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: Food Trends

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

FOOD TRENDS FOR 2011

Red Wine Poached Pear

Red Wine Poached Pear
(Photo : Jackie Cameron)

"Garden Fresh, Light and Delicate"

Jackie Cameron Head Chef

Jackie Cameron
Head Chef

Food trends for 2011 conjure images of garden fresh, light and delicate - ingredients that are refreshing and require pickings from your garden, visiting farms and shopping at markets. It's worth the effort

Let us dive into this in more detail. After some research and a little more thought I expand on my opening statement.

I consider myself a locavore (one who eats food grown locally wherever possible) and it's heartwarming to notice more people are adopting this trend. I am sure this is the result of the increase in popularity of the re-born farmers' markets. Farmers who strive to consider the environment and are dedicated to quality will definitely outshine the rest. I'm committed to supporting local growers, butchers, bakers and cheese-makers, where possible. We all need to 'live' locally. By drawing from local resources we can reduce our carbon footprints. And always remember 'local is lekker'! With the ever-increasing demand more wholesome food is being produced – this often with a cheerful twist. Simplicity is the keyword but remember simple does not always mean quick and easy.

Initially your time will be spent identifying and evaluating the ingredients which satisfy your needs. This in turn puts pressure on the independent grower to meet customers' requirements. Suppliers will bring new and interesting flavours to their respective markets which means you will learn from the farmer, who will, hopefully, share a few gardening / farming tips with you. This will lead to healthier eating habits and increased awareness of the value of local in-season fruit and vegetables compared with out-of-season imported goods. Hopefully this awareness will inspire you to grow your own. There's a certain thrill in stepping out of your kitchen and handpicking fresh herbs, fruit and vegetables. Why not grow it, serve it and then preserve surplus ingredients (called "putting up")?

Ironically, going back to our roots and remembering what our grandparents did seems to be the way forward. As the home cook becomes more skilled and well informed, his / her expectations increase when dinning out. This should see chefs becoming more innovative in their ideas, cooking styles and use of fresh produce. The abundance of readily available fresh produce will entice people to eat less red meat and improve both their and the environment's wellbeing. Fish will be more in demand but remember... eat fish with a clear conscience. When in doubt refer to SASSI (The Southern African Sustainable Seafood Initiative) which illustrates in green, orange and red lists which fish are endangered species. SASSI information can be downloaded from the website: www.wwfsassi.co.za or you can text the name of the fish in question to 079 499 8795 and you will immediately get a response message telling you to tuck in, think twice, or avoid completely.

Obesity in children is no longer accepted. Schools and parents are becoming more aware of feeding their young ones correctly. Food is traditionally about nourishment and a cultural connection but in 2011 it is going to be about keeping us awake, on form, active and energised for this busy year ahead. Energy or superfoods are important in preserving vitality and delaying the aging process. The demand for a variety of dietary requirements will be on the increase. Keep this in mind when hosting a dinner party to avoid any embarrassing or uncomfortable situations for the guest or the host.

Men are stepping into kitchens more regularly these days. Maybe it's because there are more females in the workforce or maybe because today it's 'cool to cook'! The result of this phenomenon is the increase in gadgets used in the kitchen - gadgets that are innovative, imaginative and oh so useful!

I'm sure you have gathered that my new year's resolutions for 2011 are a healthy diet, a wholesome lifestyle and lots of exercise. Let us see how long it lasts.

Take these recipes and try them.

farmer

HEALTH BREAKFAST
THYME ROASTED MUSHROOMS ON GOAT'S CHEESE
"COQ AU VIN" PASTA
COUNTRY LAMB SHANK WITH GREMOLATA
RED WINE POACHED PEAR

 

Here are a few local suppliers :

  • For all those gadget crazy people, I suggest going onto Yuppiechef (www.yuppiechef.co.za). They offer free delivery, on all orders, anywhere in South Africa. A foodie person's paradise, such innovative and exciting items from cookware, tools, knives, appliances, bake ware, to books, home keeping gadgets and kiddie's appliances.
  • Visit Conscious Seafood Consumer website: www.wwfsassi.co.za or text 079 499 8795 with fish in question.
  • Dargle Valley Pork (the best streaky bacon, sliced Gammon and Pork Pies) - Caz 0332344159.
  • Swissland Goat's Cheese (World class Goat's Cheese - my favourite is the Ash Chevin and Drakensburg) - Fran 033 2344042.
  • La Petite France (Best Camembert in the country) - Gerè 033 3433487.
  • Chrissie's Cheese (Electric traditional Cheddar - Beetroot and Sage is delicious) - Chrissie 031 7811791.
  • Erwin's (Flavoursome Parma ham styled meats and salamis) - Erwin 033 2632275.
  • Hatting's Sausages (Gourmet Sausages-hormone, steroid and antibiotic free. Try Honey, Ale Mustard - YUM!) - Jarrod 033 343 4135.
  • Wayfarer Trout (Pin boned smoked or fresh Trout - stunning quality) - Sue 033 2344665.
  • Romesco Olives (Campfire Olives are my choice always) - Claire 033 3308345.
  • Dargle Ducks (Portioned Duck is available so if you are wanting to confit a few thighs you can. Another bonus they sell Duck fat.) - Dean 033 2344227.
  • Local Rabbits (New Zealand White Rabbits) - Ziggy 033 2632528.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Jackie Cameron
Head Chef
Hartford House
www.hartford.co.za
jackie@hartford.co.za
+27 33 263 2713

Food Trends for 2009

Tea-smoked chicken breast sandwich / Jackie Cameron (p)

Tea-smoked chicken breast sandwich / Jackie Cameron (p)

Jackie Cameron Head Chef

Jackie Cameron
Head Chef

Extensive research reveals the obvious: the economy dictates people’s eating and shopping budgets. People swipe less and save more. Food will be cooked by the people for the people, so family meals and stay-at-home dinner parties will be the next "big thing". Knowledge of seasonal ingredients and the use of local produce are essential in impressing your company.

Peruvian food is the new Thai, so Ceviche, or “Cebiche,” to be phonetically correct, is perfect. Ceviche is the Peruvian style of marinating seafood in soya and lime. The benefits of this chilled seafood dish include a cure for hangovers, and is reputed to be an aphrodisiac. Oh boy! Fresh ginger, garlic and coriander form an integral part of the dish and the pantry gossip is that ginger is pushing mint right off menus.

Recognizing that unhealthy eating habits in children result in unhealthy adults, grown health awareness demands a new emphasis on the value of sensible nutrition over convenience foods. Get into the habit of “double” cooking, where possible, and freezing the surplus, so that healthier food is available when time isn’t. When I think excellent value-for-money, I think homemade macaroni and cheese. Plain or schussed up, both are scrumptious.

The new trend is for smoking your food rather than frying, a blast from the past. Imagine a stylish, healthy, tea-smoked chicken breast sandwich for lunch.

Thinking of what works and what is best, remember how your grandparents used to source and prepare their food. They were the trend setters of all time, to the point that today we are looking back to what they did, and more often than not, we nick ideas from yesteryear.

Take these recipes and try them.

SEAFOOD CEVICHE
MACARONI AND CHEESE
SMOKED CHICKEN SANDWICH

Post your comments and food-related questions below.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Jackie Cameron
Head Chef
Hartford House
www.hartford.co.za
jackie@hartford.co.za
033 263 2713