A year in review: Graduation 2017

It’s Graduation Day! At last, the day that we have all been working towards has arrived. What a year it has been!

Just over a year ago, Chef Dixi and John Little, much-loved founders of 1000 Hills Chef School introduced a couple from Hillcrest to the management team at our weekly “family meeting”.  John and Chef had decided to retire, and Trevor and Desiree Maarschalk were now the proud owners of 1000 Hills Chef School. Deeply passionate about education, proudly local and totally committed to keeping 1000 Hills Chefs School at the top of the list of private chef schools in SA, “Mr. T” and “Aunty D” have had an intensive year of hand-over from Chef Dixi, and are now firmly rooted in the Chef School family.

Chef Jade, our Principal, has taken the reigns in leading our students, and this year’s fantastic results are a testament to them and to the entire management family that has worked through a year of change and growth. 1000 Hills Chef School has indeed achieved great things:

  • Our involvement in the National Youth Chef Training Programme (NYCTP), funded by the National Department of Tourism through the SA Chefs Association, continues. This year we achieved the highest grades nationally in both the Pastry and Culinary Arts Diplomas in this programme
  • Nhlakanipho “Sgazo” Ngubane is the winner of the Huletts Sweet Young Chef of 2017, the second time one of our young chefs has taken the title
  • Once more, we took top honours in the SA Avo Growers Association Chef School Challenge, with both First and Second place
  • We had four representatives in regional finals for the Unilever Chef of the Year Competition, and Chef Shaista made it to National finals, competing against 5 other stellar young chefs from around the country

But what of the Class of 2017?

The pressure of our Foundation Programme combined with the heat in the kitchen seems to create just the right environment for diamond chefs as we… 

… achieved a 100% pass rate – with a 72% distinction rate!

Students achieved a total of 96 distinctions, with 29 merits and 3 passes (a minimum of 60%). Each student must complete four exams in the first year, and these are the results for each course:

Students who achieved well in the final practical exams were also honoured at the awards ceremony, and the class was pleased to share special recognition for students who went above and beyond, supporting their team.

Excellence awards were presented through the year to:

  • Avikar Sookun
  • Matthew Burke
  • Andile Chule
  • Rebecca Mann
  • Miencke Labuschagne
  • Lynette Spykerman

The Most Valued Student Award goes to those students who consistently go out of their way to help – customers, classmates, their community, and support the name of 1000 Hills Chef School wherever possible.

Recipients for 2017 are:

  • Avikar Sookun
  • Iyadh Ramdas
  • Miencke Labuschagne
  • Sarah Trautman
  • Mbuso Tembe

Cake Décor awards for the final exam were presented to the following students, pictured here with Di Edgecumbe, award-winning cake decorator and our guest lecturer for thirteen years.

  • Jaid Jahla – 3rd
  • Sne Ngcobo and Josh Green – 2nd
  • Lynette Spykerman – 1st place

And finally, the Major Honours of the day are presented to those students who excel in a particular area of the syllabus, showing talent, dedication and commitment to their course of study and chosen profession.

Hot Kitchen award for best Culinary Arts student goes to Jaid Jhala

Pastry Kitchen award for best Patisserie student is shared between Lynette Spykerman and Avikar Sookun.

The Food and Beverage Award for the student that excelled in customer service and hospitality principles  goes to Iyadh Ramdas

The Principal’s Award is a very special award that is presented by Chef Jade to one student who has exemplified “Attitude is Everything” in every possible way. This year’s recipient has done exactly that, achieving outstanding results in the kitchens and exams as well as helping her classmates and the team at Chef School wherever she can. This award goes to Rebecca Mann.

And finally, the CHEF OF THE YEAR award is presented to the student who has achieved excellent results throughout the year, showing consistency and commitment, hard work and determination, and who has really grown into the title of Chef. Drumroll please… this year’s Chef of the Year is Matthew Burke!

All of us here at The 1000 Hills Chef School would like to wish a heartfelt thank you to all the parents and students. Congratulations and good luck. See you next year!

Leave a Comment