The international renowned chef training school The Hurst Campus recently opened its kitchen doors in Paarl.
For 10 years the chef school was situated at Backsberg Estate, just outside Paarl, before they decided to bring their rich aromas to a well-known building in Paarl main Street.
For the past few years the historic building of the Oude Paarl Hotel at 132 Main Street stood empty, but today it’s abuzz with students cooking up a storm and empowering themselves with knowledge of the culinary industry.
“The reason we moved from Backsberg is that we have become quite isolated on the farm. And it’s time for some change and time for the next phase of growth”, said Rebecca Hurst, owner of The Hurst Campus.
Entering the building, it resembles a cosy restaurant with a variety of appetising food on display. A passer-by will not know that the “friendly staff” are in fact students.
As part of their three-year course, the students are required to do an internship, which they can do at the new location on a day-to day basis.
Part of what The Hurst Campus offers includes not only the food and beverage side, but also gives the students front-of-house experience.
“It is important to say that we are not a restaurant and we are not a coffee shop”, Hurst said. “If you want to come and experience student life and be part of what the students do on a day-to-day basis, then come and join us for breakfast or lunch”
She assures that even though those preparing the food are only students, the standard is still of a high calibre. The new building also offers accommodation to students and offers function space for hire, which also serves as a great opportunity for the students to earn extra pocket money.
The three-year course on offer is accredited by the Quality Council for Trades and Occupation.
It is also a corporate member of the South Africa Chef’s Association and a member of the globally recognised Institute Paul Bocuse World Wide Alliance.
Hurst, who has been with the training school for 21 years, enrolled as a student herself and halfway through her studies she was offered a partnership. In 2002, she took over the business.
She said that over the years the school have had students from all over the world.
What makes The Hurst Campus different from other chef schools?
“Family values make The Hurst Campus different from other chef schools”, Hurst says. “If you look after a student’s heart all the other things fall in place. In our business I will guarantee you a job, because the hospitality industry is crying out for trained staff, so I think it is a winning formula for Paarl”.
The Hurst Campus is now open to the public from Monday to Friday for coffee, smoothies, fresh pastries, home-made rusks, biscuits, salads, breads, quiches, home-made pies and sandwiches, from 07:15 to 16:00, and from mid-May it will be open on Saturdays for breakfast.
The campus will host an open day on Saturday 12 May, 09:00-12:00 for anyone who would like a tour of the campus and is curious to see what is going on. They can book by calling 074 147 0801