The South African Chefs Association (SACA) has recently been awarded Professional Body Status by the South African Qualification Authority (SAQA)
The South African Chefs Association (SACA) has recently been awarded Professional Body Status by the South African Qualification Authority (SAQA); an exciting an important milestone, not only for SACA, but for the culinary industry of South Africa.
Promoting the art and science of cookery in South Africa since 1974, SACA has been widely recognised throughout the hospitality industry as the authority on quality and education within the culinary field. As a representative member of the World Association of Chefs Societies, SACA also represents the South African chef on the global stage.
SACA currently has over 6,200 members and five regional branches around the country, with members including catering and hotel company directors, restaurateurs, chefs, cooks, culinary educators, apprentices and trainees. SACA is an important platform for transferring skills and networking to maintain and grow the quality of the culinary industry of South Africa.
In recognition of its integrity and dedication to the industry, SACA was accepted into SAQA’s Pilot Phase in 2011, and after months of scrutiny and thorough assessment, it was announced last week that SACA successfully meets all the necessary SAQA criteria and has been officially awarded Professional Body Status.
“After years of hard work and dedication to cookery in South Africa, it is a great milestone for the South African Chefs Association in that it gives the association and its members formal legitimacy in the larger hospitality industry and paves the way for quality standards and for chefs to be formally recognised as industry professionals,” says Stephen Billingham, the President of South African Chefs Association.
An exciting new step for SACA, 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 for the classification, registration, publication and articulation of quality-assured national qualifications.
SACA can register professional designations to the NQF – outlining the qualifications and experience necessary for the roles as Commis Chef, Chef de Partie, Sous Chef, Head Chef and Executive Chef. In setting the standards for entry into these roles, SACA is building on and promoting the professionalism of the cookery industry.
Training and skills development is crucial to the progress of any industry, and in line with registering professional designations, SACA now has the authority to recognise suitable education providers and training systems. The SACA-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 SACA’s official authority as a Professional Body comes much responsibility. SACA 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 WACS, SACA 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, SACA 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.