The Johannesburg Culinary School was founded in 2012 by husband and wife team Kelvin and Jarlyne Joel.
The school offers short courses, edutainment classes to the public and full-time City & Guilds-accredited diploma and certificate courses.
It also offers training for prospective chefs from under-resourced communities in and around Johannesburg through its Seabiscuit Foundation.
The school is a gastronomic academy situated in the hub of Johannesburg’s central business district.
In 2016, the academy received a R2.2 million business loan from the National Empowerment Fund (NEF) with the aim to further upscale and expand it’s already growing business.
Kelvin Joel, a qualified chef, and wife Jarlyne, a former insurance broker, started the business in 2012 with just eight tables and five stoves. Today, the culinary academy boasts two properties in the city centre and more than 600 black graduates.
Kelvin’s passion to help turn young emerging chefs from disadvantaged backgrounds into thriving professionals is the reason behind the creation of the academy.
Kelvin has a diploma in hospitality management and is an experienced pastry chef, having worked in some of SA’s top five-star hotels for over 10 years.
He was the first black pastry chef at the Sandton Sun Hotel and went on to become a recipient of the South African Chefs Association’s 2010 Achievement Award.
He also received a certificate of appreciation from MasterChef South Africa for his guest appearance in season two of the series.
Another highlight in Kelvin’s career was joining the SA team that participated at the Culinary Olympics in Germany, where the South African team won silver and bronze medals.
With 50% equity, Jarlyne is an equal member in the business and has experience primarily in the insurance industry, having been employed by the sector for more than 17 years. She is a qualified assessor and moderator.
The Johannesburg Culinary School is premised on the ethos of paying it forward, creating opportunities and access for a demographic that has historically been overlooked.
The school is priced at 40% less than the average culinary institute and offers students in-house training to bolster productivity and employability.
The school approached the NEF for financial assistance to invest in catering equipment as well as assistance regarding working capital for the first few months to cover lecturers’ fees.
The academy offers three qualifications for pastry and other chefs for periods of 12 to 24 months and a six-month, part-time course accompanied by practical training at Cinnamon Patisseries, also owned by the Johannesburg Culinary School.
“We plan to expand our curriculum to include mixology lessons and hotel management providing multiskill sets for potential graduates,” says Jarlyne.