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: Chef Jackie Cameron

The industry we're in...

Jackie Cameron enjoys a pint with Justin Bonello and team / Cooked (p)

Jackie Cameron enjoys a pint with Justin Bonello and team / Cooked (p)

"Chefs may not earn buckets of cash but we know how to enjoy ourselves."

Jackie Cameron Head Chef

Jackie Cameron
Head Chef

Everyone thinks the industry in which they work is unusual or unique. I know mine is and I am reminded of this almost every day. Going into 2013 there has been a lot on my mind.

Hot on all foodies' tongues is trends for this year. Yes, there is culinary fashion, however, I'm not a follower of fashion and prefer to cook from the heart; highlighting flavours and ingredients that feel right and have a story connected to me and/or my team. Most of my new dishes are inspired by a new technique I have learnt, or by the introduction to new ingredients that usually find me through the kitchen door. The variety of produce available in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands makes this an extremely exciting yet timeconsuming undertaking.

Suppliers play a major role in this industry; if flavour is 'king' then I believe the development of relationships is 'queen'. Taking the time to meet me, chat to me and explain the product is the basis of all the relationships I have with my suppliers. When I have been buying a product for several years and another supplier offers the same product, more reasonably priced and seemingly as delicious, the only thing that keeps me buying from the original supplier is the relationship we have developed.

Relationships and friendships - most businesses are built on these two factors. Twitter and Facebook as well as all the other digital media have made it so much easier to communicate. There's a certain camaraderie linking like-minded communities - a bond that unites us. I think the empathy we feel because of long working hours and continuously missing out on important occasions marries us.

I was recently struck by the realisation that when there are chefs or hospitality people at a gathering, the party generally turns into a 'thrash'! We're like chameleons; so focused as the temperature in the kitchen rises yet you'll find a real party animal under the chef's hat. Our 'off' time being the few hours between dinner and breakfast are well spent and celebrated to capacity. The long hours we work make us appreciate our time off. It's frustrating to witness others squandering this valuable time. Chefs may not earn buckets of cash but we know how to enjoy ourselves. Savouring fine wine and sampling the country's finest produce, usually in picturesque locations, help rejuvenate, stimulate and invigorate tired minds and weary bodies. Not many industries offer relaxation in doing what you do day in and day out.

I was speaking to a professional the other day; he said he was always in awe over the sincere warmth people in the hospitality trade exuded. I said it came with the industry. He understood this practice towards paying guests, ensuring they had memorable experiences worth repeating and would therefore return. However, he never thought an outsider entering the industry as an observer would receive the same concern, interest and care. It was at this point that I realised how generous we all are. We like to share what we consider the good things in life - and we like to receive input too. No matter where I am, I appreciate charming hospitality when I dine out. The effort is always appreciated.

New Year's resolutions - have you kept to yours? I have mine ready for when I am less busy: I will go for a daily run, eat three meals a day, see my friends on a weekly basis, cook at home, attend more family functions, and I will try put everything ahead of my first love - food. I wish all you like-minded friends a happy and productive year filled with rewarding work and enthusiasm for this ever-changing, ever-evolving industry.

Extract from Chef! Issue 34

Introducing Adri Van Niekerk

Adri Van Niekerk / Leigh Willson (p)

Adri Van Niekerk / Leigh Willson (p)

"Local is Lekker"

Adri joined Hartford House in December 2012 to complete her 6 month work experience with us. She is currently studying hospitality through Central University of Technology. When asked why she wanted to work at Hartford House, this was her response:

"I was excited when I was chosen for Hartford House. The first thing that attracted me to Hartford House was its award winning kitchen and to work and train under chef Jackie Cameron. I have a passion for food and cooking, so I am looking forward to my 3 months in the kitchen."

Adri was asked what makes her new drive to work different from her previous commute to varsity in Bloemfontein?

"It's different driving to work, because there is a different level of responsibility that is expected from me with different challenges facing me daily."

When we asked Adri what her favourite dishes where, this was her response:

"Butter-poached Prawns, With 'Esposito' Ham Espuma, Exotic Mushrooms, Orange Marmalade and Beurre Blanc... the Beurre Blanc is drizzled over the plate by the manager-on-duty and this makes the guest feel apart of the experience"

 Lastly we asked Adri what we will most likely hear her say?

"I am a true supporter of 'Local is Lekker' so I am sure you will hear that from me, especially with Jackie's passion for local ingredients"

hartford house logo

For more information please visit :
www.hartford.co.za

"BA" is "A" as well as "B"

"Bloody Agreeable" / British Airways (p)

"Bloody Agreeable" / British Airways (p)

"South Africa's Top 5 Restaurants"
-British Airways

Mick Goss Summerhill CEO

Mick Goss
Summerhill CEO

I'm sure we've all heard the by-line among those customers that swear there's nothing to touch British Airways in this part of the world, that the abbreviated version actually means "bloody agreeable".

I was on my way to Cape Town the other day, when I bumped into a few old pals who were about to depart on a BA flight, in the

lift. They mentioned that they'd just picked up in the Business Class lounge on BA's selection of South Africa's Top Five restaurants. These are them, apparently in no particular order:

The Test Kitchen, Cape Town
 - Chef Luke Dale-Roberts

An eclectic establishment with a contemporary approach that is producing the most exciting cuisine in South Africa.

DW Eleven-13, Johannesburg
Chef Marthinus Ferreira

This is the most sophisticated place in Johannesburg. Don't overlook their gutsy signature dish - a slow-roast farm chicken with pomme purée.

Hartford House, KwaZulu-Natal
Chef Jackie Cameron

Located in an historic mansion at South Africa's most famous stud farm, diners sit around the original dining table and eat tartare of ostrich or poached quail. Among the top three faraway eateries in the world.

Tasting Room, Le Quartier Français, Franschhoek
Chef Margot Janse

The most stylish restaurant in Africa? Diners choose between a couple of eight-course tasting menus which feature the very best local ingredients presented in a playful manner.

Jordan, Stellenbosch
Chef George Jardine

Located on a wine estate. Straightforward authentic cuisine, with the best cheese selection in the country.

Enough said.

hartford house logo

For more information please visit :
www.hartford.co.za

Introducing Telicia Moolman

Telicia Moolman / Leigh Willson (p)

Telicia Moolman / Leigh Willson (p)

"You can't say no to Belgium chocolate."

Telicia Moolman joined the Hartford House team in December 2012 to complete her 6 month work experience as she is currently studying hospitality through Central University of Technology. When asked about how she felt on hearing the news that she was chosen to do her work experience at Hartford House, Telicia responded:

"I was excited when I was chosen for Hartford House, it was my first choice! Once I heard the news I was excited and wanted to start work as soon as possible. I think the anticipation of what was to come made the last few days of university really drag. My biggest source of excitement came from what I was going to learn not only in the restaurant but in the kitchen under Chef Jackie Cameron."

We asked Telicia was differentiated her drive to work in the KZN Midlands from her drive to varsity in Bloemfontein:

"The scenery makes the drive quick, and the excitement of no classrooms! I really enjoy the practical side, so my drives to and from work normally involve thinking about what I will learn today... and what have I learnt today!"

When asked to choose her favourite dishes at Hartford House, Telicia didn't hesitate :

"Midlands Fish and Chips, Oxtail Risotto, Chocolate Fondant (you can't say no to Belgium chocolate)... and the whole breakfast menu!"

Lastly, we asked Telicia what phrase we would most likely hear her say during her working day:

"In my short time in practical's already, I am sure you will hear me say "chuck it" quite a bit..."

hartford house logo

For more information please visit :
www.hartford.co.za

This is what Eat Out thinks...

Hartford House Restaurant / Sally Chance (p)

Hartford House Restaurant / Sally Chance (p)

"Described as a bucket list adventure, it won't disappoint."

Food:

Jackie Cameron's skills and knowledge of French classics allow her to push boundaries. This is evident in her ever-changing menu, which showcases Midlands produce and highlights her personality. Hearty English lentil tongue soup had me salivating for days. The chicken liver parfait (which was served with poached quail, Parma ham and sticky potatoes) is delicious - Asking for some more to spread over the homemade breads was so tempting. Ostrich tartar was fresh and delicate. Combinations of hot and cold on each plate accentuate the flavours just as described in the menu. The attention detail is what sets this restaurant apart. Described as a bucket list adventure, it won't disappoint.

Wine:

The offering is designed for food and wine  enthusiasts. You will find gems and a collection of older vintages - some

of the best South Africa has to offer. The food and wine pairings  are well thought out.

Service:

Attentive, humble and genuine.

Ambience:

This iconic KwaZulu-Natal property is  steeped in history and culture, and you can enjoy some spectacular South  African art. Its colonial charm is breathtaking, and the combination of  old and new is very sophisticated.

And...:

Do stay over. Breakfast is even better than dinner (if it's possible).
www.eatout.co.za

For further queries, contact Emma on 033 263 2713 or reception@hartford.co.za

hartford house logo

IN CONVERSATION WITH JACKIE CAMERON

Chef Jackie Cameron / Independent Newspapers (p)

Chef Jackie Cameron / Independent Newspapers (p)

"WonderWomen"
By Tarryn Gill

PLAY (Independent Newspapers) introduces the WonderWomen series, a much-needed celebration of amazing, inspirational South African women we encounter daily. These are women who glow with tenacity, spirit and energy and who achieve often against all odds and in tough male-dominated environments. The May issue feature's Hartford House Head Chef, Jackie Cameron :

The attractive 29-

year-old blonde with the bold voice and twinkly earrings is not what I am expecting. I'm immediately taken aback at her confidence, she's certain but not overwhelming. I like her and I can't stop thinking about what she's whipping up for lunch. She has been described as a gastronomical memory maker, winning countless awards and voted by SA Tourism as one of the Top 10 Young South African Chefs. I just know that whatever lunch is, it's going to be good.

I'd like to undo the damage done to the f-word and ask you straight up. Are you a feminist?

I am a woman in a male-dominated industry - kitchens have become a man's world. But in it, I wear my earrings, do my hair, I have even designed a new range of chef jackets. I work damn hard, I get it done. At the same time I enjoy looking good, that makes me feel good, and yes, that's me being a feminist.

What's a day in the life of Jackie Cameron like?

Dominated by food! I run the front and the back of Hartford House's five-star restaurant, I'm finishing off my new recipe book, I'm designing a new range of chef jackets, I handle all the media requests that come in, and of course, not a plate leaves my kitchen that isn't checked by me.

Like most women, it sounds like you're mastering the art of multi-tasking. How do you find the creative energy to stay ahead of the pack?

I have no free time, but I do make time to spend with my family and I do set aside hours where I can be creative. In my game, you have to. I travel globally, as much as I can, keep up my research and I am lucky enough to have great guides like Anna Trapido, Victor Strugo and Margot Janse who are all very supportive.

So you believe in mentorship?

Yes. One of the aspects I love most about my work is the training. No award can compare to the reward you get from witnessing the growth of another person. In my kitchen, compassion is important, it's an all-women kitchen and I don't want anyone to fail so I spend time training my team. As a woman chef... I have kitchen rules : Rule #1: No one comes into the kitchen angry or stressing about an issue. We speak upfront, get it out of the way, then we work. Rule#2 : If there are any errors during service, we tackle it after service, not during, and we tackle it constructively.

So you don't do a Gordon then?

No, I definitely do not do Gordon. There's no screaming, shouting or swearing in my kitchen. That's not the way I was brought up. Some of my team members are ex-farm workers, some can't speak English very well, and most of them are mothers. I can't do that to them. Their work is invaluable to me and to Hartford House.

The talent, the hard work, the flair, the chic. I like the whole package, the way you own your femininity and strength, all at the same time and in a difficult male-dominated field.

Thank you, my femininity is empowering.

What's the one thing you want to say to young aspiring women wanting to go this route?

Think long and hard. Don't do it for the wrong reasons, it's no quick walk to fame. Start by researching all the options: chef, food writer or photographer, even catering. Make the decision that's best suited to you and have passion.

What are you doing tonight?

Cooking for a charity initiative called Food for Thought that assists street kids in Durban.

How's your love life out there in the beautifully dreamy KZN Midlands?

What love life? I am very single at the moment and enjoying it very much, thank you.

If you want to sample Jackie's fabulous cuisine, go to www.hartford.co.za or sample her pizza creation at your nearest Col'Cacchio pizzeria, the Carpe Funghi which contains mozzarella, caramelised onion, oven-roasted mushrooms, roasted gadic and Italian Parmesan, topped with thinly sliced beef Carpaccio, truffle mayonnaise and fresh dill. R5 from every pizza sold goes to Children's Hospital Trust.

Extract from PLAY