Our School

“All that is valuable in human society depends upon the
opportunity for development accorded the individual.”

– Albert Einstein

What We Do

ICT is a non-profit chef’s school in Cape Town, South Africa. Our 12-week course teaches the basic cooking skills, life skills and offers the professional tools necessary for graduates to obtain immediate employment in the hospitality industry. ICT helps bridge the gap between poverty and jobs by providing graduates with not only the skills, but the confidence and determination to embark on a productive and sustainable future.

Our work doesn’t stop when a student graduates. We remain in contact with our students and their employers (and, in some cases, the students’ families) to ensure a smooth transition into the professional world.

Candidates are carefully screened for desire, commitment and dedication to personal growth. Microscopic, individual attention to is paid each student, as he or she is often battling the scars and personal demons of their upbringing and environment. We receive over 100 applications for each class and are able to accept only 12-16 students per class.

In just over five years of existence, ICT has produced 197 graduates.  Over 70% of all graduates have jobs. Our goal is to maintain a consistent, year-over-year employment rate of at least 80%.

Who We Are

Our Executive Director, Barry Berman, is active in every facet of the school’s daily operations and directs its long-term vision. He offers his time and efforts pro bono.

ICT is proud to have an all-graduate teaching staff: Nicolene Damons (class of 2010), Zanele Mdokwana and Sindi Rosi (both class of 2012). Each is uniquely qualified to speak to the needs and aspirations of the students.  ICT loves growing teachers as well as cooks.

Our Operations and Culinary Arts Manager, Melinda van Staden, works tirelessly to uplift all aspects of the school, from her work in the kitchen, to assisting the staff, to securing jobs for our graduates and broadening ICT’s profile within the community.

ICT has a devoted Board of Directors, people whose care and expertise help steer our mission.

And, of course, our Contributors, without whom we would not exist. As a grassroots organization, ICT continues to depend on the interest and care of our past and future contributors.

Where The Money Goes

Tuition is free to all students.  Otherwise, none could afford to attend.

It takes approximately $75,000 US (ZAR 800,000) in cash to operate the school for one year. This is on top of the donations we receive in the form of curriculum books, uniforms and food.

Funds pay for staff and teachers’ salaries, rent, kitchen and office supplies, printing and classroom supplies, car and gasoline and other transportation expenses, phone and internet usage and banking fees (expensive in South Africa). A small fraction of our budget is used for fundraising. Not a penny is squandered.

Currently, we are able to train 50-60 people per year during four 12-week class sessions. Then we place the graduates into jobs. The results are immediate. Some of the students’ stories are amazing.