A visit to HTA School of Culinary Art in Randburg, north-west of Joburg, is a juxtaposition of old and new. Students learn to cook using the latest equipment, crafting their culinary skills to become top chefs of the future. And yet they are surrounded by hundreds of years of history in the form of vintage, antique and pre-loved items on every wall and surface, inside and outdoors, across the premises, reminding them that once upon a time, the daily conveniences they take for granted looked quite different.
Chef, educator, businessman and HTA’s founder, Stephen Billingham, has a fascination for copper pots, pans and kettles; mincers, grinders, slicers and cutters; pepper mills; scales; tins; milk cans; signage; piping nozzles, cookie cutters, cake tins and measuring cups; cutlery, chef’s knives and lifters; and much more. In similar numbers are vintage typewriters, movie cameras, film reels, books, cupboards, ice boxes, shelves, Dutch ovens, and grape and maize presses. He even has a 1953 VW Beetle boot bonnet, which has pride of place in what was the original garage of the homestead on which the school is built, now called the Culinary Garage.