Ralph Gottschalk, Chef & Owner of SAACA
I grew up in Hanover, Germany. By the age of 7 it was pretty clear that the profession of a chef would be my chosen career path. At 15 I started an apprenticeship as a baker and confectioner, and by the age of 20 I also held a diploma as a professional chef. In the beginning I worked in the then capitol Bonn for the government as a chef, cooking for German politicians and foreign guests.

I then joined the Steigenberger Hotel in Bad Neuenahr where I worked as Entremetier for the fine dining restaurant. Here it was that I would find my love for the art of Patisserie and Baking. After running the Pastry department for over 1 year I moved to London to be a part of the opening team of The Langham Hilton hotel.

From there I joined the King Solomon Palace hotel in Eilat, Israel and was lucky enough to become part of the team on the prestigious Queen Elizabeth II Cruise Liner, traveling all over the world.

In 1991 I joined Sun International as Assistant Complex Chef for the Sun City resort, assisting in opening the Palace Hotel and The Lost City at Sun City. After 2 years I moved to Asia, Hong Kong, working for New World International as Executive Pastry Chef.

I then moved back to Sun City as Complex Executive Pastry Chef, being responsible for everything with regards to Pastry and Baking on the complex for all properties. Then followed 5 years in Asia, Myanmar and India, opening a hotel in Yangon for New World International and then working for the renowned Oberoi Group in Mumbai for The Oberoi & Towers.

I joined the world renowned hotel group Peninsula, moving to Chicago where I was the opening Executive Pastry Chef for The Peninsula Hotel Chicago, which reached 5 star and 5 diamond status in its first year of operation. The hotel was also awarded number 1 hotel in the USA and was in the top 10 hotels of the world.

Then came the opportunity to join the renowned hotel group Ritz-Carlton and I became Executive Pastry Chef at the world famous Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Hawaii, Maui, then number 3 in the world. 

From there I moved back to India, joining the luxurious TAJ Hotel group as Corporate Executive Pastry Chef for their properties in India. Then followed nearly 2 years in Seoul, South Korea, working as Executive Pastry Chef, responsible for the Grand Intercontinental & COEX Intercontinental Hotel, as well as a supermarket group belonging to the owning company.

In 2006 I arrived in Port Elizabeth, joining my wife, Cherilyn and my 2 sons. Cherilyn and I opened “The Pastryworks”. In the early days we operated a small cooking and baking school for kids, teens and adults. We started producing a few cakes, wedding cakes, etc. The rest is history.
Today The Pastryworks offers baking, culinary and cooking classes to all ages and hosts many corporate clients in our kitchen. We have been featured numerous times on national television and magazines in South Africa.

We also operate an artisan bakery and after only 2 years we have doubled our production space and have just recently opened our second outlet.

We  make occasion and wedding cakes and create sweet things as favors or for dessert buffets.

The Pastryworks is also a consultancy for hotels and restaurants in South Africa and overseas, opening hotels and holding training courses for international hotel groups and or assisting with hotel opening, facility layouts, menu designs, etc.

From 2011 I became associated with Chocolate Frey, from Switzerland, working for them as Pastry Consultant, responsible for Africa, Middle East and Asia. Chocolate Frey is also a great supporter for our school and sponsored all out latest chocolate equipment and tools as well as the famous Swiss chocolate for our students to work with.

Finally after all these years I fulfilled my lifelong dream, and in February 2013 opened SAACA – the South African Academy of Culinary Arts.
Having just returned from Brazil as Stadium Executive chef in Sao Paulo and for the final in Rio de Janeiro, our students will have the opportunity to take part in 2017 and 2018 Fifa Confederations Cup and Fifa World Cup.

I would welcome the opportunity to share my vast knowledge and passion with your daughter / son, be assured that we at SAACA will do everything in our power to make sure that she or he will be given the best culinary education possible.

We will measure our success on the success of our students.

Thank you very much for the opportunity,

Ralph Gottschalk

Curriculum Vitae
Bakery Apprenticeship in Germany with Diploma

Chef Apprenticeship in Germany with Diploma

Steigenberger Hotel, 5*, Bad Neuenahr, Germany

The Langham Hilton, 5*. London - Opening

The King Solomon Palace, 5*, Eilat, Israel - Resort Hotel, Pastry Chef

The Queen Elizabeth II, 5* Cruise Liner - Production Chef

Sun City Resort, 5*, Sun City, South Africa - Opening of Multi Unit, Assistant Complex, Pastry Chef

New World International, 5*, Hong Kong - City Business Hotel, Executive, Pastry Chef

Sun City Resort, 5*, Sun City, South Africa - Multi Unit Operation, Executive Complex, Pastry Chef

Voted best Resort in the World 1992,1993,1994

New World International, 5*, Yangoon, Myanmar - Opening, Airline Catering, Executive Pastry Chef

The Oberoi&TheOberoi Towers, 5*, Mumbai, India - City Business Hotel, Executive Pastry Chef
•           Best Business Hotel Asia 1998
•           Best Business Hotel Asia 2001

The Peninsula Hotel, 5*, Chicago, USA - Opening, City Business Hotel, Executive Pastry Chef
•           Best Opening Hotel in the USA 2001
•           Top 10 New hotels in the world 2001
•           Best Asian restaurant in Chicago 2001, 2002
•           Top ten new restaurants in the USA, 2001

Mobil Five-Star and the AAA Five-Diamond awards, 2001,2002,2003

The Ritz-Carlton Hotel, 5*, Maui, Hawaii, USA - Resort, Executive Pastry Chef
•           Top Ten Hotels in the world in Conde Nast Traveler 2003

TajMahal Hotels, Luxury Division, Mumbai, India - Multi Unit Operation, Corporate Executive Pastry Chef

Intercontinental Hotels, Seoul, South Korea - Multi Unit Operation

The Grand Intercontinental Hotel, 5*

Intercontinental Hotel Seoul,5*

LG Supermarket Bakery, Executive Pastry Chef

Own Business
The Pastryworks, Bakery, Confectionery, Occasion Cakes and Production of own line of cakes for supermarket chain, Founded 2006

SAACA, South African Academy of Culinary Arts, Professional Culinary school
Founded 2013

Consulting Experience

Consultant for Chocolate Frey, Switzerland, responsible for Africa, Middle East and Asia, conducting training seminars, workshops, exhibition demonstrations, product development and recipe development
Consultant to The Puli Hotel & Spa, Shanghai, Opening and ongoing Training
Consultant to The Moevenpick Hotel Chain , conduction Corporate confectionery & baking workshops

Les Ottoman Hotel, Istanbul, Turkey
The Intercontinental Hotel, Singapore
Executive Chef FIFA World Cup South Africa 2010, Stadium Port Elizabeth
Executive Stadium Chef FIFA World Cup Brazil 2014, Sao Paulo & Rio de Janeiro (Final)

Additional Experience
The Wilton School of Confectionary Arts, Woodridge, Illinois, United States
"Diploma" Airbrushing
"Diploma" Gum Paste
"Diploma" Sugar Pulling
"Diploma"Master Course in Artistic Cake Decorating
Artistic Pastry School, Robert Oppeneder, Munich, Germany
"Diploma" Sugar & Chocolate Showpieces
"Diploma" Dessert Creations from the 3 Star Michelin Kitchens
Artistic Sugar School, Fabilo, Rickenbach, Switzerland
"Diploma" Sugar Artistik
"Diploma" Perfection Course Sugar Artistic

Working Experience with...
Scott Webster, Owner & Chef Osia restaurant - Sydney, Australia
Ming Tsai, Owner & Chef Blue Ginger Restaurant - Boston, USA
Yves Mattagne, Chef Sea Grill Restaurant - 3 star Michelin, Brussels
Steve Szabo, Chef Versace Hotel - Australia
Alain Reix, Chef Jules Verne Restaurant - 3 star Michelin, Paris
Wolfgang Staudemeier, Owner & Chef Gianni Restaurant - 2 star Michelin, Germany
Tony Chi, Owner Tony Chi & Associates - New York, USA
Roland Gaelends, Owner & Creative Consultant - Belgium