Success Stories

1000 Hills Chef School’s successful graduates: A winning attitude!

Since the 1000 Hills Chef School was established, we have trained hundreds of young chefs to go out into the industry and be the best they can be. Many of these young culinary artists are now working in top class restaurants around the globe and have been awarded some prestigious accolades. Our young chefs have proven their talents and skills all over the world – not just in restaurant kitchens, but also in highly contested competitions. We encourage our students to compete in these culinary competitions because the intense test of top competition proves what fine chefs are made of, showing how they cope with the high-pressure demands of the industry.

Our student chefs have made it to the finals of the Unilever Chef of the Year competition, arguably the country’s most prestigious culinary competition, every year since 2006. Our students have placed many times and taken the win eight times! Other national competitions have also brought a string of successes to our students, who build on their skills and experience each time they participate.

Let’s take a look at where some of our most successful graduates are today, there are too many to mention them all!

Christo Pretoriussuccess stories

The talented Christo Pretorius started off as Commis Chef at a holiday resort in the UK. In 2007,  he returned to South Africa, where he completed his Chef and Pastry Diplomas at the 1000 Hills Chef School and went on to win the title of Unilever Junior Chef of the Year as well as Goldcrest Young Chef of the Year. Today, he is creating admirable culinary art as the Executive Head Chef at the 5-star Azure Restaurant at Twelve Apostles, Cape Town.

Kevin Bonussuccess stories

Christo’s peer, Kevin Bonus, graduated from 1000 Hills Chef School in 2007 and went straight on to achieve great things from there! After winning Junior Chef of the Year in 2006, Kevin took his love for food abroad to Scotland. From there, Kevin worked his way up from a line chef position at Pied á Terre, a two-Michelin-star restaurant in London. He is now wearing the title of Senior Sous Chef, under the wing of great British chef, Marcus Eaves.

Chef Jade Benians

success stories

Chef Jade now leads a team of skilled chef lecturers at the 1000 Hills Chef School, where she shares her love of food and the creative art of cooking with the students. 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 – an unprecedented achievement.

Kayla Ann Osborn

success stories

Kayla admits 1000 Hills Chef School was tough and intensive training but explains that the school doesn’t expect anything less than the best! Kayla made it to finals of both the Unilever Junior Chef of the Year and American Express Platinum Restaurant awards. Kayla is now the Executive Chef at the trendy Chef’s Table, a popular restaurant in Umhlanga.

Christie Guthrie

Sous pastry chef at Yauatcha, 2 star Michelin restaurant London, Class of 2008

Kirsten Shaw

1 star Michelin restaurant France, Class of 2012

Hayden Botha

Head chef, London, Class of 2008

Damien Dafel

Sous chef at Foxcroft (SA’s new restaurant of the year 2016), Class of 2014

Melissa Chrystal

Entrepreneur and owner of Chrystals Mobi-Gourmet, Class of 2015

Dustin Hammond

Head chef 5-star Nambiti Hills Lodge, Class of 2015


Richard Ellis

Interning at Yauatcha, London in 2017, Class of 2016

Amerae Vercueil

Food Editor at Highbury Safika Media, Class of 2015

Aaron Subroyal

Interning in the USA in 2017, Class of 2016