The Singita School of Cooking, located on site at Singita Kruger National Park’s staff village, was established to encourage the development of culinary skills and employment opportunities among local youth. This 18 month programme enables selected students to gain a nationally recognized Professional Cookery Qualification (Level 4) and thereafter, to commence work within a Singita lodge kitchen or at other lodges within the Kruger Park.
The Singita School of Cooking, located on site at the staff village for Lebombo and Sweni Lodges, was established to encourage the development of culinary skills and job potential among local youth. Each year students are selected, based upon clear criteria including a real interest in cooking, to participate in an 18-month development and training programme. Trainees are taught the knowledge and skills required for a career as a Commis Chef in a professional kitchen, and graduate with a Level 4 Professional Cookery qualification. The students attend 4-two week blocks of formal training as well as practical training overseen by a qualified Sous Chef, ensuring that they gain hands on practice in lodge kitchens. Since its inception in 2007, over 30 students have graduated from the Singita School of Cooking with the large majority of them currently employed within kitchens at Singita or other lodges within the Kruger National Park. The programme in essence equips young people from the local area with skills that have life-long value and which enable them to have a positive future.
Mavis Mongoe was born and raised in the nearby village of Welverdiend. A middle child from a large Shangaan family, Mavis’ love of food sprouted from her mother’s work selling fresh fruit and vegetables to the people of the community. Her mother’s small business inspired Mavis to pursue a career in cooking and she went to work as a cook in a bustling corner café far away from home. Several months later, Mavis returned to the community intent on finding a cooking job closer by. Back in Welverdiend, Mavis’ church minister gave her a flyer requesting applications to the Singita School of Cooking, and the rest, as they say, is history. Mavis submitted her application, successfully completed her interview and was selected as one of the first five students to attend the newly formed school.
In her studies, Mavis proved to be a shining young talent, demonstrating an organised, methodical and creative approach along with great enthusiasm and willingness to learn. Upon completion of the course, Singita’s Head Chef, who had seen Mavis’ promise, knew she would be perfectly suited to work at the lodge and offered her a position at Singita Lebombo Lodge. Since then, Mavis has been promoted from a student chef to a Commis Chef and continues to be an integral part of the Singita kitchen brigade.
To date R1 million has been contributed to the Singita School of Cooking to help make real the dreams of young, talented and motivated members of the communities on the outskirts of Kruger National Park. This is where you can become involved. Should you sponsor a full scholarship, or be a co-sponsor of a scholarship of a student of this 18 month programme, you will become a valued partner of a very worthy social outreach programme.
The cost of a scholarship is R72,000 ($8,000). Each year we apply for government funding for the learnerships. Where this is granted, the same amount of R72,000 will fund 2 student scholarships. The scholarships fund the chef's uniforms, a monthly stipend, daily transport to and from Singita Kruger National Park, special ingredients required for the course, and for the training.
If you would like to sponsor (in full or partially) a scholarship for a student, and/or one of the other programmes support by Singita Kruger National Park, please contact the General Manager of Singita Kruger National Park or Singita's Group HR and Community Development Manager Pam Richardson at 27 21 683 3424 or firstname.lastname@example.org.