Our Team

Trevor and Desiree Maarschalk

Our family is headed by Trevor and Desiree, the ultimate example of teamwork. Affectionately known as Aunty D, Desiree is the heart of 1000 Hills Chef School. Her impossible to define role includes logistics and operations (everything from shopping for specialist supplies to visiting sick students in hospital) to networking and media (she always has a camera in hand). Her degree in Industrial Relations and work in logistics before years of raising her own two boys and liaising with several school committees (who reluctantly let her go) has perfectly prepared her for this. The other proud parent is Trevor – our MD and Brewer. He got a lot to chew on when this corporate business-man and amateur craft brewer decided to invest in a chef school (with an all-important brewery attached). Trevor brings a lifetime of part-time passions and full-time business experience to running 1000 Hills Chef School. Firm but fair and an exemplary leader, he embodies two crucial lessons for young people looking to build a career: it’s never too late to follow your dreams and no lesson is ever wasted. Trevor leads students at a host of external beer events and guides them in extra classes in business skills. Once in a while, we let him indulge in brewing some beer.

Chef Jade Benians

Our Principal
Chef Jade Benians, South Africa’s Senior Chef of the Year in 2015, is our Principal. A graduate of 1000 Hills Chef School herself, she holds numerous culinary awards and worked in Australia and Scotland after qualifying. She joined us in 2010 and her passion for food matches her love for teaching young people the culinary arts. Chef Jade leads a team of Chef Lecturers that are skilled experts in their culinary area, and they are equally passionate about sharing their love of food and the creative art of cooking with students. Mentored by Chef Dixi in every respect, this enormously talented chef is proud to follow in her footsteps. Under her tutelage, several students have achieved national titles in culinary competitions, including First, Second AND Third at the Junior Chef of the Year competition in 2016 and First and Second in 2018 – an unprecedented record of success.

Chef Shaista Anoop

Foundation Pastry Lecturer
Chef Shaista Anoop describes herself as “extremely passionate” about being a chef and says her greatest satisfaction comes from seeing the look on someone’s face when they enjoy a meal she has prepared. She has wanted to be a chef since she was seven, and says the career is “everything she dreamed it would be, and more!” Chef Shaista represented South Africa at the World Chefs Congress in Malaysia in May 2018 after taking the title of Peppadew Young Chef of the Year 2018. She was also First Runner-up at Unilever Chef of the Year 2018 competition and took second in the Hulett’s Sweet Young Chef competition in 2015. She is a talented and driven young chef and shares her baking flair with first-year Patisserie students.

Chef Ashleigh Watt

Advanced Diploma & Senior Pastry Lecturer
Chef Ashleigh Watt brings a wealth of experience to her students; from heading a team at a 5 star boutique hotel to being a private chef, and creating dining experiences at exclusive weddings to catering corporate events for over 3,000 people. Chef Ash honed her pastry skills with leading chefs before working at a busy kosher bakery and deli in Sandton. She previously lectured at a renowned hospitality school in Johannesburg and Durban but was delighted to come “home” to 1000 Hills Chef School in 2018. Like all truly successful chefs, Chef Ash loves to cook and bake at home, and she loves to travel, taking inspiration from food all over the world. She has worked internationally in the USA, Italy and Seychelles and visited Bali, Thailand, Germany, Austria and Australia.

Chef Nhalakanipho “Sgazo” Ngubane

Chef Lecturer
Chef Sgazo joined our team in August 2019. A graduate of our school, he recently returned from working at the historic Seelbach Hilton Hotel in Louisville, Kentucky, USA where his passion for all things food even landed him on the news! During his time overseas, he focussed on both pastry and fine dining hot kitchen skills, continuing a tradition that saw him take the Hot Kitchen Award and also winning the Huletts Sweet Young Chef competition while a student here. After graduating Chef Sgazo spent several months at The Oyster Box as a pastry chef and worked the busy festive season between his first and second year at Durban’s Chef’s Table. After completing his work contract and travels abroad he returned home to share his experience, enthusiasm and talents with our students.