The Apprentice

Over the years we have sought to nurture individuals who demonstrate passion, creativity and a sense of quality. We encourage a sincere desire to develop personally and professionally. Our young, dedicated team hail from varied backgrounds and all bring unique skills and personality to the table. We offer a thorough training in technique and teach the values of team effort, respect and humanity. We are proud to have offered an inspiring start to the careers of some of the young bakers and chefs who are now setting the pace and breaking ground in South Africa cusine.

The word “apprentice” has roots in the Latin “apprehendere” – understanding. Apprenticeships are recorded as far back as the Middle Ages when Master Craftsmen would provide young people with lodging, food, and formal training in exchange for their labour. Such contracts would usually exist for seven years, the apprentice aspiring to become a Master themselves on completion of this period.

We asked île de païn pastry intern Elizabeth Botha to share her experiences and aspirations.

Q: What is your interest and experience in pastry?

A: I had no previous education or experience in the food industry prior to my apprenticeship at îdp. I only found out last year that pastry was something I’d potentially want to pursue as a career even though I have always loved baking and reading any recipe books/magazines I could get my hands on.

Q: How did you join the île de païn internship program?

A: I had heard of people doing internships here before but never thought they would be open to taking a complete novice. I made contact with a request to come learn from them for a few months. This ended up turning into a 15-month apprenticeship program, which started in August last year.

Q: What is it about pastry that fascinates you?

A: I am fascinated by how the smallest changes in ingredients and methodology can have such an effect on the final product. It’s wonderful to think that the simple rules that govern pastry can be learnt and applied in different bakes to create new things. The delicate details and precision, the endless flavour combinations and the anticipation of tasting something new and really yummy is what has excited me the most about being in the pastry kitchen.

Q: Describe a normal day as a pastry intern.

A: My day starts at 7am, walking through the bakery, seeing the bakers rolling and shaping their breads then heading to pastry and saying good morning to smiling faces along the way. At this time, Jade will be sheeting/shaping croissants and Brad is busy finishing off tarts, cakes etc. for retail. I jump in and give Brad a hand every morning till 8 and then start my personal tasks. These change daily and often involve getting my arm elbow deep in cake batter! By 3pm, either Clive or I will pull out croissants for the next day and by 4 we should be on our way home.

Q: How do you feel this internship is developing your skills and why?

A: I have learnt so much at île de païn – more than I could have imagined. Important mindsets to have, tricks and rules that are important to understand for specific pastries. It’s developed my time management skills, learning to plan the day properly. It’s also given me a certain boldness to try new things, even at home, that I’ve thought would be too complicated or too much effort. The things I’ve been taught I’ve found are stretching past the kitchen and are becoming a part of how I do everyday life.

Q: What are you hoping to achieve from the internship?

A: I want to learn as much as I can, taking in every piece of information that years of experience and trial & error have taught my colleagues.

Q: How does the île de païn internship stand out for you?

A: It has been wonderful to work with the best and most beautiful ingredients, learning to use them with respect and limiting waste as much as possible. To learn from people with so much knowledge and experience has been inspiring. They make you feel as if there are no limits. You also just can’t replace the friendly smiles you get from your colleagues and the family environment that’s been created by them.

We are always happy to hear from sincere and motivated individuals with a burning desire to join the îdp family. If you are interested in an apprenticeship in service or retail, as a barista or in our kitchen, pâtisserie or bakery, please send us a 2-page CV to or complete the form on our website.




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