Hartford House

The Home of Good Conversation, Fine Wine and Classic Horses.

Award-winning hotel and restaurant situated at Summerhill Stud on the picturesque KwaZulu-Natal Midlands Meander, South Africa.


Hartford House Head Chef, Jackie Cameron / Cooked in Africa (p)

Hartford House Head Chef, Jackie Cameron / Cooked in Africa (p)

Sunday 20th November 2011

Nominees for the Eat Out DStv Food Network Restaurant Awards have been announced and KZN has just one entry in the running...

Hartford House in the Mooi River area is among 20 nominees on the list from which the Restaurant of the Year, Chef of the Year, Service Excellence Award as well as the Top 10 Restaurants will be chosen.

The awards are judged by Eat

Out Editor Abigail Donnelly. The criteria are stringent and assisting Donnelly in the compilation of the shortlist was Eat Out's national panel of over 30 professional restaurant reviewers as well as consumer reviews received on www.eatout.co.za.

Winners will be announced at the awards ceremony in Cape Town on 20 November.

ECR's Anisa Ussuph caught up with Hartford House head chef, Jackie Cameron...

Jackie, what an honour! You must be over the moon...?!

It is always wonderful for my team and I to be acknowledged for the hard work we put in daily to maintain and continuously uplift standards.

Now, Cape Town is widely regarded as the culinary capital of SA as many of the award-winning restaurants are based there. It's fab to have Hartford House representing KZN. It's the only establishment to represent the east coast - why do you think that is?

I have been lucky enough to have eaten at and experienced many international kitchens over the years and have always brought back ideas of upliftment. A large percentage of our guests are international and they know a lot about food and wine and eat in the top restaurants on a daily/weekly basis. And so they expect nothing less when dinning at Hartford. The staff at Hartford is truly special and adds to the ambiance and entire experience. I know I would not be where I am today if it was not for the entire team. Every guest is treated like royalty and leaves a friend.

What makes Hartford House so special?

On the food side of things... it doesn't matter if you have a scone, sandwich or a five course dinner - all is an experience and foodie delight. As mentioned before, the staff are exceptional; professional without the pompousness. Hartford is truly a wonderful place in all aspects; from being situated on the stunning Summerhill Stud Farm to the warm Zulu hospitality, ambience, fine wine and food... all makes for a magnificent time.

Jackie, as the main chef at Hartford House, what do you think your "recipe" for success is...

Working extremely closely with my team, never shifting on standards, always uplifting and training myself and those around me and leading by example in every aspect of my life.

How do you define good food?

A meal cooked with love and presented with care which has been made with the best available in-season ingredients possible. A good meal can be my mother's roast chicken or a fine dining tasting menu - both have their place and are enjoyed just as much depending where one is.

And Jackie, we saved the strange question for the last: reality shows focusing on restaurants are all over the place. Is the real thing as frenetic and stressful behind-the-scenes as depicted on TV?

Indeed it can be. No one will, or could ever, understand the pressures or extremity of it all if never having worked in a restaurant. We try absolutely everything to ensure this is never the case at Hartford. I don't think any guest should pay their hard earned money on a meal that is not up to standard because a kitchen team is not well prepared. Not being organized and prepared is normally the reason for most of the kitchen stress that occurs. A good chef is a prepared chef and this is so true for everything in this high-paced industry where deadlines are hourly not weekly or monthly.

Extract from www.ecr.co.za