We are very proud of our training achievements, as many of our past students have become leaders in the industry themselves, both locally as well as internationally. We credit our success on the individual and personal hands-on training that our team delivers. Our staff have a wealth of experience both professionally as well as academically, which makes for an exceptionally strong team lead by Principal Francois Ferreira.

Chef Francois Ferreira

Chef Francois Ferreira


As Principal of the Francois Ferreira Academy, Bailli Délégué, Honoraire of Bailliage National d’ Afrique du Sud, a member of South African Chefs Association, the Academy of Chefs, and the South African Brandy Guild, a published author of award-winning books and well-loved TV and Radio personality. Chef Francois started his hospitality journey in 1979 when he joined the South African Air Force, as a permanent force member. In 1982 he was appointed as Lecturer at the Air Force Cookery School in Valhalla, specialising in cookery, gastronomic history, etiquette and protocol, function planning and more, it is here where he won the “SA Air Force Chef of the Year” for two consecutive years. He started working on an ad hoc basis for the household of the Prime Minister PW Botha in 1983. In 1988 he was transferred to State President’s Office and appointed Head of the Household Administrator-General of SWA/Namibia.

In 1992 he joined the household of President FW De Klerk firstly as Household Manager and then Comptroller of the Household, a position he held until the inauguration of President Nelson Mandela in 1994. After working as Head Chef at a few restaurants in Pretoria, and being well-known in the hospitality industry, he was a consultant for various restaurants and lodges in Cape Town and Namibia. He then found his passion for teaching and training, and in 2000-2003 he was appointed the Head of Hotel and Restaurant Services, at South Cape College in Oudtshoorn.

Chef Francois decided to start a new adventure and share all his knowledge and wisdom by opening a Culinary Art School in the heart of George in 2004. His experience, knowledge and love of the industry combined with his convivial and extrovert personality, is guaranteed to add incredible value and a first-hand perspective to the François Ferreira Academy.

Chef Catherine Eybers

Campus Manager

Catherine Eybers has recently joined our team as our new Campus Manager. Catherine is a qualified chef, and alumnus of the Francois Ferreira Academy.

This culinary rockstar has extensive experience in just about every aspect of the hospitality and culinary field, including the FMCG field as communication and brand manager as well as in the field of entertainment where she was the culinary head of department for 5 seasons of, among others, Kyknet productions, like Kokkedoor, Koekedoor and Kokkedoortjie. Catherine has also been a business partner and restaurant owner in Barrydale and Food & Beverage manager consultant for The Karoo Art Hotel. Her last stint was as culinary producer for M-Net hit series ‘My Kitchen Rules South Africa’ for 3 seasons.

Chef Cheri-Lynn Speelman

Chef Cheri-Lynn Speelman

Senior Lecturer

In 2014, Chef Cheri-Lynn enrolled on the Cater Care programme at the Francois Ferreira Academy, which was sponsored by the Garden Route District Municipality. She qualified at the top of her class, and was awarded an internship and bursary from the FFA, where she obtained her Diploma in Food Preparation and Cooking as well as an Advanced Diploma in Patisserie with distinctions. After qualifying, she was employed as a lecturer at the FFA, and was promoted to Senior Lecturer in 2019. A remarkable journey!


Kitchen Manager

With 11 years in the hospitality industry, Jean-Mari Basson completed her studies at Warwick’s Chef School in 2011, and started off her career as a commi chef at Fancourt. She then went on to gain experience in the hospital industry, cooking for people with special diets and needs. From 2013 to 2017, Jean-Mari worked at Akeso, a psychiatric hospital for teens, where she was not just a chef but a mentor too. She then joined the large catering company, Feedem, as a catering manager, responsible for menus, staff training, daily costing and many more. In January 2020, Jean-Mari was hired as the Kitchen Manager at the Francois Ferreira Academy and she’s been loving it ever since!

Chef Gregory Cooper


Chef Gregory Cooper set out on his hospitality journey back in 2009 at the South Cape College in Oudtshoorn. Once qualified, he honed his pastry skills working at the Fancourt Hotel Estate, The Plettenburg Hotel, as well as the Protea Hotel King George. He broadened his culinary horizons as a Deli Supervisor at Food Lover’s Market at the Garden Route Mall, and a Junior Sous Chef at the Augusta Grill & Patisserie. His extensive knowledge and experience in the hospitality industry serves him well as a Lecturer at the François Ferreira Academy, teaching and guiding students on their own journey of creating culinary magic!