What's Cooking?

From our students’ creative creations in our kitchens to following our exceptional Alumni on their global journeys, we place a great deal of attention in caring for our #CapsicumFamily. Keep up to date with our #CapsicumActivities here.

What's Hot
27 May, 2019
The two-hour Masterclasses will take place at Capsicum Culinary Studio campuses in Pretoria (March 11); Johannesburg (March 12 and 13), Port Elizabeth (March 15), Cape Town (March 18, 19, 20 and 21) and Durban (March 25, 26 and 27).
Ungermann will be presenting three classes: The Whole Chicken Masterclass in which he will demonstrate how to take apart and use every part of a chicken; The Fish Masterclass where he will show how to fillet and cook fish perfectly every time and The Dessert Masterclass which will include some of Ungermann's famous desserts including his much-loved ice cream.
In 2017 Ungermann decided to pursue his dream of a life in the world of food on MasterChef Australia. He finished as runner-up and discovered a love and talent for desserts. Since MasterChef Australia Ungermann has been travelling the globe, from Japan to England and Indonesia as well as his homeland in the Netherlands, giving masterclasses.
Here he answers some questions ...
What have you been doing since your last visit to South Africa?
I have been continuing to hone my skills in kitchens around the world and have settled in Indonesia where I have just become an ambassador for a cooking brand, made a guest appearance on MasterChef Indonesia and am working on opening my new milk bar/retro diner concept in Seminyak.
Tell us about this year's South African masterclasses and what people attending can expect from them?
This year's masterclasses will be about techniques that attendees can use to aid them at home, to make their ingredients stretch further and help with plating to make it look gourmet, just like on the show and, of course, taste absolutely delicious.
What do you believe are the latest food trends?
More and more people are exploring a vegetarian and vegan diet. I am an absolute carnivore and I love meat but it's no lie, to produce protein that ends up on the plate takes a larger toll on the environment. There is a big push to cook more with vegetables and non-protein items.
Do you have plans to visit any SA restaurants?
My last time in South Africa I visited Restaurant Mosaic which was absolutely phenomenal. Chef Chantel Dartnall is remarkable and it is one of the best meals I have ever eaten. I would love to explore Cape Town which I've heard is the food capital of South Africa but I know that saying that will upset lots of other cities.
What are you most looking forward to on this trip?
Meeting South Africans. My biggest following is in India and I have travelled all over the world but I have to say the people who have been my favourite are South Africans.
We've just watched the winner crowned in MasterChef Australia 2018. Any advice for Sashi?
I don't think Sashi needs any advice, he is true foodie at heart, he has a fantastic following and I can definitely see him as one of the most successful MasterChef Australia contestants ever.
Tell us a bit about your ice cream shop in Australia?
Ungermann Brothers in Australia is a shop that presents gourmet, out-of-the-box flavours to the public. All our ice-cream is preservative free, we use the freshest local ingredients and it is completely natural with no stabilisers. My brother Danny and I are both parents and we believe when you are feeding the people you care about, you use the best possible ingredients at your disposal. It has never been about making a quick buck but rather about giving people quality.
Three favourite ice cream flavours?
My organic carrot cake, which has become my absolute favourite, secondly my salted caramel bacon and pecan and the third, which we don't make at my ice-cream shop in Australia, is boysenberry, it's just one of those flavours which gets me.
Favourite chicken dish?
Chicken karaage - fried Japanese chicken with an amazing flavour.
Favourite fish dish?
Well-cooked fish, still very moist, with hollandaise sauce will just do me every time.
The cost per Ben Ungermann Masterclass is R950 and includes an apron to take home as well as time afterwards for talks and photos with Ungermann. The Masterclasses are presented by Capsicum Culinary Studio in partnership with Kenwood South SA.
For more details call Kerisha at 086 111 2433 or email or go to for the schedule.
Book tickets now on
27 May, 2019
South Africa’s largest chef school has signed an agreement with a leading online training company in the hospitality sector.
Both Capsicum Culinary Studio and The Private Hotel School (PHS) have partnered with Lobster Ink, the hospitality industry's training partner of choice.
This means that all Capsicum and PHS students will have access to a selection of courses – at no extra cost – which makes use of detailed high-definition video content, delivered through their enterprise-class learning platform and used by some of the world’s finest hospitality establishments.
ProChef®, an internationally-accredited training programme for contemporary chefs and culinary teams, is part of Lobster Ink’s extensive learning library. It teaches core food science principals, latest techniques and the why behind the how.
Says Capsicum and Private Hotel School MD Renee Hill: “Three factors led to the decision to acquire the Lobster Ink product into our teaching and learning portfolio – the nature of the current generation of students, technological advancements and the demands placed on higher education institutions to adequately prepare students for the workplace.
“We believe that a traditional lecture format is no longer the best means to teach students and while we cannot move away from it entirely, our aim is to introduce alternative means to better address the needs of a diverse student body who all engage with the learning process very differently, she explains.
Adds Erika Theron, academic manager of Capsicum and TPHS: “Lobster Ink produced the ProChef® 1 Learning Path in collaboration with the Culinary Institute of America. This state-of-the-art product gives our students access to top quality video material to consume prior to attending their theory lessons, giving them exposure to topics and concepts so they may rationalise these before the same content is taught by their lecturer. This helps them retain information more easily and take learning further during class discussions. It is an extremely valuable tool to add to our students’ learning material and since it is included in their course fees, everyone has access.”
Wolfgang Lindlbauer, CEO Hospitality, Lobster Ink, says of the partnership: “Having been exposed to the rigour and knowledge required in my own apprenticeship, I understand the foundation it sets for a successful culinary career. To bring our industry-leading online training, created in partnership with The Culinary Institute of America, to Capsicum Culinary Studio and TPHS, makes me extremely excited for the future of South Africa's aspiring culinarians.”
27 May, 2019
WIN one of 6 bursaries for a one-year programme in Professional Cookery in our regional cook-off OR the ultimate national prize:
a three-year accredited QCTO Chef Programme.
6 Regional winners/semi-finalists: A bursary of R90 000 towards your study for a Professional Cookery programme. (Boksburg, Cape Town, Durban, Johannesburg, Port Elizabeth and Pretoria).
1 National winner: A bursary of R200 000 towards your study for the QCTO Chef programme (three years).
The bursary includes a full chef uniform, ingredients and knife set.
Step 1
Create a dish using a red capsicum pepper or any other red ingredient. It can be a sweet or savoury dish.
Take a good photo and upload it on your Instagram page by using the tag #CapsicumTalent.
PLEASE NOTE: images of your dish MUST be uploaded on Instagram with our tag and your details need to be filled in below to qualify for this competition.
Please include any interesting facts on your dish – is it your own recipe, what do you like about it, etc.
Like our Instagram page and share the post.
Final date to upload your amazing red dish: 30 June 2019
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Our Capsicum Chefs
27 May, 2019
Chef Ewan Johnston, who is a lecturer at our Rosebank campus, has been with Capsicum for two years now. Having worked in the industry for more than a decade, Ewan comes from a mass production background, but has also had some al a carte experience.
We sat down with the friendly chef to find out a little more about his passions and his current journey through Capsicum:
So... (Drumroll please) Why Capsicum?
After 8 years travelling and working in the industry in Africa and Europe. I decided to return home with my knowledge and experience with the ambition to share all of this with other young aspiring chefs. So as Capsicum was my culinary institution I qualified with, I thought being Capsicum Alumni this would be the perfect career to do so. I have been working at Capsicum for just under two years now and absolutely love doing what I do.
What has been your biggest highlight in your culinary journey?
I have had the privilege of cooking for the President of Zambia and the governor of the Katanga province in the DRCongo and their delegates. This was by far my best chef experience.
What would your best advice be to your students and others who want to study cooking?
Cooking food is not just a job. It's a passion and love of food. In order to be a great chef you need to work for great people who love what you do and have the same drive and aspirations as you do. But most importantly cook the best you can and have fun doing it.
What was your own worst kitchen nightmare?
Working for a boss and not a leader.
What would be your last supper?
A good old Italian pasta dish with a good bottle of red.
What has been your most memorable student-lecturer moment?
Seeing the look on my students faces when they graduate. The look of fulfilment and success and to know that their journey has only begun.
If you would like to study to become a Chef like Chef Ewan, and travel the world visit our courses page here and make your chef dreams a reality today!
27 May, 2019
So what changes has he seen in the past 10 years at Capsicum and in the industry?
“Over the last few years, one of the obvious major changes was when Capsicum joined ADvTECH, becoming more of a powerhouse in the hospitality training arena. I’ve also noticed a change in the calibre of students, as more people become aware of the opportunities in the field through social media and television. The breadth of career opportunities locally has also increased over the years which is very exciting. With Capsicum’s international partners, students also have more opportunities to gain work experience abroad.”
Lombard – who says he has always loved food and hospitality from a young age – started working in restaurants at the age of 16.
“I worked my way up from waiter to manager and later became a restaurant owner. I completed qualifications in both hospitality management and as a chef. After 10 years in the industry, I decided on a change of pace and wanted to move into academia, so I joined the Capsicum team as principal of the Boksburg branch in 2009.”
The Alberton resident has been married for 17 years and has two children aged 12 and 6:
“Both love spending time in the kitchen and might have inherited my foodie genes!”
What do you believe gives Capsicum an edge over its competitors ?
Our passion and commitment to student life and the student experience. We also are committed to students who graduate with both practical and hands-on skills. We pride ourselves on the fact that most of our graduates find employment in the industry almost straight away.
Why do you think so many alumni have been successful ?
Not only do our students have the knowledge that they’ve gained at Capsicum but they also have an impressive work ethic and understand that you have to work hard to be successful.
What advice do you have for anyone wanting to make a career in the hospitality industry?
Make sure you love the culinary industry. Work hard. Be willing to start at the bottom. Work the extra shift. Leave an establishment after a year or two to get more exposure. Network! Enter as many chefs’ competitions as you can. Read recipes and follow other chefs on social media and look at plating photos. Eat and taste everything. Play with your food! Immerse yourself in anything and everything regarding food.
You have been teaching for a decade at Capsicum – do you ever miss the professional kitchen?
I do miss the fast pace of the kitchen, the energy and the brotherhood environment you form from working in a professional kitchen. Being a Chef is something you can’t always explain to people. Being a Chef means you are a Chef for life. Food is in our blood. We think about food all the time. It is what we dream of and read about. We get to play with our food every day. It is our passion. It is our drive. It is a way of life. It is art. It is fast. To be a Chef in a professional kitchen is extremely hard, but that’s why we love it.
This is why I love being involved in shaping the next generation of Chefs’ hospitality future.
What are the latest food trends ?
Affordable fine dining, local produce and South African heritage cooking. Craft whiskey is also showing promise as a 2019 trend, which I’m very excited about!
How do you rate the South African hospitality industry ?
We are competing very well, compared with the international industry. I think we are up there!
What three ingredients would we always find in your kitchen ?
Fresh herbs, garlic and chilli is a must. Ginger is also always there too. These ingredients will always add depth and character to any dish.
Can you also share with us your go-to recipe ?
My children love my crispy chicken wings or succulent and sticky ribs. I love a good old curry. But one of our family favourites is Thai curry mussel soup (see recipe below) which is best when served with homemade brea.
Six quick fire questions:
• Sweet or savoury?
Sweet – crème brulee or a baked cheesecake.
• Fine dining or homemade meal?
Fine dining.
• Nigella or Jamie?
Nigella. She is the dessert queen.
• Red wine or white wine?
• Paris, London, Rome or New York?
New York.
• Reading on the beach, wandering around an art museum or scuba diving?
Reading on the beach.
Thai Curry Mussel Soup.
250g leeks
1 onion
1 garlic clove
1 tsp fresh ginger
500ml dry white wine
500ml cream
1 can of light coconut cream
1 litre chicken stock
3 tbl curry paste or to taste
500g clean mussels
A handful of coriander leaves
Finely chop the leeks, onion, garlic and ginger and sauté in a little oil. Add curry paste and allow to cook for 5 minutes over low heat. Add the chicken stock and white wine and bring to the boil. Add the mussels and cook for 10 minutes. Finish with the cream and coconut cream. Allow to simmer slowly, reduce and thicken slightly. Check for seasoning, add a pinch of salt if needed. Finish with the fresh coriander leaves and serve with warm crusty bread.
27 May, 2019
Lianne Holt is the new principal at the Cape Town campus of Capsicum Culinary Studio, South Africa’s leading culinary institute.
Holt – who lives in Three Anchor Bay – was appointed to the top job in November last year after having lectured and worked in the school’s academic department for the past few years.
She loves pastry and desserts – she worked at The Olympia bakery and restaurant in Kalk Bay; headed up the Saint James boutique hotel in Knysna and ran her own business Billyboo’s Cakery before joining Capsicum.
What do you believe gives Capsicum an edge over its competitors?
Capsicum trains chefs at its campuses around the country each year so we are constantly striving to improve our curriculum and add industry relevant workshops to the programme in order for our students to see the full picture of the hospitality industry. This isn’t a TV view of being a professional chef – it is real life.
Why do you think so many alumni have been successful?
Hard work is non-negotiable in this industry. If you are willing to put the work in, you will be rewarded. Our students are constantly pushed while on campus so they understand what the professional industry will be like when they join it.
Why the move to lecturing/teaching?
I have always believed that you have to share your knowledge. I also have a passion for teaching.
What advice do you give to students?
Work hard, be passionate, and show that you are hungry for knowledge and skills.
What advice do you have for anyone wanting to make a career in the hospitality industry?
Understand that there is a lot of personal sacrifice. This is not a day to day job, it is a lifestyle. However, there are also so many more avenues to follow within this industry now. Things are always evolving so keep yourself updated on industry trends and keep experimenting!
What are the latest food trends?
o Whole foods: eating healthy whole foods to nourish your body.
o Taking one ingredient and doing as many variations with that ingredient as possible, creating different textures and mouthfeels.
o Pairing ingredients with specific beverages.
o Vegan sweet treats are on the rise! This doesn’t mean sugary sweetness is out the door; people are just experimenting more with unrefined and unprocessed ingredients. There are delicious options out there.
What chef do you admire most and why?
As a baker/cake maker, my very first idol was Peggy Porschen – she is based in the UK and her creations were always inspiring me and pushing me to do better. Locally, Jason Lilley does phenomenal pastries. Grant Achatz at Alinea in Chicago blows my mind – gosh there are actually so many chefs I admire!
How do you rate the South African hospitality industry?
Our industry is improving constantly. Personally, I believe our service needs more attention than anything else. Our foodies are phenomenal and I am very proud to be a part of the culinary scene in Cape Town.
What three ingredients would we always find in your kitchen?
Raspberries, when in season; lemons; white chocolate.
Five quick fire questions:
• Sweet or savoury? Sweet
• Brad Pitt or George Clooney – Brad!
• Red wine or white wine? Ooooh… both!
• Paris, London, Rome or New York? Eeek! NYC
• Reading on the beach, wandering around an art museum or scuba diving? Beach reading!
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Chef's Corner
27 May, 2019
2 Eggs
100g Sugar
40g Oil
10 ml Vanilla
100g Cake Flour
5ml Baking Powder
60g Milk
1. Beat the sugar and eggs until white.
2. Add the oil and vanilla and beat until smooth.
3. Add in the flour, baking powder and a pinch of salt and gently mix until incorporated.
4. Mix in the milk.
5. Portion into cup cake holders up to about 2 thirds full and bake for 15 minutes at 180°C.
6. Once done, cool on a cooling rack and decorate with butter cream.
27 May, 2019
Vegan Milk Tart
1 Large Tart
2C Flour
1.5Tbsp Sugar
½Tsp Salt
115g Vegan Margarine (100% Vegetable Oil Margarine, no milk elements)
2Tbsp Vegetable Oil
2Tbsp Chilled Water
4.5C Soy Milk
1 Vanilla Pod
2.5Tbsp Corn Flour
2,5Tbsp Flour
1C Sugar
1C Pureed Smooth Tofu
Pinch of Salt
1Tsp Agar Agar
Large Spoon of Vegan Margarine
Cinnamon to top
Preheat your oven to 200°C and prepare a large tart tin.
Mix the dry ingredients and rub in the margarine.
Combine the oil and water by whisking and add a little at a time until the pastry comes together in a ball.
Cover the pastry and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Roll out the pastry and line your tart tin. Bake blind until golden brown and done. This should take around 15 minutes. Check the pastry at around 10 minutes and remove the baking beads to allow the pastry to cook through.
Remove the case from the oven and allow to cool thoroughly.
Make the filling by splitting the vanilla pod open and scraping the seeds along with the pod into the soy milk in a large pot. Set the stove to a medium heat, and allow the milk to come gradually up to a scalding temperature, but do not let it boil.
Beat together the corn flour, flour, tofu (once pureed), agar agar, salt and sugar until smooth. Bring the mix up to temperature by gradually adding in the heated milk while whisking to avoid lumps.
Pour the filling back into the pot, remove the vanilla pod, and set the stove to a medium to low heat. Using a spatula, keep the mixture moving, allowing it to boil, and cook it for at least 5 minutes.
Once cooked, add in the knob of margarine, work it into filling, and take it off the heat. Working quickly and carefully for the mixture will be hot, pour the filling into the tart case. Allow to set, at room temperature. Once cool, sprinkle with Cinnamon and either serve or store in the refrigerator until use.
27 May, 2019
By Chef Mark Coombe
460g cream cheese
15ml coffee
200g melted good quality dark chocolate
200g sugar
90g corn flour
15ml vanilla essence
Pinch salt
3 eggs
125ml sour cream
Pre heat oven to 180°c
Cream the cream cheese, sugar, cornflour, vanilla & salt in a mixer
Add one egg at a time then espresso whilst mixing
Add sour cream and melted chocolate
Pour into prepared tin over biscuit base
Bake for 45 minutes, then cool in oven (with door sligthly open) for 1 hour
Serve with brandy cream!
27 May, 2019
Are you running out of time and have no idea what to make for your special someone this Valentine’s Day?
Why not try these healthy chocolate truffles, created by our very own Chef Ukhonaye Mconi.
Chef Ukhonaye says he chose this dish because it’s “cheaper and healthier than chocolate truffles from supermarkets, and there are so many more added benefits in all the ingredients.”
“I also see it as a fun activity for couples or families. It’s an eat and play kind of set up” he adds.
27 May, 2019
• 2 cups white sugar
• 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
• 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
• 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
• 1 1/2 teaspoons bicarb
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 2 eggs
• 1 cup milk
• 1/2 cup vegetable oil
• 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
• 1 cup boiling water
• 2 tbsp coffee into the boiling water
Preheat oven to 175°C.
Prepare the tins (2x 18cm round tins / cupcake trays) with spray and cook or grease-proof paper.
In a large bowl, whisk together the sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, bicarb and salt.
In a separate bowl whisk together the eggs, milk, oil and vanilla. Whisk until thoroughly combined.
Add the wet mixture to the dry ingredients, stir in the boiling water last. Your mixture will be thin. Pour evenly into the prepared round tins/cupcake trays.
Bake for 30-40 minutes in the preheated oven, until the cake tests done with a cake tester/skewer. Cool in the pans for 10 minutes, once rested turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
• 1 cup cream
• 2 tablespoons butter
• 2 cups good quality dark chocolate, chopped
• pinch salt
1. Add cream and butter to a small saucepan and heat on low heat until the butter has melted and the cream is heated throughout.
2. Add the chopped chocolate to a large glass bowl. Pour the warmed cream and butter mixture over the chocolate. Add your pinch of salt. Allow to stand for about 3minutes to soften the chopped chocolate completely.
3. Stir briskly with a whisk to combine and until completely smooth.
4. Once cooled, use an electric mixer or a whisk, whip the cooled ganache to incorporate air and increase the volume. Use a spatula to spread the ganache between the cakes or onto the cupcakes.
• Ensure your oven is pre-heated
• Always prepare your tins in advance
• Eggs perform best at room temperature
• Measure/weigh all ingredients prior to beginning the recipe instructions
• Sift all your dry ingredients together – always
• An electric mixer will assist with the mixing process 
• Use a skewer/toothpick if you do not have a cake tester, to test if your cake is cooked through. Stick the skewer/toothpick into the cake, if it comes out clean, it is baked!
• If your cake begins to pull away from the sides of the cake tins, this is a sure sign that the cakes are baked.
• If you have a fan-assisted oven, always drop the temperature by 20°C. The fan assistance always created a hotter oven as it is constantly circulating the air.
• Always allow your cakes to cool completely before beginning to decorate, if you rush this process, the icing/ganache will melt right off the cake!
• Always cool cakes on a cooling rack. This prevents condensation on the cake base.
27 May, 2019
Vegan : A person who does not eat or use animal products.
A vegan diet frowns upon the use of meat, dairy products and any bi-product in relation to the use of any animal or living creature. It is finally in the spotlight as an achievable option as a diet choice. I personally prefer to call it a lifestyle choice as there are many different aspects involved in maintaining a vegan diet.
There are many luxuries in day-to-day life that include the use of animals and or their bi-products. Leather products and certain make-up brands are two examples of non-edible items that vegans will not associate themselves with due to the use of animals and or animal abuse in the production.
In the last 10 years we have seen a steady increase in the number of people choosing a vegan lifestyle. The motivation for this stems from animal welfare, environmental concerns, religious reasons and quite a large factor is a 'healthy lifestyle'. The choice to be vegan can be defined by each individuals' personal intentions.
A vegan diet can of course be 100% healthy if managed correctly and attention is paid to getting all the necessary nutrients and vitamins your body requires. Ideally your vegan diet should be mostly plant-based whole foods. It should contain plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, beans, legumes, nuts and seeds. Because vegan diets often rely heavily on these healthy ingredients, they tend to be higher in vitamins, minerals, and fibre. Healthy vegan diets are saturated with vitamins B1, C, and E, folic acid, magnesium, and iron while also being low in cholesterol and saturated fats.
The possibility of the diet not necessarily providing you with the right nutrients is also very strong. It could result in being a high fat diet full of calorie dense food items which could cause an array of health issues. So, while you are eating no animal products, and pursuing a vegan diet/lifestyle, make sure you are in it with all the facts needed to fulfill your bodies' requirements.
Vegan junk food and vegan treats are on the rise and are a massive draw card for people who worry about veganism having 'no variety'. You can be vegan and still have a very poor diet. The ever popular Oreo cookie is a good example of a bad advertisement for vegan food. Vegan cheese is another example of a food item which is mass produced and thoroughly processed to achieve an authentic texture and mouth feel.
Vegan treats and junk foods are the calorie dense food options to be careful of. A vegan twix bar, for example, will contain high natural sugar and high fat – though none of it will be processed or would have harmed any animals in the production of ingredients.
A well-planned, prepared and balanced vegan diet is hugely beneficial for the body. A lazy vegan diet could be to the detriment of your health and well-being.
Interesting Vegan Facts:
Vegans spare the lives of approximately 30 animals each year
Being a vegan cuts your carbon footprint in half
Vegans save 1100 gallons of water each day
Vegans are less likely to die from heart disease
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