Six Months in the Jabulani Kitchen | Aspiring Chef Keasha Paulsen’s Industry Placement at Jabulani

by jabulani safari blog

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At Jabulani we are lucky enough to be able to host chef students as part of their industry placements, giving them the opportunity for experiential learning.

The industry placements help aspiring chefs to get a better understanding of how the industry works. It requires them to complete a couple of on-the-job modules where they gain experience in the hot kitchen and cold kitchen, and with banqueting and ordering and receiving of stock.

This year Keasha Paulsen joined us from CTIA (Chefs Training and Innovation Academy).

Jabulani General Manager, Stefan du Toit, writes:

“The amazing thing about Keasha was how quickly she settled into the rhythm of the Jabulani kitchen. The first six months of the year have flown past and it is hard to believe the time has come for Keasha to move on to another placement.

Keasha cut her Jabulani kitchen teeth in the pastry section but quickly showed us that the hot kitchen was where she wanted to be. She was exceptional in every part of the kitchen and anybody that has been to Jabulani in the last six months will have had the pleasure of tasting one of her perfectly prepared beef fillets or venison cuts.

The Jabulani Chefs will certainly miss all the little things Keasha did for them in the kitchen, most of the time without them even asking for it. Keasha, we wish you all the best for your very bright future.”

A photo of Keasha Paulsen during her industry placement

Keasha’s notes on her journey at Jabulani

My name is Keasha Paulsen and I studied at Chefs Training and Innovation Academy (CTIA) in Stellenbosch in the Western Cape. I started my industry placement at Jabulani at the beginning of 2022. Jabulani was my first place of employment and also where I started my culinary training.

When I started my culinary training, I did not have any experience nor did I know what to expect. On my first day, I observed how the chefs did everything and realized how fast they work, which made me nervous to start in the hot kitchen. The executive chef made the decision to place me in the pastry section for my first cycle to get familiar with everything – how they do things and where everything is placed. I did well in pastry, but towards the end of my first cycle I was eager to start in the hot kitchen.

When my second cycle started, I was immediately placed in the hot section of the kitchen. It was an adjustment working so fast, as the pastry section is slower-paced, but the chefs were patient with me. I was eager to learn, and they made sure I knew how to do certain things. I learned a lot in the hot kitchen, such as learning how to cook duck, springbok loin, impala loin and kudu. I also learned a few new dishes that I had never heard of before, such as puttanesca and caprese salad. I now know how to make these as I’ve had a lot of practice during service.

Slowly towards the end of my second cycle (three weeks in) I started cooking meat products such as impala and kudu loin done medium, medium rare and medium well. I still need practice, as practice makes perfect, but I am patient as well as eager to learn more.

I also had the opportunity to do the elephant experience, where I was allowed to touch and feed them, along with taking lots of pictures. There were also a few times where I went out for the evening with other staff members, and it was nice because it gave me an opportunity to get to know them outside of the workplace.

Although it was long hours, I learnt something new every day and I am grateful for the opportunity to be able to complete a part of my industry placement at Jabulani.

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