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.

Filtering by Tag: Abigail Donnelly

Eat Out Top Ten

Hartford House Restaurant / Sally Chance (p)

Hartford House Restaurant / Sally Chance (p)

Eat Out DSTV Food Network Restaurant Awards
25 November 2012

When we last checked the stats, there were more than 70,000 restaurants or eateries in South Africa. That was six years ago, and there are probably many more today, which makes the food business just about the most populous sector in the economy. If you look at the biggest contributors to the Gross Domestic Product, there are not that many mines, it's doubtful there are that many banks, it's unlikely there are more farmers, there certainly aren't that many car hire companies, and there are many more restaurants than there are hotels.

That means the food game is as competitive, if not more so, than any other sector of the economy, though the title of "best restaurant" is always going to be a subjective issue. Yet there are a few names and places that pop up consistently year after year, and when they do so in a number of competitions adjudicated upon by different judges, then you know that the acclaim is pretty much universal.

The point of all this is that last night in Cape Town, Hartford House once again made the nation's "Top Ten" at the Eat Out awards, the only restaurant in KZN to do so, and the only one to have made the finals in each of the past six years. Head Chef Jackie Cameron turned 30 on Saturday, which means that besides being voted South Africa's best restaurant in the Visa/House & Leisure awards in both 2010 and 2011, and Eat Out's most popular restaurant in the latter year, as a personal milestone, Jackie's been occupying the place of a finalist since she was 24, which in itself was a record.

She'll be the first to admit though, that these accolades come courtesy of a team effort, and she'll point immediately to her long-serving (and long- suffering!) assistant Elaine Boshoff, to a great back-up team in the kitchen, to a marvellously hospitable crew in the front of the house, and to an ambiance and atmosphere that belongs only to an historic property like Hartford and its award-winning gardens. We do need to acknowledge though, that our location puts Hartford at something of a disadvantage. We're ten kilometres outside a dusty little dorp in the KZN Midlands, at the forgotten end of what the civilizations to the North of us have often referred to as the darkest continent. We do not see anything like the traffic that traverses the winelands and the environs of Table Mountain, nor for that matter, the populations of the greater Johannesburg, Pretoria or Durban areas, which makes this award all the more commendable. That there are just two restaurants outside of the Western Cape in the "Top Ten", illustrates just how deep the culinary waters are in that part of the world, and equally, how good you have to be to be counted in their illustrious company.

In all of this, we need to pay our respects to those who've guided our team over the years in arriving at this day. Fundis like Victor Strugo, Anne Stevens, Eat Out's Abigail Donnelly, Derek Taylor, Anna Trapido, Paula Mackenzie and the late Lannice Snyman, among critics of the printed media, Justin Bonello of BBC Food's "Cooked In Africa", Masterchef's Pete Goffe-Wood and members of organisations such as Chaine des Rotisseurs have all been inspirations, and let's not forget the encouragement and the acclaim of our guests. Customers are the lifeblood of our business, and their appreciation of the Hartford food experience has not only nurtured the creative spirit in our kitchen, but it's reminded the team that sets the tables and carries the plates that in Africa, by contrast with many other places in the world, it remains an honour to serve.

"It has been a dazzling year of fun dining," said Eat Out editor and judge, Abigail Donnelly. "I have seen local chefs prepare astonishing, world-class food, and the top restaurants in South Africa have shown tremendous talent, continuing to push the boundaries in terms of creativity, confidence and full-on  flavour." International judge Bruce Palling was similarly impressed by the standard of cuisine on offer in this country. The UK-based food columnist, who writes for the Wall Street Journal Europe and is on the judging panel of the World's 50 Best Restaurants, praised the range and dedication of South Africa's leading chefs. "Some of the chefs would rank in my personal top twenty anywhere in the world."

Top 10 Restaurants

THE TEST KITCHEN BY LUKE DALE-ROBERTS
Cape Town - Western Cape

TASTING ROOM AT LE QUARTIER FRANCAIS
Franschhoek - Western Cape

JORDAN RESTAURANT
Stellenbosch - Western Cape

OVERTURE
Stellenbosch - Western Cape

RUST EN VREDE RESTAURANT
Stellenbosch - Western Cape

DW ELEVEN-13
Johannesburg - Gauteng

LA COLOMBE
Cape Town - Western Cape

THE GREENHOUSE
Cape Town - Western Cape

TERROIR
Stellenbosch - Western Cape

HARTFORD HOUSE
Mooi River - KwaZulu-Natal

Other Awards

Restaurant of the Year
The Test Kitchen

Chef of the Year
Margot Janse of The Tasting Room

Service Excellence Award
Rust en Vrede

The Lannice Snyman Lifetime Achievement Award brought to you by Paarl Media
Alicia Wilkinson of Silwood School of Cookery

Best Bistro
9th Avenue Bistro

Best Steakhouse
Carne SA

Best Country-style Restaurant
Fresh at Paul Cluver Wine Estate

Best Asian Restaurant
Saigon (Gardens)

Best Italian Restaurant
Café del Sol

Boschendal Style Award in association with Visi
Green House at Babylonstoren

For more information visit :
www.eatout.co.za

EVERY FOODIE'S ULTIMATE GREEN SHOPPING GUIDE

Eat In 2012

Where to find farmers markets, organic vegetables, sustainable seafood, free-range beef, artisan beers & more... plus the Eat In DStv Food Network Produce Awards winners with judges Anelde Greeff, Anna Trapido, Abigail Donnelly, Pete Goffe-Wood, Jackie Cameron and Deon Van Wyk.

For more information please visit :
www.eat-in.co.za

KZN EXCELS AT EAT IN DSTV FOOD NETWORK PRODUCE AWARDS

Croft Farm Chicken wins the Organic / Free Range category

Croft Farm Chicken wins the Organic / Free Range category

Eat In DStv Food Network Produce Awards
2012 

Three cheers for KwaZulu-Natal for its four awards at the 2012 Eat In DStv Food Network Produce Awards announced in Stellenbosch at the end of March.

The awards acknowledge and celebrate outstanding, independent South African producers, food markets and outlets for their innovation, passion, integrity and care for the environment.

With 15 categories, from Best New Product to

Best Market, nominees were judged by Anelde Greeff, Anna Trapido, Abigail Donnelly, Pete Goffe-Wood, Deon van Wyk and Hartford's own executive chef, Jackie Cameron. They were judged on a set of criteria per category but overall aspects such as taste, appearance, aroma, innovation and care for the environment were taken into account.

Eat In editor Greeff said : "This year we were amazed once again at the talent that South Africa's small producers have to offer. The judges were inundated with excellent produce and beautiful behind-the-scenes stories from across the country but it was the passion, innovation and exceptional taste of the 18 winners that really stood out."

Taking the prize for Best Food Market in KZN for the third time was The Food Market at the Hellenic Club in Durban North.

The brainchild of food gurus and Eat Greek Catering owners Nick Papadopoulos and Eric Edwards, the market was established to promote the many producers of food and drink in KZN. It takes place on the last Saturday of every month.

In the farm stall category, Piggly Wiggly Country Village was KZN's winner. The humble stall situated on the Highgate Wine Estate in Lion's River has developed into a premier eat-shop-play destination.

Winning in the organic / free range category was Croft Farm Chickens, a small farm in the lush Dargle Valley. The chickens are grain fed, free of growth promoters and reared in a low-density, free range environment.You can find their products at Piggly Wiggly, Greenfields Deli (Nottingham Road) and the Karkloof Farmers Market every Saturday morning.

The winner in the small produce / paddock category was Dargle Duck.

Extract from The Mercury Good Life

EATING IN, DEFINED BY EAT OUT

Head Chef Jackie Cameron / Cooked in Africa

Head Chef Jackie Cameron / Cooked in Africa

"Small Producers / Suppliers to the Culinary Trade"

Turn up at the front gates to Summerhill Stud, home of Hartford House, on any given day, at 12 noon and a little beyond, and you'll see them; a stream of gleaming SUV's and smart cars, all headed for one of the nation's top eateries. They know their stuff, and they know it doesn't get much better. She's regularly in the news these days, but she takes nothing for granted. Every moment of recognition in a competitive world, is graciously acknowledged. Head Chef, Jackie Cameron, has been recognised once again by the publishers of Eat Out magazine. Their associate publication is Eat In (as most "foodies" know) and of all the experts in the nation, Jackie has been invited to join a panel of just four to assess the nation's premier small producers / suppliers to the culinary trade. To illustrate the extent of the compliment, she sits alongside revered critics Anelde Greef, (Content Director of Eat In) Abigail Donnelly, Anna Trapido and Pete Goffe-Wood, quite a team, and she's the youngest by half! (forgive the observation, guys!)

Judging takes place in Cape Town on the 19th and 20th January, so watch out for the outcomes in Eat In's 2012 edition, particularly if you're keen to know the tricks of the trade, and where the country's leading kitchens get their secret ingredients from.

www.eatout.co.za

HARTFORD HOUSE RESTAURANT FEATURED ON ECR

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

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

EAT OUT DSTV FOOD NETWORK RESTAURANT AWARDS
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

EAT OUT RESTAURANT AWARDS IS WHAT IT'S ALL ABOUT

Eat Out Restaurant Awards 2011

EAT OUT DSTV FOOD NETWORK RESTAURANT AWARDS
Sunday 20th November 2011

The hallmark of greatness, is consistency. There's an old saying in the horse business that "form is temporary, class is permanent", and it's the same in the culinary world. Good chefs may fluke the odd good dish, but great chefs aspire consistently to greatness. In the context of a girl who is yet to strike her 30th year, for her restaurant to be inclu

ded among the finalists for the national Eat Out culinary awards five years in a row, is the best class indicator we know.

Head Chef, Jackie Cameron, who quite remarkably in a world where "musical chairs" is more the norm in staff turnovers than the standard, now in her 9th year at Hartford House, has just received formal notification from the organisers of the "Top Ten" restaurants in the nation, that they're included in the finals once again. The gala function marking the announcement of the top ten takes place in Cape Town on the 20th November.

To quote convenor, Abigail Donnelly "it has been a privilege and a humbling experience to have eaten such beautiful food this year, and it's certainly a huge achievement to have been included on this list".

The nominees are listed below. It's hot as hell in the Western Cape kitchen, where all but three countrywide are based. Notably, Hartford remains the only KZN-based restaurant on the list of finalists.

RESTAURANT AWARDS NOMINEES

AZURE
Cape Town

BABEL
Simondium

BOSMAN'S RESTAURANT
Paarl

DW ELEVEN-13
Johannesburg

THE RESTAURANT AT GRANDE PROVENCE
Franschhoek

THE GREENHOUSE
Cape Town

HARTFORD HOUSE
Mooi River

JORDAN RESTAURANT
Stellenbosch

LA COLOMBE
Cape Town

RESTAURANT MOSAIC AT ORIENT
Pretoria

NOBU
Cape Town

OVERTURE
Stellenbosch

PIERNEEF A LA MOTTE
Franschhoek

THE PLANET RESTAURANT
Cape Town

ROOTS
Krugersdorp

THE ROUNDHOUSE
Cape Town

TASTING ROOM AT LE QUARTIER FRANCAIS
Franschhoek

TERROIR
Stellenbosch

THE TEST KITCHEN BY LUKE DALE-ROBERTS
Cape Town

TOKARA
Stellenbosch

For more information visit :
www.eatout.co.za

Prudential Eat Out Restaurant Awards this Sunday

Jackie Cameron / Patrick Royal (p)

Jackie Cameron / Patrick Royal (p)

The Westin Grand Cape Town Arabella Quays Hotel will this Sunday play host to the Prudential Eat OutRestaurant Awards,the Oscars of the South African restaurant industry. South Africa's top restaurants will be celebrated and tribute paid to the Nation's finest chef's.

Hartford House is one of the 20 nominees for the 'Oscars of Cuisine' and Executive Chef Jackie Cameron and her team are delighted to be amongst the finalists.

Eat Out editor Abigail Donnelly, together with funnyman Marc Lottering, will announce the Prudential Eat Out Top 10 Restaurants, as well as the Eat Out Chef of the Year and Restaurant of the Year.

Restaurant lovers are invited to read about the event and nominated restaurants, as well as to predict the Top 10 Restaurants on www.eatout.co.za.

The 20 nominated restaurants in the 2008 Prudential Eat Out Restaurant Awards are:

9th Avenue Bistro (Durban) - Carly Goncalves
Aubergine (Cape Town) - Harald Bresselschmidt
Bizerca (Cape Town) - Laurent Deslandes
Bread and Wine (Franschhoek) - Neil Jewel
Food Barn (Cape Town) - Franck Dangereux
Hartford House (Mooi River, KZN) - Jackie Cameron
Jardine (Cape Town) - George Jardine
La Colombe at Constantia Uitsig (Cape Town) - Luke Dale-Roberts
Linger Longer (Johannesburg) - Walter Ulz
Mosaic Restaurant (Elandsfontein, Pretoria) - Chantel Dartnall
Myoga (Cape Town) - Mike Bassett
Overture (Stellenbosch) - Bertus Basson
Reubens (Franschhoek) - Reuben Riffel
Roots at the Forum Homini Boutique Hotel (Johannesburg) - Philippe Wagenfuhrer
Rust en Vrede (Stellenbosch) - David Higgs
Saxon (Johannesburg) - Rudi Liebenberg
Showroom (Cape Town) - Bruce Robertson
Tasting Room at Le Quartier Francais (Franschhoek) - Margot Janse
Terroir (Stellenbosch) - Michael Broughton
Zachary’s at the Pezula Resort Hotel & Spa (Knysna) - Geoffrey Murray