A handful of junior Muldersdrift chefs and assistant chefs have recently completed a series of workshops hosted by the Guvon Academy, the training facility of Guvon Hotels. The skills upliftment programme benefits the individuals who participate, the restaurants they work at, and of course visitors to the area, who ultimately enjoy the final product.
While Guvon establishments have access to the Guvon Academy, the wider tourism industry can also take part. In the Muldersdrift area, Maropeng and Riverstone Lodge are two of the non-Guvon hotels that are currently participating in the programme. Guvon properties, Askari Lodge, Kloofzicht Lodge and Glenburn Lodge, also had junior chefs take part in the programme. A total of 16 chefs are currently enrolled in the programme.
The practical workshops consist of a two-day session once a month from April to September, with chefs coming to together to learn more about basic skills such as knife handling and cutting methods, planning and executing a successful buffet service, the importance of teamwork and how to create positive guest interactions, etc.
One of the attendees, Albertinah Mbetheni, has been working in the kitchen at Maropeng since 2005. With great dedication and a willingness to learn, she hasn’t looked back since starting the programme. Her managers at Maropeng say they have seen enormous growth in Albertinah since she started this course, and they’re delighted to see her enthusiasm. Albertinah echoes this, saying she feels positive about her future. “I have enjoyed learning about modern presentation and the new cooking skills. I’m still learning but I feel more and more confident after every workshop.”
For Dion Von Wielligh, executive chef and Guvon Academy facilitator and assessor, this is one of the most rewarding aspects of working with student chefs. “It’s great to see chefs with a passion and zeal to learn and better themselves. It is encouraging for them to have the opportunity to improve their skills and as a result improve their career prospects. This is part of the reason why it’s so important to invest in your staff through training and development. As an external training provider, a Guvon Academy skills development facilitator, trainer, assessor and moderator will help plan and implement training as per the training programme.”
The chefs also participated in a fun “Ready, Steady, Cook” style competition aimed at encouraging creativity and teamwork. This series of workshops covered basic skills. Two more workshops also took place, covering topics such as cocktail foods, bread baking and soups.
Gilbert Hickman, member of the Muldersdrift Communication Action Group (MCAG), says this is just one of a number of activities aimed at uplifting the Muldersdrift community. “We are grateful that so many of our establishments agree that investment in their staff and their surrounding community is not only beneficial to their establishment but to a much broader community too. It also creates so many positive touch points for visitors to our area.”
For more information and to participate in either programme, please visit the Guvon Academy website: www.guvonacademy.co.za.
Caption: Chef Dion Von Wielligh with Givemore Mwanza from Riverstone Lodge, and Albertinah Mbetheni from Maropeng