May 30, 2022

François Ferreira – Finding Future Food Game Changers


François Ferreira is known as South Africa’s Food Evangelist, a highly acclaimed author, the current Bailli Délégué of the Confrerie de la Chaîne des Rôtisseurs in South Africa and was inducted in the South Africa Academy of Chefs. But the title that he holds most dear is that of Teacher.

He founded the François Ferreira Academy in 2004. It has now grown to be the biggest and best-known culinary art and hospitality training centre in the Garden Route. Over the last 17 years it has established a reputation for providing quality, accredited training in its state-of-the-art kitchen run by experienced, highly qualified staff, producing learners who are sought after by world-class local and international restaurants and hospitality establishments.

François’s passionate, energetic personality and love for food run deep and shine through in everything he does. He has a passion for South African ingredients and loves to present these ingredients in a classical style e.g. Mielie rice and Biltong Risotto or Pasta with Kalahari truffles to name a few. Whether François is foraging in the Klein-Karoo for wild herbs and flowers for new dishes or collaborating with local suppliers, he takes his inspiration from what is available in the area. A firm believer in seasonality and supporting local producers. He has worked in and managed the households of two State Presidents and is recognised by the most prestigious culinary organisations in South Africa.

Chef François Ferreira

Tell us something about your background
I was born in Pretoria and attended Pretoria Commercial High School. In 1979 I was drafted to the South African Air Force at Valhalla, joined the permanent force, and enrolled in the South African Air Force Cookery School. I became a lecturer, specialising in cookery, gastronomic history, etiquette and protocol, function planning, food costing and dietetics.

In 1995 I was appointed executive chef at Die Werf Restaurant in Pretoria. I gained further experience as the manager at Clarens Manor Guesthouse in Cape Town and as a consultant for various restaurants and lodges in Cape Town and Namibia, including Meerendal Wine Estate in Durbanville where I was functions and catering manager. I went back to lecturing at the South Cape College in Oudtshoorn in 2000 for a couple of years. I believe in constant training and education and follow that route with my own training.

How has the François Ferreira Academy grown over the years?

From presenting one qualification in the beginning, we are now presenting skills training and full qualifications in the culinary and hospitality training sector. We offer cooking classes for members of the public, teambuilding, and functions. We have also recently started our own range of spice rubs, pickles, and chutneys. The Academy became part of the UXi Artisan Development group in November 2020, of which I am a shareholder and director.

What would you say your proudest achievement is? 

Every student leaving FFA with a qualification is an achievement. Many of our alumni are executive chefs or have their own businesses and some even work in television as culinary producers. I am also extremely proud of my team that make up the François Ferreira Academy.  Their passion is visible in what they do every day. 

Where do your students come from? 

The largest number of our students come from the Garden Route and Klein Karoo, but we do get learners relocating for their training period from other parts of South Africa, Namibia, Zambia and Mozambique.

What is the most popular course at FFA? 

Our three-year Chef Course followed by our 1-year Professional Chef Diploma.    

Special achievements by an alumnus?  

One of our alumni, Stephan Moolman, has just been appointed as Sous Chef at the prestigious ME|MU Restaurant, in Denmark.  

Tell us more about the Cook with Chefs Classes? 

Our ‘Cook with Chefs Classes’ are presented to anyone with a passion for food, from beginners to food fundi’s.  Participants join my team and I on a Saturday morning in our beautiful new kitchen where they learn new techniques, the culture and history of the food and taste to their hearts content.  Our chefs guide them every step of the way. Our Masterclass series, which was launched last year, has been very popular with courses such as Know Your Meat and Discovering Spices.  Follow us on Facebook to find out more about upcoming classes.  

Do you have any community involvement/programmes? 

We are very proud to have a good relationship with the Garden Route District Municipality in association with which we present a Cater Care Food Handler Course for unemployed youth from the Garden Route and Klein Karoo. 

You have a very public persona. Tell us about some of the highlights of your career?

As patron of the Carpe Diem Special School in George I organised the annual Gourmets and Gourmands fundraising event, and acted as MC. I also wrote and performed numerous food and wine cabaret performances such as Tango of Tastes, An Evening with Louis Leipoldt, Boerekos, and Bollywood & Ballroom. I took part in, wrote, or co-produced many productions for the annual ABSA KKNK. I have also been part of a number of food television productions.

You’ve also received numerous awards over the years. Which are you most proud of?

In 2009 I was inducted into the Academy of Chefs, which is the highest accolade to be given to a South African Chef by the South African Chefs Association. I was also made a life member of the SACA and recognised as a leader in the industry. I am also very proud to be a member of the South African Brandy Guild.

And the future? 

I am planning another book or two, maybe another food cabaret. Most of all I am looking forward to discovering, developing, and mentoring future food game changers. 

For more information about the François Ferreira Academy visit www.francoisferreira.co.za.