Hurst Campus Chefs

Chef Erika Winter

Food and Beverage Cost Controller
Lecturer in Culinary Maths and Cost and Resource Management

I remember the first time I catered for a function. It was my brothers 21st birthday and our house was packed with people. A friend from school and I were in the kitchen and when the plates and glasses came back from the dining-room we would merrily empty the glasses (down the gullet and not the gutter) and continue sending out more food. It was a fabulous evening! I was 15. I think that is when my love of food started.

I used to go shopping with my mother and she would walk with a list and calculator down the aisles and each and every item would be rung up before being placed in the shopping cart. Clothing and food for a family of 6 had to be covered by her teacher’s salary. We were by no means destitute as my father was a doctor, but this was our reality.

In 2001 I studied at The Elsa van der Nest Culinary Academy where I met Chef Rebecca and walked away with the top achiever school trophy that year. Now, 18 Years later, I find myself at The Hurst Campus, working with Chef Rebecca and surrounded by amazing people who love food as much as I do. One as the companies. Working with someone like Chef Rebecca challenges me daily to grow in different directions. Who knows what the next 18 years will dish up?

Chef Hennie van der Merwe

Lecturer
Student Mentor

Born into a family of home cooks I spent plenty of time in and around the kitchen, never imagining that it would become my passion one day. Straight after school I left for England and soon became involved in the Hospitality industry. Working my way up the ladder of an exciting restaurant and night club chain [Chicago Rock Café] I fell deeply in love with this passionate fast paced environment.

At the age of 20 I was managing the night club and loving it – 18 years later and I’m still madly passionate about this industry. Training young individuals to embrace the life of Hospitality is an ever-growing love of mine.

It all started the culinary academy which is now called The Hurst Campus. After 5 years of managing night clubs and restaurants I decided that I want to be a Chef. Hurst was my choice of school and I enrolled for their 1-year course which kick-started my chef career.  Great training in the basics and theory for 6 months and a difficult but rewarding internship at the Greenhouse @ Cellars Hohenort in Constantia set me well on my way.

After College I worked for a Waterfront based restaurant called Societi Bistro, where I learned a lot about French and Italian flavours and fast paced bistro styled foods.  That was the perfect stepping stone to 3 years of work on board the Super Liners: Queen Elizabeth 2 and Queen Mary 2.

Working as a chef I have travelled the world, earning good money while being taught and working under some of the greatest chefs around the Globe.

Back on land I was Executive Chef at Glen Carlou Vineyards, opened my own function venue/bistro and consulted and helped with the opening of 2 other restaurants; before going full circle and ending up at The Hurst Campus teaching.

Today I am a passionate mentor, teacher and advisor into the lives of many young chef students. I fully love investing in their future and careers and it makes me proud to see them achieve success in their hospitality careers.

Chef Pierre Lombard

Pastry Chef
Lecturer in Patisserie

I was born in the Eastern Cape, King Williams Town. Both of my parents were both teachers, so you could say that teaching was always on the cards for me. As a youngster my mother was a House Mother to 150 boys as part of a boarding School. She was an excellent cook, so I very much grew up in the kitchen, which inspired my love for cooking and especially baking.

I matriculated at Huguenot High School in Wellington and after completing 2 years of compulsory military service, I decided to do two years of Southern Sun Hotel in service training to become a chef. After qualification, I was offered a position at the Beacon Island Hotel in Plettenberg Bay as pastry chef and I discovered that I absolutely loved the pastry section. I was inspired by Axel Frank the then Southern Sun’s group Executive Pastry Chef, and it was there where my passion for pastry started.

When the position of Pastry Lecturer at The Hurst Campus became available, I applied and felt it a good way to give back knowledge and experience I have gained over the years. I absolutely love the fact that you can take a few basic ingredients and turn it into a beautiful edible creation and the ability to teach a young impressionable minds to do the same. My favourite skill is to teach students is to do chocolate filigree work, it is a dying skill, but such a proud accomplishing and satisfying skill to achieve.

Isabella Laing

Chef Lecturer

I have been honoured to be part of the Hurst Chef Campus since 2014, and what a wonderful journey it has been! From the very first day I met Rebecca she made me feel at home, greeted me warmly and said, “Please call me Rebecca!” What a divine appointment it was, and from that moment, I have been part of the Hurst Campus Family, sharing in this glorious vision to educate and nurture bright young chefs- it is an absolute joy.

I teach everything from Front of House to Food Theory, and have loved every moment. We have a lot of fun in our classes, and use various forums to educate the students from the very history of food to all the finest detail of studying the theory behind the Food.

Every year the classes vary – new faces, new experiences, but one thing is certain, we laugh, we share, we look at food from all possible perspectives and make Fun Food Associations to help all remember the “Hows” and the “Whys” of Food Theory. I consider myself tremendously blessed and love every moment being part of this prestigious Campus, its students and its people and thank Rebecca for this honour to be part of her family! La Vita é Hurst!”

Phia Murrel

Senior Lecturer; Gastronomy, Nutrition and Health and Safety

I studied a BSc Consumer Science (Ed) degree at the University of Stellenbosch where I also received an Assessors certificate. After graduating I enjoyed 18 years teaching in secondary schools where I had many successes with the learners excelling academically as well as taking part in many competitions.

I joined the Hurst Campus on a part-time basis in 2001 whilst simultaneously running a small catering company and starting a food product range which remains on the market at various outlets. I have also spent some fulfilling time lecturing at the Consumer Science Department at the University of Stellenbosch. 

 In 2010 I joined The Hurst Campus on a permanent basis where I currently lecture Gastronomy, Nutrition and Health and Safety.  I have a passion for travelling and all things food connected and delight in sharing my experiences with my students hoping to inspire them to excel in their careers .

 I have seen many Hurst Campus students achieve great successes in their careers and am proud to be associated with this establishment.

Tessa Creamer

Lecturer: Food and Beverage

My husband and I opened a cookery school in 2006, in Wolseley. We used the very same concept that The Hurst Campus still practices today. To give the students the much needed theory aspect of the cheffing world, but at the same time giving them experience in a working kitchen- preparing the students for what lies ahead.
I had the privilege of starting work at The Hurst Campus from the beginning of 2019. Prior to working at Hurst I was a regular client of The Hurst Campus, as I loved the vibe of the café and the stunning cake collection that was always on display.

I am now working permanently as a Food and Beverage lecturer. Food and Beverage has always been my passion, I love people and I love food, so it works perfectly for me.
The Hurst Campus has a fabulous team of staff that work together to keep the campus running smoothly. It definitely has a “Home away from Home” feeling. I enjoy the diverse dynamic of all staff and all students.

Rebecca Hurst

Owner and CEO of Hurst Culinary School

After I finished school and took a gap year through Europe I studied a BA at Stellenbosch University, where I soon realized that my heart lay in exploring the world of international food and hospitality, whereupon I returned to the United Kingdom.

I found my niche was in the kitchen after working for the London-based Davey Group, who have been wine merchants for the past 150 years. From here I worked my way up through the Hospitality Industry, eventually forming part of the opening team for a new restaurant for the Searcy Group at the Barbican Centre in London. After gaining priceless experience in England I returned to my beloved South Africa. I was delighted when Elsa van der Nest opened her academy in 1997 and immediately enrolled for the Advanced Food and Wine Chef Diploma. My future in the culinary arts was confirmed when Elsa offered me a partnership in the business midway through that year. I then took over as the owner and director of the Academy when Elsa left in 2002.

Under my guidance The Culinary Academy (TCA) was renamed The Hurst Campus and has grown into an internationally accredited and recognized private hospitality management and chef’s school. It is respected as one of the best hospitality training establishments in South Africa with a proud 22-year track record.

I have played a large role in developing the course material together with our talented team of professional chefs and academics to equip the graduates with the skills they need to be readily employable in the hospitality industry, both locally and abroad. My role is to constantly assess what the industry requires and to then ensure that the educational programmes on offer at the campus produce graduates who can successfully compete on a global platform. The personal development and success of each student is a fundamental building block of how the campus teaches and mentors. Ongoing research into the needs of the millennial and z generation is vital and a top quality internship and a job guarantee are part of what’s on offer. I recognize that tourism is one of the top two industries that provides employment in South Africa and I am determined to be able to contribute to the economy by empowering our students to become the best they can be when it comes to entrepreneurship, hospitality and cooking.

Hurst Graduates have become highly respected and sought after within the hospitality industry with many of them having gone on to become well known chefs in both local and global culinary establishments.

I like to remain in touch with student life while keeping an active interest in the personal development of the students and in all aspects surrounding the operational management of the business. Through pro-active educational development and the recruitment, motivation and empowerment of a close-knit professional team I am proud to say that I have kept the campus at the forefront of private hospitality management in South Africa.

I feel privileged and humbled to have had the opportunity to educate our students. My philosophy is simple; any dream is possible and can be converted into reality if you have the right attitude and determination to achieve that goal. I believe in encouraging everyone to take the necessary action to realize their true potential and I am a strong believer in vocational education.

I am very team orientated and I have surrounded myself with caring and compassionate colleagues who share my vision of learning and developing quality educational programmes. I believe in cultivating an environment of belonging guided by strong family values. I completed an executive coaching course through UCT in 2015 to further assist with my mentoring of our team and students.

I partner with JAM SA (joint aid management) as a key social outreach collaboration. Feeding hungry children with a nutritional porridge gives these little one’s healthy bones, a well-developed brain and the prospect of a brighter tomorrow

My work environment provides daily contact with the hospitality industry because all of our students need to complete a successful internship as part of their qualification. I visit local restaurants and hotels to assess their standards and employee requirements. I also travel frequently and in recent years have visited and researched some of the most highly rated hospitality schools in the UAE, Switzerland, Mauritius, France, Mexico and Italy and studied the culinary influences of China, Australia and the UK.

This research is used to help further develop the programmes currently on offer at The Hurst Campus in line with internationally taught curriculums. I continue to be inspired by the needs of our students, the global challenges of education vs the needs of the workplace environment and parenting in the 21st century.

A new chapter has just begun with the campus having relocated to 132 Main Road Paarl. We look forward to sharing the “student’s space, experiences and dining facilities” with the local residents and business owners. The campus has now opened the MOM (Meals on Main) Cafe to the public for breakfast, coffee, handcrafted pastries, cakes and lunch.