Author Archive

Unlocking umami: The fifth taste you’ll want to know all about

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The word umami has been a buzzword worldwide for some time now, but to many, its definition remains mysterious. What do you know umami to be? Some foodies may answer this question with a simple answer of the “fifth taste”, but what does that mean exactly? Let’s explore all that is umami.

The discovery of the fifth taste

When someone asks you how something tastes, your answer could be any word that is a synonym for tasty. But if you want to get detailed, that answer could be broken down in many ways: five in fact. There are now five universally accepted basic tastes that stimulate and are perceived by our taste buds.

These tastes are sweet, salty, sour, bitter and umami.

Umami is not just a combination of two or more of the other four tastes. It turns out that the word and concept were coined in the early twentieth century, by a Japanese chemist. He named the term “umami”. This Japanese word roughly means “pleasant savoury taste” when translated.
Researchers proved that umami was an independent taste. It also has its own specific receptor — found in the centre of our tongue.

The taste of umami

We can describe umami as having a mild but lasting aftertaste. The aftertaste is generally associated with salivation and stimulation of the throat, the roof and the back of your mouth. It adds complexity to a meal when paired with other tastes.

You can taste the deep, dark, meaty intensity of umami in foods that contain a high level of amino acid glutamate, like seared beef, soy sauce, miso, parmesan cheese, anchovies, and mushrooms, among other things.

The characteristics of umami taste

Picnic setting with Camembert cheese (umami flavours), nuts and bread

Exploring umami foods

Although this term was born in Japan, the umami element can be found in foods purchased from your local grocery store.

To get technical, umami is the taste of glutamate, an amino acid that is one of the building blocks of protein. Glutamate occurs naturally in the human body and in many delicious foods we eat every day. Let’s take a look at some of these:


Truffles go with practically anything as they are a flavour enhancer and have an umami taste. Pair truffles with a creamy potato and leek soup, the flavour enhances all elements and your taste buds will be left wanting more.


Aged camembert can smell earthy (like mushrooms) or hay, with an intensely savoury, umami flavour. Add camembert to an open sandwich to create a complex mix of flavour profiles and elevate an ordinary sandwich.

Soy sauce

Soy sauce has been used as an umami seasoning since ancient times in Asia. The complex fermentation processing of soybeans, as the raw material in soy sauce production, gives a distinctly delicious taste. It’s well known that soy sauce pairs well with sushi and Asian dishes, but explore interesting salad dressing combinations of soy sauce and vinegar, or citrus to heighten the flavours of your next leafy salad.

Cured meats

Cured meats like pepperoni, salami, and bacon have more glutamate than fresh meats. This is because the curing process breaks down the proteins and makes free glutamate compounds.‌

You’ll find some of these delectable ingredients infused on the menu at our Classroom Café. Check it out.

Girl enjoying eating sushi with umami soy sauce

Make haste: umami is the taste to embrace

Whether intentionally or unintentionally, we often add umami whenever it seems like something is missing in our food. Cooking with ingredients rich in glutamate will round out the flavours in any dish.

Umami boosters are great to stock your pantry with including ketchup, miso, truffle oil, ranch dressing, and soy sauce, to name a few. Proteins like pork, beef, fish, and shellfish make strong umami foundations and vegetables like tomatoes, mushrooms, and seaweeds are also high in glutamate.

And for the purest form of umami, sprinkle a dash of monosodium glutamate (MSG). Add any combination of these glutamate-rich ingredients and you’ve got an umami bomb!

Although there has been controversy in the past on MSG, we now know that MSG is an additive that makes umami stronger. This is similar to adding salt to food to make food taste salty.

For tantalising umami-rich meals, visit 1000 Hill Chef School. To keep up with the tastiest trends in the food industry, follow us on Facebook or Instagram.

Waste management in the kitchen and sustainability in cheffing

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Two decades ago, the restaurant industry whipped up menus according to what chefs enjoyed cooking and what guests liked to eat with few other considerations about the world around them. Today, our food industry has drastically changed with an increased awareness of where food comes from, the seasonality of ingredients and other sustainability approaches to food. Waste management in the kitchen and other ethical practices have fast become something many restaurants, eateries and cafés need to consider to do their part in our environmental climate. Let’s put the food industry on the hot seat and learn more about sustainability in this industry. 

Sustainable is the new normal

Sustainability and locality are buzzwords we are sure you have heard in the past few years when talking and reading about food. Often, when we hear these words, our minds jump to the idea of sitting in a wine-farm eatery and munching on the fresh vegetables produced right on the farm. This is a beautiful visual but for many restaurants, this may not be possible or feasible. However, as consumers have become more aware of what and how they eat, the industry as a whole is shifting towards ethical sourcing, sustainable ingredients and plant-based dining. From small changes to big statements, kitchens everywhere are seeing the change.


Our tips on sustainability and waste management in the kitchen

waste management in the kitchen

Cooking in-season ingredients is in 

Keeping your menu seasonal is one thing your restaurant can do to become more sustainable and earth-friendly. Operating this way requires a certain amount of flexibility and creativity on the part of the chefs (which is why we love innovative cooking in our classroom), but the quality is well worth the effort. Fresh produce and good protein can make a meal all that more delectable. 

In a world where you can shop anywhere, shop local

In terms of sourcing and locality, we’re seeing chefs getting more serious than ever. Local suppliers can bring your restaurant or eatery the best quality items for your menu. Speaking of your menu, sustainable food sourcing can actually lead to a much more refined, varied, and high-quality selection of dishes — and this is what makes food artful. 

Embrace the plants

waste management in the kitchen

There is a growing demand for vegetarian and vegan food both locally and abroad, where once it was very rarely found on the menu of restaurants. Dairy and protein are not just expensive items, but they are also the least sustainable ingredient in a place of food. Your restaurant can reduce its impact by replacing a meat option or two with more plant-based options. These dishes can be interesting, creative and most importantly, tasty. 

We have a few vegan and vegetarian dishes on our menu that everyone is sure to enjoy.

Recycling turns things into other things, it’s like magic

From leftover food packaging to old kitchen supplies, a kitchen can produce a ton of waste. Restaurants and bars will find that by setting up waste management in the kitchen they can reduce the amount of waste produced and reduce their disposal costs. Of course, recycling is an amazing way to move into a sustainable space and reduce your carbon footprint. 

What 1000 Hills Chef School is doing for waste management in the kitchen and sustainability

waste management in the kitchen

As passionate chefs and foodies, it is of the utmost importance that our students learn how key it is to do what they can to support the environment and the sustainability movement. We encourage local sourcing of ingredients by sourcing our eggs from ethical suppliers and using organically farmed chickens, as well as supporting other local suppliers. 

We love recycling! As a school, we recycle our spent oil and have a glass recycling station where staff and students can recycle glass bottles, glass food containers, glass jars and more. 

We also teach non-wastage. This inspires our future chefs to use as much of their ingredients as possible, letting them get creative sometimes and use their imaginations — some of the best dishes come out of this technique. During practical exams, students even get marked down for wastage. 

1000 Hills Chef School’s campus is set amongst a scenic landscape of the Valley of 1000 Hills, a beautiful feature in our exquisite country. We want to be a part of the solution in keeping the environment clean and changing the way we do things, to ensure our space stays the way it is!

Let’s work together and be kind to the planet – it’s the only one with chocolate (vegan chocolate, too).

Food trends for 2022: What we’re eating and what chefs are preparing

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We’ve already cooked our way through the first few months of the year. (Can you believe it?) And if you’re a culinary connoisseur, you’ve probably picked up on some food trends – spanning across food constitution, meal combinations, ingredient preferences, and cooking behaviours. In this article, we highlight seven of the top food trends for 2022. Read on to get clued up! And if you’re interested, put this knowledge to practice as a student of 1000 Hills Chef School. Enrol now.

food trends for 2022

7 food trends for 2022 to keep on your radar:

1. Condiment captivation

In 2022, we’re obsessed with condiments. Obsessed! BBQ sauce, pesto, yuzu dressing, sriracha, salsa, hot sauce, mustard – we can’t get enough. Especially when we’re grabbing takeaway foods that need a flavour lift, or preparing home-cooked meals from scratch. If you can relate, know there’s no shame in loving condiments. Anything that makes food tastier gets a tick in our cookbook.

2. Plant-based food alternatives

2021 saw a boom in plant-based foods, and this has continued into 2022. For example, many choose to swap out meat for mushrooms, seafood for tofu, and cow’s milk for plant milk. As a result of this trend, the food industry is catering for a larger number of vegetarians, vegans, and health-conscious individuals than perhaps ever before. So yes, you can expect to see a plume in plant-based food options as we move deeper into 2022. Click here for vegetarian meal ideas.

3. Pup-friendly restaurants

It should come as no surprise that there are often dogs in restaurants these days. Many of our canine friends need our company 24/7 as they have become used to having us around. (What with the pandemic forcing us to spend more time at home, and all.) When you head out to local food joints, especially the outdoor ones, see if there is a dog-friendly policy. We have one at the Classroom Café – check out our Bar(k) Snacks menu.

food trends for 2022

4. Home cooking

Another trend brought on by the pandemic is home cooking. (One of the more inspiring food trends for 2022 that we hope continues into the future.) Many South Africans have taken meal prep into their own hands since 2020, and have actually found joy in the experience. Experimenting with new dishes and flavour combinations can be so fulfilling – not to mention healthy if you cook with fresh, organic ingredients. Unleash your inner foodie with inspirational culinary shows.

5. Functional nutrition

The health revolution has brought with it certain expectations when it comes to food. People today don’t just want food that tastes good. They want food that makes their life better in some way. And is good for their bodies. For example, ‘superfoods’ that offer lifestyle benefits – like improved mood and increased energy – as well as health benefits in the form of essential vitamins and minerals. So if an ingredient acts as a health supplement, it’s bound to be a big hit in 2022.

6. Smaller menus

The pandemic had a drastic effect on the food industry, particularly restaurants. Because of the lack of food supply in 2020, many establishments had to reduce their menu offering. And after years of restrictions, this has become a general trend – one that we can expect to see going forward. If this makes you a little twitchy, there’s no need to stress. Fewer food options doesn’t mean worse food. Wouldn’t you rather go to a restaurant that nails the few dishes it has than one where you have more variety but get an average meal (that no one else really orders)?

food trends for 2022

7. Food fusion

Last on our list of food trends for 2022 is food fusion. An awesome coming together of contrasting foods and culinary traditions from different parts of the world. The phenomenon has taken off in recent years as people have started cooking with whatever they happen to have in their fridge. And this has introduced the world to some interesting new flavour combos, like Lebanese and Japanese mash-ups. It’s an exciting time for food indeed!

We’re all about the food trends for 2022

We hope these food trends for 2022 have inspired you to dine more, cook more, and experiment more. At 1000 Hills Chef School, our young chefs whip up on-trend and even trendsetting dishes on a regular basis. Swing by the Classroom Café this weekend for a taster or two. And if you aspire to become a chef yourself, discover our internationally recognised culinary diplomas online.

3 Fun Christmas treats to make with the kids this festive season

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Ho ho ho. It’s that time of year again, when things are merrier and brighter, and baked goods a little more festive! To get in the holiday spirit, we’ve explored three tasty Christmas treats that are easy to make and fun for the whole family. Keep reading for recipes, inspiration and ideas. (And click here for more foodie articles.)

Bake these Christmas treats for some festive fun:

1. Christmas light sugar cookies

The classic sugar cookie lends itself to all kinds of Christmas shapes, from snowflakes to reindeer to jingle bells. But this season, we’re loving the decorated Christmas light cookie! The kids can create unique lights made with colourful sweets, and you can finish them off by stringing them along a liquorice wire. Simple, authentic and oh so charming! Here’s how to make your basic light-shaped sugar cookie:

2. Popcorn stars

Tasty Christmas treats for the kids and beautiful ornaments for the tree, popcorn stars bring festive fun and flavour to any holiday event. And if you’re short on time, that’s no problem – these candied stars are super quick to make. (And they’re gluten-free!) Let’s go through the simple recipe together:

3. Santa hat brownies

Everybody loves brownies. And with cute Santa hats on top, you have to admit they are even more delightful! Perhaps you have a family brownie recipe on hand already. If so, great, you can skip to the end of ours. The good news is you can make these Christmas treats with any brownies, whether they are fudgy, nutty, or even fruity! (Christmas cake brownies, anyone?) For those who don’t have a brownie recipe, follow these steps for an easy baking process: 

Ready to make platefuls of tasty Christmas treats?

We can’t wait to let the festivities begin! How about you? If you want to tickle taste buds and spread smiles as the year draws to a close, prepare these Christmas treats with your family – and enjoy a holiday season that is that much sweeter! (If you’re an avid home cook, follow our Facebook and Instagram page for more culinary tips and tricks.)

Vegetarian meals 101: fun dish ideas for World Vegetarian Day

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The first of October marks World Vegetarian Day and we are celebrating! Whether or not you may already observe a vegetarian diet, this day is a wonderful opportunity to learn about trying (or partially attempting) a vegetarian lifestyle. This is by no means to convert your eating habits, but rather a great way to expand your horizons with vegetarian options. So get ready to learn about alternative dining styles and have a go at some flavoursome vegetarian meals.


Putting the edge on your veg

As a culinary school that loves diving into all things delicious and creative, this by no means excludes the world of vegetarianism. We are observing World Vegetarian Day, a holiday that started in 1977 on the first of October in North America as a means to educate and promote a lessened dependence on a meat centred diet.


The reason for moving away from meat products ranges for many individuals. Whether it is a lifestyle choice, an attempt to have more environmentally-conscious eating habits or reduce the pressure on the farming industry, a vegetarian diet gets practised for all sorts of reasons. Not to mention the health benefits of reducing chances of ingesting foodborne pathogens or risks of suffering from heart disease, stroke or cancer by consuming a meat-based diet. Plus, vegetarians are more likely to have a healthier fibre and antioxidant-rich diet.


While the 1000 Hills Chef School celebrates all forms of traditional meals and cooking, we also introduce vegetarian meals menu options every semester at our Classroom Cafe, prepared by our student chefs. Explore what exciting new options we have available for you!


Types of vegetarianism

A vegetarian diet is not always a cookie-cutter practice. There are many variations of vegetarians, who choose to follow the lifestyle for whatever dietary requirements or preferences. Types of vegetarian diets include:



Depending on the diet that is the most appealing, you can decide which recipes you would like to try. And if committing to a fully vegetarian or partially vegetarian diet is not for you, you take it in steps by trying Meat Free Mondays. This is where you can choose to opt on eating meat-free meals for one day of the week.


Fun ideas and recipes for vegetarian meals 

Mexican Bean Burrito

Nothing is more exciting than celebrating a new food option with a little fiesta of flavourful festivities. Take your tastebuds on an adventure using delicious spices and tantalising fresh ingredients — and you might declare, olé! This recipe replaces the regular burrito filler of chicken or ground beef with beans, a delicious substitute that satisfies hungry diners.





  1. Heat oil in a large pot on the stovetop. Chop garlic, onion and add both to the pot at low heat to slightly simmer. Chop bell peppers into cubes and slowly add to the pot. Then, add tomatoes (either chopped or canned mix).


  1. While the mixture simmers, continue to stir and then after a minute of cooking, empty cans of beans into the pot and stir regularly. Add in cumin.


  1. As the bean mixture cooks, watch for bubbling and continually stir, making sure the bottom contents do not stick to the pot. Wash and chop cilantro and set aside.


  1. After the bean mixture has thoroughly cooked, remove the pot from heat and turn off the stove.


  1. You can choose to heat your tortillas, either steam in the microwave for 30 seconds or lightly toast them over the stovetop using the pot resters — be sure to closely watch to avoid burning the tortilla. Once heated, it’s time to start building your burrito!


  1. Take a tortilla, place it on your plate. Ladle a small portion of the beans into the centre of the tortilla. Then, add sprinkles of grated cheese, slices of avocado, shredded lettuce, dollop on sour cream and salsa and add cilantro for taste (you can add jalepeños if you are up for a kick). Fold your burrito, tucking up one side of the tortilla, then tucking in left and rights sides. Hold firmly and enjoy!


Mediterranean Gnocchi (with a crunch)

Ah, the smell of aromatic pasta and veggies. It’s enough to want to pop open a bottle of wine. This recipe is divine on its own, but if you want to add additional protein and crunch to it, we love adding in a few chopped nuts. This is a great trick for many a pasta or stirfry dish to add plant-based protein and a lovely nutty flavour to the mix.





  1. Boil a large pot of salted water. Add the gnocchi, cook for 2 mins or until it rises to the surface. Watch the pot closely.


  1. While gnocchi cooks, in a separate pan, pour oil and cook vegetables, adding in optional nuts to brown. Remove mixture from heat once browned.


  1. Return to the pot of gnocchi drain and tip gnocchi back into the pot with a splash of the reserved cooking water. Drizzle with oil to stop gnocchi from sticking to each other.


  1. Then, add the vegetables, red pesto and basil leaves. 


  1. Serve with shavings of Parmesan or pecorino (or vegetarian alternative).


Vietnamese Rice Wraps

Another twist on a wrapped up favourite, this dish packs a punch of freshness and flavour. This is a great option for hot summery nights with its fresh crisp ingredients. You can choose to substitute the tofu with shrimp if you want to try a pescetarian twist to the recipe.


Vietnamese dipping sauce 



  1. Combine all the dipping sauce ingredients. Stir and then heat in microwave for 30 seconds. Stir until well combined and smooth. Set aside to cool.


  1. Prepare raw ingredients. Wash all ingredients thoroughly, then grate or chop vegetables as needed. Place all ingredients in different serving bowls or a platter.


  1. Next, cook tofu. Preheat oven to 190°C and wrap tofu in a kitchen towel to absorb excess moisture. Then, cube tofu.


  1. Sauté cubed tofu in oil over medium heat for about 5 minutes or until browned on all sides. Finish baking the tofu in the oven for about 15 minutes or until crispy and golden brown.


  1. Once the tofu is cooked, prepare your table for serving. Have plates, the dish of water, vegetables and sauce ready to start building your Vietnamese rice wraps. 


  1. To begin the process, submerge your rice wrap in the dish of water and place it on your plate. It will remain crisp for a minute, but will slowly soften with the moisture. While it softens, place a few pieces of tofu, veggies and sprinkle on sprouts and a mint leaf. Then, start tightly tucking in the now flexible wrap around the contents of the mixture, tucking in left and right sides of the wrap, then rolling the top down. The wrap will be sticky and secure the wrap contents well. Then, dip into the Vietnamese dipping sauce and enjoy! Repeat to make as many wraps to your heart’s content.


V is vegetarian meals (very tasty ones)

We hope you enjoy exploring the world of vegetarian meals and dining. If you are interested in pursuing a career in creative and alternative cooking, be sure to contact us to apply for our next academic year.

Chef training: behind the scenes of The Classroom Café

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Behind every great meal and dining experience is a team of people — and the training facility that made it possible. Food and drink is not just a necessity in life, it is a true education. And as such, we take our chef training very seriously. To see how we do it, we share with you our recipe for serving up success.


Putting our chefs to the test

Building chefs starts from the inside out. We view chef training as not only an academic experience but a holistic immersion in the culinary world. From theoretical lectures and practicals to exploring their strengths and testing their capabilities, we aim to do it all. Explore what a week in the life of a chef looks like for a better idea. We strive to provide a complete culinary course. Our courses have earned us a reputation in the industry, placing our students in top opportunities locally and internationally.


Real chef training requires real training grounds

The 1000 Hills Chef School’s fine dining restaurant and bistro-style café serves as the practical training grounds for culinary students. The Classroom Café spaces provide “real-life” training for students in our all-inclusive two-year course. Here, students practise serving and preparing food and beverages for paying guests in the safety of a school environment.


Students are sometimes required to do function work with external caterers and organise small commercial ventures. This type of work helps them gain further practical experience in the culinary industry. This is invaluable in preparing the students for the commercial world.


How The Classroom Café menu gets chosen

Now comes the exciting part of the training choosing the menu. A menu develops from trends in the dining industry, the season, ingredients available and also our syllabus. Students focus on these aspects, which then informs the menu revisions every semester (three times a year).


Keeping up with local and international trends requires research, which our owners and lecturers take on as a team effort. Much work goes into including creative plant-based, vegan and vegetarian meals on the menu. Conscious eating habits make for a grand exploration into the world of alternative cooking.


Classroom Café roles, shifts and what they involve

chef training


The 1000 Hills Chef Schools diploma is quite an intense one. Positions rotate and second-year students oversee the first years in each area of the restaurant. Students get to take on various roles in the kitchen. For our senior students, they complete an Advanced Supervisory Diploma, where they have the opportunity to hold management positions in our student-run restaurant. They fill roles like Business Manager, Front of House Manager and Head Chef. These roles are organised to establish a chain of command, which is key to run a well-operated unit that can put out excellent industry standards of food, beverages and service. In addition, they review feedback on everything from profit and loss to the impact of weather on margins.


Transitioning from a learning space to a commercial environment

Our culinary training team tries to emulate the culinary industry as much as possible. The Classroom Café’s kitchens are set up as industry-grade kitchens. This is where they learn that teamwork is vital and attitude is everything. Students work under different chefs in the Classroom Café. Our course structure allows students to move to the culinary industry with ease, armed with experience from each kitchen and chef.


New chefs: what they bring to the kitchen and learning environment for students

Every teaching chef employed is a graduate of the 1000 Hills Chef School. Bringing their world experience and expertise, they return to engage the younger generation of up and coming chefs. Between our ever-changing menu and course structure, our travelled chefs are the pièce de résistance of our training courses.


Join the chefs of tomorrow

We live for the ever-expanding culinary world — and bringing every student and dining experience together is our dream. If you have a calling to join it through joining our chef training programme, contact us.

Pet friendly pawsome dining: ideas from 1000 Hills Chef School

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The culinary experience is a delectable one. As humans with complex palates and diet, we enjoy a vast variety of tastes and textures. But why limit the savouring to us? We believe that fine dining should get enjoyed by all, even our pets. For all you pet lovers out there — step into the world beyond the kibble bag. We have gathered great pet friendly recipes, treats and tasty tips for excitable licking lips. You’ll have fun learning and cooking while your buddy will adore you even more. Cue the happy tappies all around.

Add fine canine dining to your repertoire

As a culinary school centred around the theory, creation, presentation and enjoyment of fine foods — we also take time to have fun with our ideas. Our archive of culinary tips and articles explore a number of fun dish ideas, from holiday favourites to helpful student study snacks. To make our list complete, we present these pet friendly snack ideas for tail-wagging canine cuisine.

pet friendly

From our pet friendly kitchen to yours

We know that a weekend out just isn’t the same if your furry friend isn’t there to share in the fun. That’s why our Classroom Cafe and craft brewery have specially concocted a canine menu. View our menu online to see our fun bar(k) snacks. This includes tasty treats like doggie beer and chicken strips (which is savoury chicken stock cooked chicken strips) or whole wheat doggie crackers — our secret low sodium dog biscuit recipe. Your dining experience with us will only be better seeing your buddy enjoying their doggone good dish.


The joy of a good food experience is also making it at home — so we have set aside some important reminders and recipes to try at home.

Rule of paw

When cooking for your canine friend, be sure to keep their meal and nutritional needs in mind. 

Homemade meals for dog require: 


With these basics laid out, you can then prepare the meals and then serve the correct proportions according to your dog’s size. Use this guide: 


Dog’s weight  | Cups required

5 kg    — 1 cup

11 kgs — 2 cups

22 kgs — 4 cups

45 kgs — 8 cups


Lastly, consult your veterinarian in the case of your dog having dietary needs. They may suggest certain dishes to meet the correct weight, dental needs or any unique concerns. 

Doggie dishes for pet friendly canine cuisine

We love the inspired doggie dishes created by food blogger Chungah Rhee of Damn Delicious and the recipes sourced by Greatist. Try some of these amazing ideas for a fun way to treat your furry friends at home.

Tackling allergies

Calling all pup owners dealing with ‘pupset’ pet tummies. If your dogs are sufferers of sensitive tummies, tooty booty or victims of vomiting, this is a winning recipe for you. This dish comes from the Wheresthefrechie blog, where the owner had not one, but two french bulldogs struggling with a combination of allergies. The chosen ingredients all aid in promoting health — olive oil brings in healthy fats; the coconut flakes also add healthy fats, as well as helping with indigestion and is great for their skin and coat; calcium promotes bone growth and health; and lastly, the pumpkin is a high source of digestible fibre. A fabulous feast indeed.

  1. Bring 1 cup of your chosen whole grain to a boil in a pot of water. (Tip: overcook it so that it’s soft and easily digestible). Once cooked, drain.


  1. While the grains are boiling, shred or chop the veggies.


  1. Cook the ground turkey with olive oil and drain excess juices.


  1. Mix everything together — there is no need to cook the veggies, as the cooked turkey and whole grain will warm the veggie mixture.

No baking, no barking

No bake peanut butter dog treats

No prep time? No problem. This recipe uses only four ingredients to create a tasty treat in 15 minutes. These peanut butter treats, if refrigerated in an airtight container, will keep well for up to a week. 

  1. Beat pumpkin puree, peanut butter and milk until well combined.
  2. Gradually add 2 ½ cups oats and beat until well mixed.
  3. Using a small cookie scoop or ice cream scooper, roll the mixture into 3cm to 4cm sized balls. You will get about 20 treats from this mixture. 
  4. Taking the formed balls, roll them through the remaining ½ cup old fashioned oats to cover and coat the outside of the treats.
  5. Once all balls get coated, cover and place them in the refrigerator until firm for about an hour. 
  6. Tell your pal they are a good boy or girl, hand the treat over and enjoy.

Bad breath — meet breath mint

Dog treats with pumpkin apple and mint

Is your furry friend’s breath smelling a little foul? It’s okay, just slip a little breath mint and no need to tell them. This treat is a crowd-pleaser for happier households and pups all around. As a special note, the baking time for these treats will vary depending on the size and thickness of the treats. Serving size will also vary depending on the desired shapes and cookie cutters used.

  1. Preheat your oven to 180°C.
  2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat and set it aside.
  3. Beat the pumpkin puree and eggs until well combined. Gradually add 2 ½ cups flour until incorporated. Add ¼ cup flour at a time just until the dough is no longer sticky. Add apple, mint and parsley, beating just until incorporated.
  4. Working on a lightly floured surface, knead the dough 3 – 4 times until it comes together. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough to ½ centimetre thickness. Using cookie cutters, cut out desired shapes and place them onto the prepared baking sheet.
  5. Place the sheet into the oven and bake until the edges are golden brown for about 20 — 25 minutes.
  6. Let the treats cool completely before presenting one to your pups.

Doggie dining — we hope they dig it

From our kitchen to yours, we hope you enjoy creating fun pet friendly treats and dishes for your four-legged friend for many meals to come. For more ideas on speciality dishes, explore our chef school blog or contact us to make a booking to sample our menu in the beautiful Valley of 1000 Hills.

Classic cakes: a guide to sweet treats

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What is a special day without cakes? From birthdays to weddings, to Christmas and elegant high teas, cakes are worth celebrating and enjoying. With an upcoming occasion, such as Valentine’s Day, sweet treats deserve all the recognition. Gather your loved ones and get ready to share the joy and history of our classical favourites.

For the love of cakes

At the 1000 Hills Chef School, we love delving into our unique and highly specialised courses. For our second years taking on the advanced diploma, they have an entire course dedicated to French patisserie, from desserts to exquisite sugar work. For more of a personal experience, explore what we have to offer at our Classroom Cafe and visit during one of our gourmet evenings.

7 cake types we love to bake (and eat)

Pound cake

pound cake

This is one of the simpler recipes, dating back to the 18th century with origins in Northern Europe. Food enthusiasts believe that its name came about from its ingredients measuring up to one pound. Traditionally, pound cake gets crafted with a pound of each of its main ingredients – butter, flour, sugar and eggs. The measurements remain in the 1:1:1:1 ratio when adjusting for larger or smaller batches. Various versions of this cake exist around the world, such as a rum-soaked variation in the French Caribbean or in South American countries where they pour wine over the cake and add a sugary coating.

Victoria sponge cake

victoria sponge cake

This cake comes from regal origins, with ties to Queen Victoria herself. Typically, it is a sponge cake with raspberry jam and vanilla buttercream. If served with just jam, it becomes a ‘jam sponge’. During the 19th century, Queen Victoria enjoyed its fluffy texture made possible with then modern rising agents, baking powder and baking soda. Over many tea-time services, the cake soon became synonymous with her majesty.

German Chocolate Cake

german chocolate cake

Unlike the last cake, this cake’s origin is not so obvious. The German Chocolate Cake originated from an American baker Samuel German in 1852, who developed a sweet chocolate for baking. This cake features layers of chocolate sponge, iced in coconut-pecan frosting and is occasionally garnished with maraschino cherries. As the cake become popular, publications slowly altered the original name from ‘German’s Chocolate Cake’ to just ‘German Chocolate Cake’, hence its confusing ties to German beginnings.

Red Velvet Cake

red velvet cake

Velvet cakes originated in the late 19th century, whereas the red velvet cake originated in the 20th century in Maryland, United States. During the difficult food rationing years of World War ll, baked goods received a colour boost with the help of boiled beetroot, which also often served in some recipes to retain moisture. Traditionally, red velvet cake gets iced with a French-style butter roux icing, also known as ermine icing, but also features popular variations of either cream cheese or buttercream frosting.

Carrot cake

carrot cake

This well-known cake includes raisins, dates, spices like clove, scraped carrot, and breadcrumbs. Though its exact time of creation is uncertain, food historians believe carrot cake originated from the carrot puddings enjoyed by Europeans in the Middle Ages. Carrots served as a substitute for expensive sugar and sweeteners. Today, who doesn’t think of carrot cake as the guilt-free option?

Baked cheesecake


This creamy delicacy ranges from a variety of main ingredients, but overall, is a baked custard. Early American colonies during 1730-1870 developed basic renditions with spices and currants. By the 1930s New York City became synonymous with cheesecake, as the city started to include richer consistencies with cream cheese. From its basic beginnings with strawberry garnish to lemon, flavours now range from fun Oreo to salted caramel popcorn creations. Who knows what the future cheesecake concept will be next.

Petit fours

petit fours

Last, but not least, high tea would not be complete without ornate desserts. Translated from French, ‘small over’ treats are enjoyable in just a bite or two. Dating back to the 1800s, such small sweets came about when basic ovens cooled down just enough to bake smaller delicacies.

While petit fours are best known for their mini cake presentations, they are actually divided into four categories. The categories include petit fours sec (macarons), petit fours glaces (tiny cakes decorated with fondant or chocolate), petit fours frais (madeleines, eclairs and tartlets) and petit fours deguises (fresh or dried fruit dipped in chocolate or sugar). Bites of bliss.

Layered and iced with all things nice

We hope you enjoyed exploring this handful of cakes. To sample one of our desserts, make a booking at our Classroom Cafe. Additionally, if you think you have what it takes to study with us, explore our courses.

Chef’s knives: get a handle on the blades

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Are you a fan of cooking shows? Just watching the finesse and dexterity of chefs in action is enough to make anyone in awe of their work (let alone meals). The greatest kept secret to making this all come together: chef’s knives. Each one has a purpose, a name and a great many fans. Learn about each knife and discover your new favourite.

Slice, dice and everything nice: coming to grips with chef’s knives

Food preparation is truly transformed by the quality of ingredients and the tools used. Chef’s knives are no exception. Not only does the chef use choice knives, but also their chopping boards. Explore our guide on chopping board colours to fully grasp how to create the best preparation area.

Knives: getting to the point

Knives come in a variety of shapes, sizes, colours, and metals crafted to get the most out of each cut required. Chefs need to be able to slice, dice, chop, mince, pair, julienne, chiffonade — the list goes on. And that’s just what you can do with a knife. The knife itself also has quite a collection of terms, something every aspiring chef should get to know well.

chef’s knives

Sharpen up on these nifty knives

When it comes to understanding the chef’s knives, it is important to understand each use and function. 

The chef’s knife

The eponymous tool is one every chef needs in their kitchen. This knife has a broad blade which tapers to a point. This design achieves a fast mincing with a back and forth motion. While it can come in lengths from 15 to 30 centimetres, the best size depends on the chef’s hand. It is commonly used for cutting meat like chicken and chopping carrots.

The utility knife

This knife ranges from 10 to 17 centimetres and is best for the jobs the chef’s knife is too big for. Reason being: its design. With a narrow blade and smaller tip, it is ideal for thinner and more precise cutting like slicing, trimming and filleting.

The santoku knife

This knife hails from the great kitchens of Japan. The name translates into “the three virtues”, referring to slicing, dicing and mincing — without rocking due to its flat blade. As is it shorter and thinner than the chef’s knife, it is a great alternative for chefs wanting a smaller and lighter tool. Occasionally, it can also feature a hollow edge or dimples. This helps in cutting without food sticking to the blade, as well as having a precise cut with slowed speed.

The pairing knife

This knife is on the smaller spectrum of kitchen tools, ranging from 7 to 10 centimetres. Not only is it used for cutting and peeling produce, but also trimming the fat from meat. Its blade tip can vary but is typically pointed.

The boning knife

This knife is for separating meat from the bone and is between 7 to 20 centimetres. These blades come in varieties of stiffness: flexible, semi-flexible and stiff.

The bread knife

chef’s knives

This knife is quite iconic with its jagged serrations and long blade between 17 to 25 centimetres. It acts as a small saw while cutting bread and cakes without compressing baked goods.

The cleaver knife

chef’s knives

This may be the more intimidating of the knives, having a wide and heavy blade. Its design is for thick, hard materials like bone and meat, as well as chopping squash and pumpkins. It can also take on the hardy tasks of beating and pulverising meat, poultry and fish, and crushing dainty pieces of garlic. Dynamic? Why yes, yes it is.

The nakiri bocho knife

Another great tool that hails from Japan. This knife looks like a fusion of a cleaver and santoku, given its blocky appearance. It has a thin, wide blade that squares off at the tip. This design aids in chopping vegetables, as well as cutting thin slices when necessary.

The fillet steak knife

Last but not least, the fillet knife. Though similar to the boning knife, this design is for cutting thin slices of fish. Its blade is thin, long and quite flexible. Sometimes, you may even come across a fusion of the two knives as a boning fillet knife.

chef’s knives

Chef’s knives: a cut above the rest

We hope you enjoyed learning about each of these chef’s knives. To learn more about how to find your way in and around the kitchen, explore our blog. If you think you have what it takes to take on a cheffing career, contact us for more information.

3 Entrepreneurial careers to pursue as an amature chef

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So, you’re about to finish your studies at 1000 Hills Chef School, and embark on an exciting new journey into the wide world of food. There are many entrepreneurial careers open to young chefs that inspire a good work ethic and get the creative juices flowing. For example, opening a bakery, starting a catering business, and creating marketable speciality goods are all fine ways to begin your professional chef career. Read about these inspiring professions below, and explore more culinary avenues open to young chefs here.


entrepreneurial careers


Entrepreneurial careers for culinary graduates:

1. Open a bakery

Who doesn’t love a freshly baked cupcake, scone or danish? Opening a bakery is a great way to practise and refine your patisserie skills, and earn some extra dough (wink wink) to further your cheffing dream. You can specialise in just one pastry, like croissants, or create and sell a wide range of confectionary delights, such as doughnuts, shortbreads and cakes. (Discover pastry chef techniques for making the best chocolate desserts.) Even gluten-free and vegan options would be sure to go down well! You can also open a little café in your bakery so visitors can sample your tasty treats over a steaming cuppa. And launch an online store too so loyal customers can place orders at the click of a button. Whatever floats your pastry boat – this entrepreneurial path is a sure-fire way to launch a stellar career in food!


entrepreneurial careers


2. Start a catering business

If you enjoy whipping up plates full of delicious, wholesome food, the catering life might be your ideal culinary platform. The Advanced Second Year Diplomas you earned at 1000 Hills Chef School will provide you with the culinary expertise and service industry know-how necessary for running a successful catering business. And the flexible time you gain on the job will allow you to take your skills to a whole new level. To begin your catering business, we suggest starting off small, providing your service on the weekends and testing out new flavour combinations and cooking techniques during the week. And once you’ve found your niche, you can expand your client base and focus on creating the food you love most – whether it be decadent desserts, baked goods, gourmet cuisine, or street-style food.


entrepreneurial careers


3. Create and sell specialty goods

We believe special culinary gifts should be nurtured. If you create a unique specialty good that your friends and family can’t get enough of, why not sell it to the public for a profit and get your name out there while you’re at it? Creating a line of jams and sauces, for example, and selling it at local markets will kick-start your food career and help fund your culinary dream – whether it be opening your own restaurant, gaining international work experience, or purchasing a food truck. Click here for more inspiring entrepreneurial careers in food.


entrepreneurial careers


Which of these entrepreneurial careers will you pursue?

If you’re ready to start your cheffing journey, consider the entrepreneurial careers in this article. You’ll find they are just as enjoyable as they are rewarding. For more chef career guidance, get in touch with our team.

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