The South African Chefs Association

Cultivate a community,
celebrate the craft

The South African Chefs Association

The art of cooking

The South African Chefs Association

Transforming the Chef Industry
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Our Story

Welcome To SA Chefs Association

SA Chefs is a non-profit industry body, founded more than 49 years ago, that represents the interests of chefs, cooks and caterers at all levels, with a focus on skills development, the celebration of culinary professionals and transforming the industry.

SA Chefs aims to have a significant impact on the careers of the chefs with whom we share the knowledge that our members have acquired through international food promotions, competitions, workshops, educational conferences and various other learning experiences. To date we have          over 12 500 members that include catering and hotel company directors, restaurateurs, chefs, cooks, culinary educators, apprentices and trainees; who can be found in every type of catering field.

To view our brochure, click here.

The South African Qualifications Authority

The South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) formally recognised SA Chefs as a professional body in 2012 after the association successfully met the criteria set by SAQA during the pilot recognition phase in 2011.

The South African Chefs Association has been at the forefront of promoting the art and science of cooking since 1974. Since then the association has grown to be acknowledged by the hospitality industry for the quality of the representation of chefs, the setting of standards in industry, and in the culinary education sector. In 2017, SAQA re-recognised SA Chefs for their contribution to the professionalisation to the sector as a whole and chef’s education in particular.

SA Chefs provides the platform for chefs to network with peers and advance their career goals through various activities. The association ensures that chefs have national support through the regional committees in 5 provinces.

What does this the status mean for SA Chefs?

The professional body is, through recognition, capacitated to set and uphold the standards of the services rendered by members of the association in industry. It also affords SA Chefs the opportunity to be part of the development of culinary qualifications especially working with the QCTO (Quality Council of Trade and Occupations), thus ensuring that the quality and standard of culinary education meets the requirements of the hospitality industry.

  • Cook
  • Chef de Partie
  • Sous Chef
  • Head Chef

The registering of professional designations is also part of the SA Chefs mandate. Designations are essentially the right to practice in an field of expertise and the following titles have been registered for professional chefs.

SA Chefs is building on and promoting the professionalism of the culinary industry through the awarding of professional designations.  Through processes of RPL (recognition of prior learning), the opportunity is available to all chefs, those qualified and those who do not hold a formal qualification. SA Chefs has implemented a Continuing Professional Development policy to ensure that chefs adopt a culture of life-long learning that will aid the individual and the industry in the path to professionalisation.

Training and skills development is crucial to the progress of any industry, and in line with registering professional designations, SA Chefs now has the authority to recognise suitable education providers and training systems. The SA Chefs-recognised schools will offer qualifications that are on registered on the NQF, accepted in industry, as well as a track record of equipping student chefs with the skills, work ethic, kitchen code of conduct and integrity to be a successful chef in the industry.

Building on the relationship with World Chefs, whom has already recognised the designations of SA Chefs as a fast track route to global certification,  SA Chefs will also encourage international practice, raising the esteem of the South African chefs’ profession on a local and global platform.

“The South African culinary industry has grown and developed tremendously to become diverse and world-class. We look forward to setting standards and raising the profile of the South African chef on both the local and international stage,” says Billingham.

Constantly striving to improve the culinary world in South Africa, SA Chefs has spearheaded important initiatives like the Tsogo Sun Centre for Culinary Excellence in partnership with the University of Johannesburg’s School of Tourism and Hospitality and the National Youth Chefs Training Programme in association with the National Department of Tourism.

Becoming a SAQA’s recognised Professional Body is a momentous achievement for the chefs, directors, board members and honorary life members of the association, and is a great platform for developing South Africa’s culinary industry further.


Our Patrons & Sponsors

The South African Chefs Association (SA Chefs) is a non-profit company and sponsorship plays a vital role in its successful running.
Without the generosity from the below sponsors and patrons, we would not be able to fulfill our mandate of reflecting South Africa’s culinary diversity and promoting the art and science of cookery.

SA Chefs Patrons are the backbone of our sponsorship, with twelve sponsorships annually from companies assisting in the necessary office-related running costs. Many of these companies have been supporters of the SA Chefs since its inception, and we are pleased to recognise the support that they provide us with.


Become a Member

SA Chefs is a non-profit organisation representing in excess of 9600 of the country’s finest chefs, restaurateurs, educators, learners, culinarians and other interested parties. With established branches across the country and a network that reaches all four corners of the globe.


South African Chefs Association Board of Directors

The governing body of SA Chefs is their Board of Directors, who are leaders in the South African hospitality industry, elected to serve the interests of the Association.

A new board is elected each year during the Annual General Meeting. They represent a cross-section of the industry including, food production, training, contract catering, banqueting and restaurants. The current leadership of the Association is President James Khoza.


Judges and Judging Criteria

Being a SA Chefs licensed Judge will give you the opportunity to judge the culinary competitions within South Africa under the South African Chefs association, having sufficient judging experience will also count to your requirements of being a certified world chefs judge (completely separate process and administration)

It is vital for the member to know that the seminar does not automatically qualify him/her to be a fully licensed judge, and that there are additional criteria needed to achieve this status.

The seminar will certify the member as an automatic Level C judge for the period of 5 years (from valid judge seminar) should the below criteria not be met.

If you are interested in becoming a SA Chefs Accredited judge or need an SA Chefs Accredited judge for your competition, please click below for more info or email

A surplus-driven movement to nourish those in need

Chefs with Compassion is a registered Not For Profit company, founded on the 6th of May 2020 in response to the humanitarian crisis brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic. The initiative is based on a collaboration between organisations and individuals whose greatest wish is to alleviate the hunger and suffering of South Africa in every city where its network of chefs, kitchens, beneficiaries and supporters takes root. 

The founding partners are NOSH Food Rescue NPC (NOSH), the South African Chefs Association (SA Chefs), Slow Food International, the Slow Food Chefs Alliance SA, and Strategic Public Relations.

Become a volunteer

Volunteers are the lifeblood of Chefs with Compassion – both those working tirelessly behind the scenes to bring the network together in a well-oiled humanitarian machine, to the men and women whose relationships with farmers and fresh produce agents provide the ingredients to nourish the needy, to the chefs who heed the call to get behind the stoves and apply their skills to doing what they love to do – feed people. Stepping up can take a variety of forms. Chefs with Compassion needs skills of all kinds, and they’re needed all over the country – Johannesburg, Cape Town, Durban, Potchefstroom, Rustenburg, Port Elizabeth, Vanderbijlpark, Pretoria, and coming soon near a city near you. Please sign up here.


Donations of staple ingredients, packaging and other items that are provided to the Chefs with Compassion hubs are welcomed with gratitude. We invite retailers, suppliers, manufacturers and foodservice companies to register your participation in providing meals to the needy through Chefs with Compassion. Please register here.

Our Location

Regional Committee Chairs


Want to know more about our Regional Committees?
Select the area of your choice and get the info to contact one of our Regional Committee Chairs for more information.


Keep up to date with the latest news

Want to know the latest news and keep up to date with new trends and specials? SA Chef Media has it all. Visit their site to subscribe to the newsletters, magazines and look for great opportunities and events. 

Don’t Miss

Our News And Events

Catch up on our latest news and events happening around your area.



9:30AM – 5PM


Coming soon

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Contact Us

Give us a shout on email, phone or fill out the form with your details so that we can get back to you.

phone: (011) 482 7250