It's always gratifying to hear from our guests, but when compliments come from the Trish Taylors of the world, they mean the world. As CEO of East Coast Radio, she is one of the province's moving-and-shaking dynamos, and when it comes to dining, she's sat at some of the best tables in the land. Besides the encouragement this gives to our team, when it comes from Trish, it's high praise. She was here last week (trying to maintain some anonymity!), and above is what she had to say.
Filtering by Tag: East Coast Radio
East Coast Radio's 'What's Cooking' headed from Durban to Hartford House in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands last week to indulge in one of Head Chef Jackie Cameron's "East Coast Tables: The Inland Edition" recipes: Afro Avo.
Stylish and tasty, Jackie serves this as the cheese course on the Hartford House tasting menu. And yes, that is a 'Fro comb' she uses to texturize the avo!
- 3 small avocados
- 3 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 300g (2 logs) ash-coated chevin
- 3 pieces coppa or Parma-style ham, oven dried, roughly broken
- ½ red onion, sliced into half-moons
- 1 kiwi fruit, skinned, sliced, quartered
- 12 tiny tips fresh mint
- A grind of black pepper, per plate
- A drizzle of virgin olive oil, per plate
- 12 butter-coated, oven dried slices of home-made melba toast
Mix avo, lemon juice and seasoning into a puree. Comb avo onto a stylish plate or slate. Place all other ingredients beautifully, finishing with crisp melba toast.
Hartford's Wine List came out Number One, the only one marked 'Inspirational'
If you've been listening to East Coast Radio in the past couple of days, you'll have heard the name Hartford House many times for its distinction as the only KZN-based restaurant among Eat Out's national Top Ten. A few weeks before, chef Jackie Cameron's team were among the chosen few at the American Express Fine Dining Awards for the 7th cons
ecutive year, and within a blink of time, they earned themselves another Diners Club Diamond Award for one of the country's best wine lists.
We know they've been making headlines for a couple of years now, but the Hartford team takes nothing for granted, and the same goes for "big brother," Summerhill Stud. It seems that team has been on the podium for months too, with an eighth consecutive National Breeder's Championship, another statuette at the Highveld Racing Awards, and a string of distinctions at both the KZN Breeders and the KZN Racing "Nights of the Stars". That's an awful lot of dinners, if you happen to have a foot in both camps!
The latest one is as significant as any of them, and came our way last Sunday evening when the "Cameron Girl" winged her way once again to the Mother City to represent us at the Top 100Wine List Challenge for 2013. Remarkably (or perhaps not so remarkably for those of us who know how much work went into it,) in the Relaxed Dining category, Hartford's wine list came out Number One, the only one marked "Inspirational". Selecting wines may sound appealing to those of us who make the odd visit to a cellar on a Saturday morning for a bit of a "jolly", but this team puts in hours of labour, interviewing wine-makers, tasting and pairing, and in the end establishing a criteria that knows no exceptions. Good food, good wine and good company are the irredeemable passports to a memorable meal, but you'll never know what we mean until you've "done" us yourself. Yes, Hartford is all of these things, but it also represents the only venue of its kind in the nation. Visit www.hartford.co.za, and see what we mean.
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
Mbulelo Suite 13 Hartford House
East Coast Radio's effervescent Jane Linely-Thomas took some time out this past weekend to unwind and rejuvenate at Hartford. This is what Jane had to say on her blog:
"A perfect weekend for me is jumping into my car early on a Saturday morning armed with a sleepover bag and my best friend in the world. To the Midlands and beyond!
Mike and I are very blessed and privileged to have stayed almost everywhere there is to stay on the Midlands Meander.
This past weekend after stopping off at numerous second hand shops, a church fete and a local market we ended up just outside Mooiriver at one of the most beautiful spots we have ever stayed at.
Let me tell you, if I was a horse I would do everything in my horsey powers to live at Summerhill Stud.
When we arrived the Sa vs Australia rugby match was in full swing so we opted to have our lunch sent to our room. Mbulelo Suite 13 was our home for 2 nights. Oh my goodness me! As we drove up to it I let out a baby squeak mixed with an excited giggle-"look at the grass growing on the roof" our room was one of the 'eco' suites making up Hartford's Ezulweni (in the heavens) collection and is fashioned almost entirely from locally sourced material.
I felt like princess Jasmine in my little Moroccan magpie haven. Welcomed by small intricate wooden imported doors and windows I spotted a peak into our bedroom. A rich palette of burnt orange, deep red and opulent heavy wooden furniture. Bead encrusted lampshades, gathered drapes, imported pieces of furniture and fittings that had made me feel quiet giddy with excitement.
The food at Hartford House is on a another level! It is an award winning restaurant with a platinum statues wine list. Jackie Cameron and her team stood on the podium at the nations Eat Out Top Ten Restaurants Awards for 2009 and I can so see why! Every thing is so tastefully presented I even took a photo of every plate of food. We eat like Kings. Or rather a King and a Queen:) I wanted to lick my plate after very course. Don't worry Mum and Dad I didn't but I wanted to. So lunch was in our Moroccan love nest looking over the small sunken pool on the veranda with the back drop of the horses play ground, dam and a raging fire inside with a glass of wine over heavenly food.
The rest of the afternoon was spent on the recliners reading magazines and snoozing in the golden honey midlands sun. A few hours later it was time to eat again! Before dinner we met our hosts Mick and Cheryl Goss - what amazing people. The kind of people that when they open their home their hearts, automatically ooze with love and genuine hospitality. As we gathered in the chilly night air on the front lawn wrapped in blankets, Mick told the 25 of us the amazing story of what happened between the British and Zulu soldiers. Mick has a wonderful way with words and had us all sitting on the edge of our seats. We were then treated to a very emotional and energetic performance by the local traditional Zulu dance troupe. All kitted out in skins beads and shields. This group is ranked 2nd in the world in Tokyo and Hong Kong. Wow it was sensational!
The meal, as per every meal, was a fusion of heavenly tastes and aromas. It made me as delighted as the thought of a never ending shoe budget or of being able to eat as much as my heart desires and never putting on an inch. Jackie is crazy good.
Sunday was pretty much the same as the day before; we rolled out of bed bleary eyed and instantaneously grinning as soon as we remembered where we were. What lucky children we say over a banana smoothie, welsh rabbit and bubble and squeak on the sunny farmhouse veranda.
There are many activities to get up to at Hartford House including personalized tours of Summerhill Stud as well as the fascinating political history of the estate. The Hartford Wellness Centre offers a range of therapies, body treatments as well as holistic massages and facials. But being in a state of CHILL the rest of our day was spent with me on the sidelines of a midlands fishing session. Mike gave me the task of choosing the best flies for the job. I am not sure I am the best and most qualified as I choose which one I think world make the prettiest earrings. Oh the joy of being in the great outdoors as the sun sets over the trees and the still of the dam reminds me why it is so important to take time out. The more I visit the midlands the more I realise that a part of my soul resides there.
What a treat to start my week with a song in my heart, a tranquil and well rested body and mind.
Thank you team Hartford until we meet again."