Catering in Accra

What should I do when I grow up?  Options start narrowing  if you are one of the many rural students in Ghana who don’t make it through the government exams at the end of  Secondary School (Junior High School in Canada).  The respectable choices are few, especially if you are a girl. You could  go into farming, or small scale trading, apprentice as a hair-dresser, or a seamstress, or find a job as a maid/child minder in Accra.

An outside option- because it’s relatively expensive, is to find a place at a catering school.  One girl from our town was fortunate enough to find a sponsor and do just that.  Here are some pictures of studying catering in Accra at an independent catering school.

Students provide their own uniforms.

Classroom Uniform

And have the option of living in the attached Hostel.

Hostel Dorm Room

This school presents a very tidy set-up.  The compound includes a classroom block,

Classroom Block

Here classes in English, Math, and various skills specific to catering are taught four days a week.

Part of the first year class

There is also a cooking block where each student is equipped with a sink and a propane stove for practicals.  Part of the costs of studying here include buying all your own cooking utensils and the ingredients needed for each practical cooking class.  This partly explains the ratio of four days of classes to one day of actual cooking each week.  For many students it is a challenge to find the extra ten dollars a week they need to buy the foodstuffs for their day of practical cookery.

Cooking Classroom

A entire chicken and all the ingredients for a complete meal.

And a computer class room.

Computer Room

The day begins with practical cleaning.  In this case, cutting the grass in front of the compound.

Keeping the grass down

Followed by a general assembly that includes singing the National Anthem, repeating the Twenty-third Psalm, and instructions for the day.


Those taking their practical exams today are dressed for the kitchen.

White uniforms for cooking, orange for class

The Head Mistress also met with her teaching staff for a short time of Bible Reading and Prayer before starting the school day.

Head Mistress

Staff Devotions to start the day

After assembly the students disperse to their various classes or cooking assignments.

The day these pictures were taken was the end of term exam day for a portion of the second year students.  For the exam each student was preparing and serving an entire meal.  Minestrone, roast chicken and potatoes, and a pineapple dessert. We find the students standing, everything fully prepared, complete to name tags, awaiting the arrival of the examiner.

Waiting for the examiner

All ingredients in order, and ready to cook

Also ready to serve the food once it was cooked

An establishment that seems to personify Ghanaian values of things done decently and in order and not “just any which way.”

Will studying there ensure a job?  The headmistress assured me that her graduates are sought and prized.


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