Lucien Green, the Senior Training and Development Chef at Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen Apprentice Programme, is currently at Singita Kruger National Park, where he is spending a week at the Singita School of Cooking conducting master classes for staff and students.

There is a distinct synergy between Fifteen and the Singita School of Cooking. Fifteen was established to offer young, unemployed people the experience of learning to work in the restaurant business and a chance to have a better future. The story resonates deeply with Singita’s School of Cooking, which was created for the same motives.

Located within the Singita Staff Village that serves both Singita Lebombo and Singita Sweni lodges in the Kruger National Park, Singita School of Cooking equips youths from neighbouring communities with the culinary skills, knowledge and confidence to enable them to apply for a Commis Chef position in a professional kitchen. Established in 2007, this is just one of the many community development programmes which Singita has undertaken to empower local people, making best use of the resources at their disposal.

The Singita School of Cooking recently enrolled its fifth intake of students to commence their 18-month training as aspiring chefs. To date the school has trained 30 young chefs, 14 of whom are gainfully employed. Among these, six now work as Commis Chefs at Singita’s lodges in Southern Africa, and two former students have already been promoted to the position of Demi Chef de Partie.

The school is a living example of Singita’s inspiring approach to ‘giving back’ at each of its 10 different lodges in four iconic destinations in Africa, and of its modern conservation model that recognizes the need for a finely tuned relationship between Wildlife, Tourism and Local Communities. It is jointly funded by Singita and its partners, and the South African government contributes through its support for Learnerships. Students are provided with chef’s uniforms, essential kitchen equipment, all their meals, accommodation and transport to ensure their daily attendance at classes. Individual sponsorships for learners are also an option, and are a rewarding way for many guests to become involved in this project.

Singita is documenting Lucien Green’s stay through a series of photographs and blogs journaling the week’s activities on their website throughout the week. For more information and to follow please see our blog.

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