What is a Caterer?

A Caterer is like a mobile-chef. 

They prepare, make and serve food and beverages at corporate events, weddings, private parties, film sets and any other location where food is needed. 

A Caterer is usually self-employed or works together as part of a team.

What does a Caterer do?

  • liaising with clients to design and plan a menu within a specific budget
  • working out colour schemes and table decorations
  • understanding how dishes and flavours work together
  • constantly researching recipes, creating dishes and keeping up to date with cooking trends
  • working out budgets
  • ordering supplies and hiring of any additional equipment if necessary eg chair covers
  • keeping inventories
  • storing food correctly
  • following hygienic cooking practices
  • preparing food, cooking food, decorating and serving food
  • cleaning up afterwards

Are you … ?

  • passionate about food and cooking?
  • good at communication and listening?
  • creative?
  • able to manage and direct staff?
  • a person with sharp business skills?
  • good at mathematics and working with budgets?
  • organised?
  • able to work to deadlines?
  • able to deal with stress?
  • willing to work long and unusual hours?
  • a person who pays attention to detail?

How do I become a Caterer?

Even though no training is required to become a Caterer – you could land yourself in financial trouble if you don’t study the business side of catering! 

One could start by working for an established Caterer and learning the ropes as you go, but if you want to start your own catering business it is highly recommended to gain a qualification in Hospitality or Catering from an FET College, University of Technology or Private Institutions.


Further Education and Training Colleges (FET) 

Visit the above link for FET institution near you that offer Certificate and N-Diploma courses in
Hospitality, which includes courses on Catering.
Minimum entry requirements: Grade 9 


National Diploma: Hospitality Management – Professional Cookery
Minimum entry requirements: National Senior Certificate meeting diploma entry
Required School Subjects: Mathematics or Mathematics
Recommended School Subjects: Accounting, Consumer Studies, Hospitality Studies or Tourism


National Diploma: Catering Management
Minimum entry requirements: National Senior Certificate meeting diploma entry
Required School Subjects: Mathematics or Mathematics Literacy and Accounting


  • OXBRIDGE ACADEMY: (Distance Learning)

Offers a 6 month Catering Management Certificate

  • CHEFS TRAINING AND INNOVATION ACADEMY:  (Centurion, Cape Town, Bloemfontein)

Offers the following:

Certificate in Culinary Arts  (6 months – full time or part-time)
Diploma in Culinary Arts  (18 months)

  • SA SCHOOL OF COOKERY: (Pretoria)

Offers many various Chef Certificates and diploma courses


Offers a 15 month Advanced Food & Wine Chef’s Diploma


Offers 2 and 3 year traineeships in Professional Cookery

We suggest visiting the following link, You will find more information on training opportunities in the Hospitality industry. 


OTHER CAREERS TO CONSIDER Chef, Pastry Chef or Baker

Is becoming a Caterer the right career choice for me?