Hartford House is proud to announce the appointment of Matthew Ambruster, who at 25 is already toting the CV of a master of his profession, as Head Chef.Read More
Filtering by Tag: Chefs in South Africa
I (Constantijn Hahndiek) would love to cook for someone like Anthony Bourdain. We try to tell a story with our food at Hartford House and in the culinary world he’s one of the best storytellers.Read More
Born and raised in Cape Town, the city that boasts the hierarchy of top ten restaurants, Constantijn Hahndiek now finds himself nestled in what must be one of Earth's most beautiful valleys, here at Hartford House. His mother was his first motivator for cooking good food. "My mother was an excellent home cook and she taught me to do the basics really well."Read More
My idea of Christmas, whether old-fashioned or modern, is very simple; lazy family lunches with delicious food, a bottle of wine, maybe two, and enjoying happy times with the people closest to me.Read More
Col'Cacchio Celebrity Chef Series
Hartford House head chef, Jackie Cameron's signature pizza, Carpe Funghi, is taking the Col'Cacchio Celebrity Chef Series 2012 by storm.
Latest figures for chef Cameron's pizza creation which contains mozzarella, caramelised onion, oven-roasted mushrooms, roasted gadic and Italian Parmesan, topped with thinly sliced beef Carpaccio, truffle mayonnaise and fresh dill, show record sales at Col'Cacchio pizzerias through South Africa. In fact, the figure is now double the previous highest selling Celebrity Chef Series pizza.
With R5 from every Carpe Funghi pizza sold going to the Children's Hospital Trust, the 10,377 pizzas sold to date have generated a staggering R50,000 in income for the Trust.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
Never trust a skinny chef... jokes, keep things simple, always highlighting the main ingredient. Never overcomplicate.
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.
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...
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
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
THE RESTAURANT AT GRANDE PROVENCE
RESTAURANT MOSAIC AT ORIENT
PIERNEEF A LA MOTTE
THE PLANET RESTAURANT
TASTING ROOM AT LE QUARTIER FRANCAIS
THE TEST KITCHEN BY LUKE DALE-ROBERTS
For more information visit :
Jackie Cameron, Zandile Mchunu, Deli Nene, Zinthle Majola and the Hartford House Kitchen Team
(Photo : Cooked in Africa)
Jackie Cameron has racked up more accolades in the past few years than A.P. Arrow earned in the way of Voyager Miles as a racehorse, and they still keep pouring in. The latest came from one of the country's most revered critics, Anne Stevens, and it couldn't have been more complimentary. This time though, it wasn't only about food, but about Jackie's educational capabilities and her championing the cause of our disadvantaged community.
The kitchen at Hartford House near Mooi River is not all about five-star luxury. It's an inspirational setting that has transformed the lives of three women beyond their dreams.
And the person they have to thank the most is Jackie Cameron, the country house's executive chef and their mentor.
Zandile Mchunu, Deli Nene and Zinthle Majola have become valuable assets to a young woman who is widely regarded as one of the top in her field in South Africa, preparing innovative and exciting food that crosses boundaries.
Jackie, still in her late 20's, has risen to the top of her profession like, well, cream on milk.
Her credo is simple : "Be honest and true in everything you do, cook with love and your food will love you in return."
Hartford's kitchen team is made up of women, but, as Jackie says, this was purely by chance - other than that women are happier living in the country than male chefs who crave the bright lights.
Chef de partie Zandile: "My earliest memories are of making mieliepap with my mother. I loved those special occasions when she made curry and rice. I was always fascinated by how food can emphasise happy or sad moments in the life of a family."
She started work in the scullery at Hartford, but Jackie noticed how much she enjoyed cooking and she has risen through the ranks.
Last year Zandile attended the South African Food and Wine week at the World Expo in Shanghai with Jackie.
"Our cooking adventure started with a desperate cry: 'Chef, I have broken my arm.'" says Jackie. "We had been in Shanghai for exactly an hour and there was Zandile with a fractured wrist. But the one-armed chef did a remarkable job. Her perseverance was admirable and a lesson in commitment. Our traditional samp and beans, pap 'n vleis, bobotie and Durban bunny chow featured on the menu we had created. They went down well, and we were proudly South African."
Deli is a third-generation member of the Mooi River community, starting work in 1995 as a hand in the horse division at Summerhill Stud farm, which, like Hartford, is owned by the Goss family.
She then worked as a domestic for 10 years, but her love of food eventually took centre stage.
"I grew up cooking with my mom and I always enjoyed it. I knew from a young age that I wanted to be a chef or cook, but didn't have the money to study. This was why I started working on the farm. As a domestic I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to do a quick cooking course. This fuelled my wish to work in the Hartford kitchen. So I decided to see if I could get a temporary job in Jackie's kitchen on my weekends off. Bit by bit I worked my way in. This was my long-term plan. It took 10 years to finally get a permanent job at Hartford."
"Her culinary talent, leadership, ability, teaching skills and enthusiasm have been inspiring to watch. She knows no limits," say Jackie.
Deli was selected by Unilever as one of its Inspiring Chefs for 2010/2011.
Zinthle's mother, Helen, worked for Jackie in the scullery for six years.
"When Helen's mother fell ill she had to return home and look after the family," says Jackie. "I got no explanation as to what was going on, but one day a little Zulu woman appeared in my scullery - Helen's daughter, Zinthle. I remember one night saying, why are you here? Where is your mother? I found it very strange. But Zinthle got stuck in and very soon proved her worth. After having worked only 11 months in the scullery I promoted her to kitchen assistant. She now takes full control of the extensive breakfast menu at Hartford and controls all the daily baking. Very impressive, and such a joy and pleasure to work with."
Chef Deli Nene
(Photo : Patrick Royal)
"THIS IS WHAT GETS US UP IN THE MORNINGS"
You're never going to make an independent fortune from racehorse breeding or a small boutique hotel, but both of these are the hand which fate has dealt us. That said, we wouldn't change them for the world, because there are other rewards that make our pursuits worthwhile.
In September this year, one of our junior chefs, Zandile Mchunu was chosen from across the country to represent South Africa at an international culinary exhibition in Shanghai. She was the third from our disadvantaged community to be selected for such an honour, and the third to have benefited from the tuition of Jackie Cameron. Jackie's own achievements are the stuff of legend, a testament to the enterprise and energy of a young lady of just 27 years. This is not about Jackie Cameron though, for a change, as you can find all you want on her on Google, or by visiting various places on this website.
This one is about Deli Nene, a third generation member of the Summerhill and Hartford communities, and a proactive "player" in the affairs of our farm family. It was her turn this week to make the headlines when multinational Unilever selected her in their illustrious band of "Inspiring Chefs for 2010/2011".
According to Jackie, "her perseverance and commitment to the company speaks for itself, having started in 1995 as a hand in the horse division at Summerhill. Her role quickly transformed from a horse lady to looking after the Muir household for 10 years. Her love for cooking and food soon outshone her other skills however, and she obtained a domestic household cooking certificate, which opened her doors into my kitchen. Who would have thought her journey would take her to this accolade when she started helping out on her weekends off, and eventually progressed to being permanent cook at Hartford. Her culinary talent, leadership ability, teaching skills and enthusiasm to learn and work with others has been inspiring and refreshing to witness. These qualities make her the woman she is today, and the chef she has become over the last few years. A true pleasure to work with, as she knows no limits... the world is her oyster".
Here's Deli herself :
"I grew up cooking with my mom and I always enjoyed it. I knew from a young age that I wanted to be a chef or cook but didn't have the money to go and study. This was the reason I started working on the farm. As a domestic in the Muir household, I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to do a quick-cooking course. This fuelled my wish to work in the Hartford kitchen even more so. So I decided to see if I could get a temporary job in Jackie's kitchen on my weekends off. Bit by bit I worked my way in. This was my long term plan. It took 10 years to finally get a permanent job at Hartford, and now this!".
For more information please visit :