There are many places in Egypt that offer cooking classes in a variety of subjects, so, over time, you can gain skills in Italian cuisine, pastry making as well as learn how to cook Thai food at home, to name but a few. For those interested in becoming all-round, professional chefs instead of passionate hobbyists, there is the Culinary Training Centre, the first official educational culinary academy in Egypt.
The training centre was established a little over two years ago. “The first class given in the centre was in May 2011, after a whole year of preparation. It is the first formal academy that offers official cooking classes. We are certified by the City and Guilds Vocational Training Centre in London. Moreover, the centre is a member in the Egyptian Tourism Federation,” Dr Rawia Oweis, the manager of the centre said. The Training Centre is a member of the latter because the students that have graduated will often go on to work in touristic facilities, like hotels.
Dr Oweis is proud of the centres’ competitive edge: “Our educational system is of the highest quality in terms of curricula, training and assessments and [the courses are] 70% practical and 30% theoretical. The educational programme the culinary training centre offers either takes a whole year of two classes a week or, the intensive program, [which] runs over six months of five classes a week.”
Other mainstream cooking classes often restrict the focus of their courses to a specific technique or cuisine, which is very different from the education the Culinary Training Centre offers. “We do not teach a specific cuisine, we teach and train basic cooking skills,” Dr Oweis said.
Students who are interested need to have certain prerequisites. “The minimum qualifications needed for admission to the Centre are the technical and/or vocational secondary education. The age of applicants should range from 18 to 35 years old,” Dr Oweis said.
The Centre can guarantee a high level of education, not only because of the method that is followed, but also because the teachers are of a special calibre. “The teachers are chefs with 10 to 20 years of experience, who worked until they became Executive Chefs [in the hotels they worked in]. They then took a number of courses, as well as special courses at the City and Guilds Centre until they became Chef Trainers,” she added.
The Centre has been popular since the very beginning. “So far, about 300 chefs graduated from our Centre. We help our students after graduation get jobs by putting them in contact with hotels. And we generally keep in contact with them to know how they are doing in their jobs,” Dr Oweis said.
The headquarters of the Culinary Training Centre is in 6th of October City in Cairo and recently, a new branch was opened in Luxor, in Upper Egypt.