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: Shanghai World Expo


Shanghai World Expo 2010 / Jackie Cameron (p)

Shanghai World Expo 2010 / Jackie Cameron (p)

"What an experience!"

Jackie Cameron Head Chef

Jackie Cameron
Head Chef

Excitement aside, it was a huge compliment to be invited by South Africa's Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries to help with the South African Food and Wine week at the World Expo in Shanghai. Before we knew it Zandile Mchunu, who has worked with me for more than seven years, and I were winging our way to the Far East. The fair runs for six months and some 500,000 visitors come through the gates every day. Mind boggling numbers.

Our cooking adventure started with a desperate cry. "Chef, I have broken my arm!" We had been in Shanghai for exactly an hour and there was Zandile with a fractured wrist. The one-armed chef did a remarkable job. Her perseverance was admirable and a lesson in commitment. The South African food and wine events tested our skills to the limit because produce, equipment and kitchen space were extremely limited. It's amazing what a chef can pull out of the hat when needs be. 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.

Between cooking, we managed to see and experience Chinese cuisine - nothing like I'd eaten back home. Every part of every animal is consumed! It made even me, an adventurous eater, nervous and squeamish! Language, as you can imagine, was an issue and we never knew exactly what was on offer. From my observations there was a lack of fresh, simply prepared vegetables and fruit. Tomato soup was my meal of choice most evenings.

I was astonished by the variety of Dim Sum - the many tasty Wontons, steamed buns and Spring rolls. Wontons are different in shape, size and filling depending on where you are in China and can be steamed or deep-fried. The steamed bun has a spongy texture unlike anything I have had before and it normally accompanies noodles or soup. Did you know the origin of the spring roll is associated with caterpillar breeders in China; hence its shape? It is considered an auspicious sign for a good harvest.

In between all the cooking and eating, Zandile and I made time to see Shanghai. The striking temples, ornate jade houses, Yu Gardens and the many close-roofed markets all screamed Chinese. We also had the pleasure of experiencing a proper "monk's" tea tasting. What an occasion! The irresistible tailored-made suits and a feather-light 100% silk duvet made my baggage a little heavier for the return flight.

Our exhilarating trip ended with us nearly missing our flight to Johannesburg. We got through Hong Kong airport in 20 minutes which must be a record! We were mesmerised by a world so removed from ours and we came away enlightened and with many foodie stories to reminisce about.

Take these recipes and try them.



I look forward to hearing from you.

Jackie Cameron
Head Chef
Hartford House
+27 33 263 2713


Zandile Nontwana Mnchunu / Kulula.com (p)

Zandile Nontwana Mnchunu / Kulula.com (p)

Zandile Nontwana Mnchunu features in Kulula in-flight magazine

"Zandile is chef de partie at Hartford House, the multi-award-winning hotel in the Midlands. We caught up with her before a life-changing trip to Shanghai.

Q : Where did your love of cooking come from?

A : I don't know really, but my earliest memories are of making mieliepap with my mother. I loved those special occasions when she made curry a

nd rice. I was always fascinated by how food can emphasise happy or sad moments in the life of a family.

Q : Did you always mean to become a chef?

A : It was not really something I thought would be possible. I started right at the bottom - I was in the scullery, but head chef Jackie Cameron noticed I loved to cook, and allowed me to take up the challenge of fine-dining cooking. I had no idea where my love of cooking would take me, but now I’m going with Jackie to represent South Africa and Hartford House at the Shanghai World Expo for a South African food and wine week. I can hardly believe it!

Q : What do you plan to do while you're in Shanghai?

I want to learn about the food and culture of the Chinese. I have already started researching how to say 'hello', 'goodbye' and 'thank you' because I want to be able to greet people. Most of all, I want to teach them to cook the way we're doing it at Hartford and in South Africa."

Extract from Kulula.com

Hartford House

Hlatikulu Road (off Mooi River-Giant's Castle Road), Mooi River, 033-263-2713

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