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.

IT'S A CHEF'S LIFE WITH JACKIE CAMERON

Jackie Cameron reveals her Carpe Funghi Signature Pizza / Durban News (p)

Jackie Cameron reveals her Carpe Funghi Signature Pizza / Durban News (p)

Col'Cacchio Celebrity Chef Series
The Mercury - Food and Wine

Jackie Cameron, pictured  above, head chef at Hartford House in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands, has  designed a signature pizza as part of the Col'Cacchio Celebrity Chef  Series 2012. It's on the menu at Col'Cacchio until the end of May and  proceeds go to the Children's Hospital Trust.

Biggest achievement:

Well, this is difficult, as I have so many different foodie fields that make up my complete obsession for all things food. I would probably say being the head chef at Hartford at the age of 20, as this has allowed me to grow and strive for everything else that I have accomplished over the past nine years.

Biggest mistake:

Many years back I judged, after making this chocolate mousse cake, the recipe  for which I still use today, incorrectly what was and wasn't humanly  possible and let us just say the wedding cake was a complete disaster...  literally a flop! This still haunts me and since then I have become  even more pedantic on the finer details than ever before.

Never:

Ever garnish with curly parsley, or garnish the side rims of your  plates with chopped, mixed herbs or some sort of masala. A no no!

Always:

Be on time, be honest, be true to what you are cooking.

I love cooking with:

This depends on my mood... loads of fresh herbs,  tomatoes and cheese. And give me fresh fish over anything, any day!

Best advice:

Never trust a skinny chef... jokes, keep things simple, always highlighting the main ingredient. Never overcomplicate.

Favourite restaurants:

I have so many for different reasons. Locally  probably Le Quatier Francais as I am amazed by Margot and her team. They  strive for perfection in every sense. Internationally, I was blown away  by El Bulli and their unbelievable, detailed service - they researched  every guest who entered their restaurant - mind blowing! Obviously  together with Ferran Adria's amazing food combinations.

Favourite tipple:

Bubbles through and through! Love the texture on my  tongue and the flavour in my mouth.

My favourite comfort food is:

A big bowl of homemade soup with lots of  homemade white bread and lashings of butter. Takes me back to winter  school holidays when I use to spend most of my holidays at my  grandparents' house. Memories of warmth and full days of cooking, where  my obsession for food was rooted.

My dream meal - what, where and with whom:

My dream meal would be not  eating and enjoying, but cooking for Oprah Winfrey, Nelson Mandela and  Georges Auguste Escoffier... Thomas Kellar, Ferran Adria - and why not include  Brad Pitt and George Clooney, together with friends and family I can  continue with my list...

Where:

On Summerhill Stud Farm in the Midlands on a beautiful summer's afternoon  in one of the paddocks, surrounded by all the nation's best horses.  Sitting on hay bales and serving the finest local produce in a relaxed  environment, lots of bubbles and an aflernoon-evening filled with extremely interesting conversation.

If I wasn't a chef, I would love to be:

For a few months I tossed with  the idea of being a pilot. l am clearly a sucker for punishment - both  having crazy work hours. But, to be honest, I wouldn't change the  industry I am in for any other.

Extract from The Mercury - Food and Wine