Most of us dream about jobs that'll allow us to travel the world. There are several career options that lend themselves to international travel: sports, travel writing and piloting being among the most popular.
Another great avenue to international travel is the culinary industry.
With tourism numbers on the rise, and new hotels and restaurants opening their doors around the world, this is an industry that's consistently creating opportunities for employment. South Africa saw 1200 new hotel rooms between July and December 2017, and 22 000 new jobs were created since 2014. Despite unique challenges like drought, the industry's growth doesn't look like it will slow down anytime soon.
South African culinary studies graduates are consistently snapped up globally by the UK, Germany and England, France, New Zealand, the US, and Dubai. Leading South African culinary schools, like Capsicum Culinary Studio, regularly work with international agencies to place their graduates.
Chef Mark Coombe, a principal at the school, explains: “Choosing to be a chef as a career has meant that I’ve always had a job and a steady income and also been able to work around the world.”
Coombe has more than 20 years’ experience in the catering industry – from working in a bakery from the age of 15, running chalets in the French Alps, to becoming executive chef of two highly successful restaurants in the UK. “I was then given the opportunity to come to South Africa and while here I ran my own restaurant for two years," he said. "Now I have been given the amazing opportunity to be the principal at Capsicum Culinary Studio and pass on to a new generation what I have learned."
“I tell my students being in the hospitality industry is hard work. It is not glamorous but the rewards can be impressive. Things are always changing in the culinary world. That’s part of what makes the industry so exciting. My top tip would be to try and broaden your horizons, by traveling and experiencing a variety of catering cultures to increase valuable knowledge.”
After his studies at Capsicum, Soweto-born chef Wandile Mabaso trained in classical French cuisine in New York and currently specializes in contemporary French haute cuisine at Alain Ducasse’s two-Michelin-starred restaurant, Le Meurice, in Paris. He is also an ambassador of French gastronomy in South Africa.
Mthatha-born Wandile Mabija graduated from the Capsicum Culinary Studio's Port Elizabeth campus in June last year and is now a chef at The Fairmont Austin Hotel in Austin, Texas.