificate in Food & Beverage Service (optional)
See more details, course fees and frequently asked questions here.
2. Capsicum Culinary Studio, Cape Town (& 5 other locations) South Africa
With six campuses across South Africa, in Pretoria, Boksburg, Cape Town, Durban, Port Elizabeth, and Rosebank, Capsicum is one of the largest chef schools in the country, and the entire continent for that matter, with over 6,000 graduates to date.
Qualifications include the One Year Professional Chef Program, Professional Patisserie Program, Beverage Services Program, Three Year Advanced Culinary Arts Program, 4-month Assistant Chef Program and various Masterclasses.
More than 8% of worldwide employment is in the food industry, meaning one in 22 people in South Africa works in the field. Thus, Capsicum graduates can expect career opportunities. Qualifications are internationally accredited by City & Guilds, Worldchefs, Cathsseta and Fasset, certifying competency, authority, and credibility.
You can opt for full-time and part-time courses. See them below.
- Advanced Professional Chef Program
- Professional Chef Program
- Professional Patisserie Program
- Food and Beverage Program
- Assistant Chef Program
- Rookie CHEF (Exclusive to High School Learners ONLY)
- Short Order Cook Bootcamp
- Online Courses: Chef 101
3. JHB Culinary & Pastry School, Johannesburg, South Africa
As chefs Kelvin and Jarlyne Joel, founders of the JHB Culinary and Pastry School, would have it, a good chef needs qualification as well as experience. With over 250 students since its inception in 2012, JHB Culinary & Pastry School offers 30% theoretical training and 70% practical training.
JHB promises national as well as international recognition through its partnerships such as the one with Le Castel Hotel School in France, in which students are given the opportunity to expand their approach to cuisine through adapting to various environments.
National Courses Include:
- National Certificate: Hospitality and Catering Services
- QCTO Chef Professional Qualification
- FoodBEV SETA (NQF Level 2)
- City & Guilds International Diploma in Culinary Arts
- City & Guilds International Diploma in Patisserie
JHB Culinary & Pastry School offers full-time and part-time courses, nationally and internationally accredited by City Guilds, FoodBev SETA and Quality Council for Trades and Occupations.
4. Red Dish Chronicles, Lagos & Abuja, Nigeria
This is said to be the best culinary school in Nigeria and focuses on teaching how to create, replicate, and enhance dishes from all around the world. The chefs and teachers at the Red Dish Chronicles are mentors to students willing to reinterpret traditional cooking methods and explore modern cuisine, honoring the old ways and experimenting with the new.
Offering courses between three weeks and one year, RDC has three areas of focus:
- RDC Kitchen Design, zooming in on creating proper cooking spaces and remodeling them for personal and commercial use
- RDC Culinary services, with a focus on food trucks and large-scale catering
- RDC Consultancy, dealing with management of kickstart projects of anything from restaurants to kitchen staff training and everything in between
Here are the courses in Abuja you can follow:
- Continental Culinary Arts Course
- African Culinary Arts Course
- Dessert Culinary Arts Course
- Artisan Bread/Boulangerie Course
- French Pastry Culinary Arts Course
- Cake Baking/ Decorations Course
- Professional Chefs Diploma – Cuisine
- Professional Chefs Diploma – Patisserie
- Professional Chefs Diploma – Cuisine + Patisserie
- Professional Chefs Diploma – Combination Program
5. BOMA International Hospitality College, Nairobi, Kenya
In partnership with the Business and Hotel Management School (BHMS) Switzerland, BOMA International aims to develop interests and skills in the hospitality industry. Following the Swiss example of balancing theory with practical applications, BOMA is exploiting the Applied Hotels Operations way of doing things within the departments of Food and Beverage and Rooms Division.
The study curriculum includes international internship programs in the USA, the Middle East and parts of the Caribbean, teaching graduates and students all the necessary know-how for the demanding industry of hospitality, while providing training in areas such as front office operations, food and beverage service techniques, professional chefs’ courses and housekeeping and laundry operations, among others.
Specialized cooking courses at this school:
- Swiss Diploma in Culinary Arts
- Certificate in Culinary Operations
- Certificate in Food and Beverage Operations
- International Cookery
- Pastry & Bakery
6. Chef’s Academy, Abuja, Nigeria
Established in 2013, Chef’s Academy is the first culinary school in Abuja and has quickly established a good reputation, giving graduates the opportunity and all the necessary tools to acquire the know-how in mastering the art of cooking, as well as what it takes to become an entrepreneur in the business, which requires an extra set of skills.
Chef’s Academy offers the perfect blend of entrepreneurship and culinary skills to create your ideal education, because it’s not only your cooking that needs to be perfected if you want to pursue a career in cuisine.
The 5-star educational experience at Chef’s Academy takes you through the following courses:
- African Culinary Art
- Cake Baking Art + Cake Baking Art (Advanced)
- Chef’s Academy Junior (Summer course for kids)
- Continental Culinary Art
- Diploma in Culinary Art
- Dessert / Pastry Art
- Advanced Continental Culinary Art
- Professional Diploma in Culinary Art
- Healthy Living Cuisine
7. International Hotel and Tourism Institute, Nairobi, Kenya
The second school on our list in Kenya offering specialized training in the hotel and hospitality industry is the International Hotel and Tourism Institute (IHTI).
Founded in 2005, when only four students were enrolled, IHTI has to date seen more than 250 students through to professionalism and excellence. It is one of the most prestigious cooking schools in Kenya and manages to focus on other important areas in the hospitality domain. Full-time and part-time courses are available for people looking to enroll in this constantly growing field.
Culinary courses are as follows:
60-hour courses (1 month):
- Cookery Level I
- Cookery Level II
- Pastry Level I
- Pastry Level II
180-hour courses (3 months):
- Wine and Bar Knowledge
- Food and Beverage Service Techniques
- Food & Beverage Service Supervision
8. Egyptian Chefs Association, Cairo, Egypt
One of the oldest schools on our list, Egyptian Chefs Association was founded in 1997 and is a well-renowned NGO looking to serve not only the community of chefs but everyone else, too, and provides culinary education and mentorship for chefs throughout their careers. Alongside that, the ECA offers consultancy to food manufacturers, showing concern about Egyptian wellbeing starting with the food they eat.
The ECA is actively involved in activities such as training and education, publishing and editing their own magazine, Chef’s Corner, participating in culinary competitions worldwide, nominating culinary ambassadors, and engaging in humanitarian acts such as donating food to the less fortunate.
There are more ways in which you can team up with ECA:
- Becoming a chef member
- Becoming an associated member
- Becoming a corporate member
- Becoming a sponsor
- Becoming a donor
Follow this link for more information.
9. Styda Culinary Academy, Warri, Nigeria
Circling our way around, we’re closing this article on the best culinary schools in Africa with another one in Nigeria, and we’ll be finishing up with South Africa once more.
Styda Culinary Academy wants to prove that one can achieve great performance even with affordable training, investing this vision in their students who will develop into creative cooks serving the best cuisine worldwide. And last but not least, providing training that will refine the African culinary entrepreneurship, revolutionizing the continent’s food industry.
Styda Culinary Academy offers 8 modules of study to choose from:
- African Culinary Class
- French Baking and Patisserie Program
- Continental Culinary Arts Program | Cuisine
- Professional Cake Making and Decorating Program
- Professional Chef Diploma (Cuisine)
- Professional Chef Diploma (Baking and Patisserie)
- Professional Chef’s Diploma (Cuisine and Baking) Course
- Professional Diploma Program (Cuisine, Baking and Patisserie)
- Kids/Teens Cooking and Baking Class (Summer Classes)
- Refresher Course
10. Silwood School of Cookery, Rondebosch, South Africa
Many chefs, food producers, and food writers have started their career at Silwood, South Africa’s most acclaimed cooking school, which has over 54 years of experience, making it the oldest one as well. Silwood graduates can be found in top kitchens around the world: Heston Blumenthal’s Fat Duck & Dinner restaurants, Raymond Blanc’s Le Manoir, Gordon Ramsay’s, and even Noma Restaurant in Copenhagen.
Not much else is needed to introduce you to one of the most prestigious cooking schools in South Africa and throughout the entire world. We could go on talking about the achievements and prestige, but instead we’ve just given you a little glimpse of our top picks so you can do some research for yourself, not to take away all the fun.
So let us take you through the courses they offer, and let you decide for yourself.
- 1 Year Silwood Cordons Bleus Certificate
- 2 Year Silwood Cordons Bleus Certificate
- 3 Year Silwood Cordons Bleus Certificate
- 1 year Patisserie Certificate Course (Part-time)