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: Top Chefs in South Africa

Long Weekend at Hartford House in Mooi River

Rebecca Bourhill and Jackie Cameron

Rebecca Bourhill and Jackie Cameron

By Rebecca Bourhill

I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to go to one of South Africa's top 10 restaurants in Mooi River to help out in the kitchen with the chef Jackie Cameron. The opportunity came by surprise when my aunt was going to Underberg and passing right through Mooi River. A few months before, Jackie said that I must let her know when I will be going in that direction and I can come and work with her in the kitchen. So this was the time!

I was spoilt absolutely rotten and did not let a minute pass without being busy or having fun!

Jackie is very passionate about what she does and you can see that passion and enthusiasm as soon as you walk into the kitchen! If there is a problem she fixes it right away and everything carries on as if nothing happened! Smooth running and faultless! As soon as I got there, I was put straight to work! And 30 minutes after I met Jackie she said 'ok girls we going out to supper'! That took me by surprise after thinking we should be doing dinner service or something! Comm'on it was a Friday night for goodness sake... is the restaurant not going to be busy? Like one would expect! The next day was just as fun! Busy the whole day and once again no time to think twice about doing something! You just get on and do it like Jackie would expect! In the evening I was asked to peel and cut 53 potatoes into chips! A grueling job that was!

Sunday was a sad day it was time to say good bye to the lovely place and the staff, they were surprised at my age and I would be able to do something like that! Saying goodbye to Jackie Cameron was the hardest thing for me as she became like my second mother while I was there and she looked after me so well! I really have no words to explain this once in a lifetime experience! I am looking forward to going back and learning a great deal more!

How I Stay Sane!

Stress-busting Secrets
Fairlady, October 2012

13 Successful, busy women, including Hartford House award-winning chef Jackie Cameron, let us in on their stress- busting secrets.

When your to-do list is about to strangle you, and you're so swamped that 'me-time' might as well be a distant planet in outer space, it's no wonder you feel over-whelmed. So how is it that some women seem to have it all figured out? We asked 13 women (who know a thing or two about dealing with life's pressures) to give us the benefit of their wisdom.


Chef Jackie Cameron / Independent Newspapers (p)

Chef Jackie Cameron / Independent Newspapers (p)

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


chef jackie cameron good food and wine show johannesburg south africa

Catch Jackie Cameron at The Summer Good Food & Wine Show

The Summer Good Food & Wine Show kicks off at the Coca Cola Dome in Johannesburg on Thursday 29 October until Sunday 1 November and Hartford’s very own Jackie Cameron will be there to share a few culinary tricks which are sure to tantalise and titillate.

There’s something so wonderful and warming about the company of food and foodies on a journey of discovery. No matter whether you’re passionate about organic produce, long to watch the hottest chefs on the planet turn ingredients into edible heaven, or yearn to pop your cork at the wines and wherefores of the grapevine... the Summer Good Food & Wine Show is the place to be.

So what’s different about The Summer Good Food & Wine Show? Easy. It’s entirely interactive. This is no "Sit Down And Soak It Up" show, it’s a "Roll Up Your Sleeves And Get Involved" relationship. You’re going to meet the makers of the products, grill the chefs on their secrets, and learn how to make any-and-everything you’ve always wanted to... from pasta to cocktails to gourmet dinner party dishes.

Be sure not to miss out… you’ll be watching magic, tasting heaven, and learning from the masters of food, wine, gourmet travel and lifestyle.

Jackie Cameron’s Show times for The Summer Good Food & Wine Show are as follows :

FRIDAY 30 October 2009
BBC Theatre 10h30 to 12h00 (Garden to Kitchen)
Chefs In Action Theatre 13h30 - 14h00 (One Duck Presented in Two Ways)
Top Ten Theatre 15h30 - 16h15 (Decadent Chocolate Desserts)

Jackie Cameron on walkabout in Bremen

Jackie Cameron with Gabi Kirschke and her friend Monika from Berlin

Jackie Cameron with Gabi Kirschke and her friend Monika from Berlin

I have recently returned from a trip to Germany (Bremen) to cook for the Kirschkes. Gabriele Kirschke celebrated her 60th birthday in style. The South African themed evening included Zulu dancers, music and Waterford Kevin Arnold Shiraz. A perfect evening that was filled with friendly faces, fine wines and food.

Gabi’s South African Birthday menu:

*Roasted Butternut Soup with Pear Custard Ice Cream, Pumpkin Seeds and Curry Oil

*Sweetcorn Fritter with Springbok Carpaccio, Fresh Rocket Leaves, Sun dried Tomato, Sour Cream and Balsamic Reduction

*Poached Ostrich, Caramelised Onions, Gorgonzola flavoured Dauphinoise, Chiffonade Spinach and Red Wine Sauce

*Malva Pudding with Dried Fruit Compote and Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

Proudly South African flavours! I am always amazed by the quality of South African goods that can be found overseas. Well done to the team at “Restaurant CAMPUS” especially to Marc and Frank for always making my time so pleasurable.

This unforgettable experience was made possible by the generosity of Gabi and Rainer Kirschke. Thank you.

(Photo kindly supplied by Rainer Kirschke)

The magnitude of Hartford's Top Ten Restaurant Award

Cheryl Goss and Jackie Cameron / Paula Mackenzie (p)

Cheryl Goss and Jackie Cameron / Paula Mackenzie (p)

"Form is temporary : CLASS IS PERMANENT"

There’s an old saying in the racing world that you might fluke the odd big performance, but it’s the ability to consistently achieve at the top level that’s the real mark of quality. The magnitude of Hartford House’s Top Ten Restaurant Award last Sunday evening, is only just beginning to sink in, and the extent of it is quietly coming home to us.

The reality is that none of these achievements are overnight occurrences, and they’re no different to winning Breeders’ Championships. We know what it took to put a team together capable of landing the spoils in the horse business, and the sustained record of four consecutive championships has been the product of almost 30 years of blood, sweat and tears.

In Hartford’s case, the journey started almost eight years ago, with the recruitment of a man by the name of Richard Carstens, who came to us with the option of working at Hartford or at our new venture at the time, Lynton Hall. As it turned out, despite Hartford’s own requirements, we felt that Lynton’s need was the greater because it was in its infancy, and after eight months at Hartford, Richard relocated to the coastal resort, where he took Lynton to a top ten finish in the national awards, and in the end, was elected the nation’s top chef.

As Richard was departing for Lynton Hall, we discovered a waif-like Thespian, who had already spent a year at the Mount Grace Country House & Spa, in the form of Pietermaritzburg born and raised Jackie Cameron, and she proceeded to beaver away as industriously as anyone we’ve ever come across in an already industrious team. Though wet behind the ears, Jackie quickly revealed an underlying potential that’s rare not only in people of her age, but uncommonly so in older people too. It wasn’t long before local critics nabbed onto her coattails, and began to invest in her growth. People like Mechthild Yorke-Mitchell, then restaurant critic for Wine Magazine, Anne Stevens of The Mercury, Derek Taylor of the Sunday Tribune, and latterly and very significantly, Victor Strugo of The Saturday Star, who has been a powerful personal mentor to Jackie. All of them caught onto the fire that was raging at Hartford.

Of course, there's been many other accolades, and last year the Hartford restaurant made the Dine Top 10: Deluxe 2008 voted by Diners club international & Wine magazine, but the Prudential Eat-Out Restaurant Awards are the summit of them all, and to have achieved this is the ultimate for any young chef or restaurant anywhere.

The point of this is that under Cheryl’s tutelage, in the relatively short space of 12 years, we’ve seen the emergence of two national celebrities in the culinary game, and it’s all a result of a sustained obsession that goes beyond perfection.

There’s no team in the world that can appreciate the significance of Hartford better than that at Summerhill. We know what it takes, and we understand what it is that keeps you there. Class, class and more class, and nothing less than class.

Hartford voted Top 10 South African Restaurant

Hartford House Head Chef Jackie Cameron / Patrick Royal - Hartford House (p)

Hartford House Head Chef Jackie Cameron / Patrick Royal - Hartford House (p)

On Sunday evening South Africa's Oscars of Cuisine descended on Cape Town's Westin Grand Cape Town Arabella Quays Hotel. This year's Prudential Eat Out Top 10 Restaurants Awards evening was once again a glittering occasion with seven new restaurants making the final Top 10 list.

We are proud to announce that the Hartford Restaurant, with Executive Chef Jackie Cameron at the helm, was voted into the Top 10 Restaurants in South Africa. A special note is that Hartford was the only restaurant in KwaZulu Natal to receive this coveted accolade.

Congratulations to Jackie Cameron and the Hartford House Restaurant team on this extraordinary achievement.

The 2008 Prudential Eat Out Top 10 Restaurants results are as follows :

  • La Colombe (Cape Town) - Chef: Luke Dale-Roberts
  • Jardine (Cape Town) - Chef: George Jardine
  • Terroir (Stellenbosch) – Chef: Michael Broughton
  • Overture (Stellenbosch) – Chef: Bertus Basson
  • Restaurant Mosaic at the Orient (Pretoria) – Chef: Chantel Dartnall
  • Rust en Vrede (Stellenbosch) – Chef: David Higgs
  • The Tasting Room at Le Quartier Français (Franschhoek) - Chef: Margot Janse
  • Roots at the Forum Homini Boutique Hotel (Joburg) - Chef: Philippe Wagenfuhrer
  • Bizerca (Cape Town) – Chef: Laurent Deslandes
  • Hartford House (KwaZulu-Natal Midlands) – Chef: Jackie Cameron

Prudential Eat Out Restaurant Awards this Sunday

Jackie Cameron / Patrick Royal (p)

Jackie Cameron / Patrick Royal (p)

The Westin Grand Cape Town Arabella Quays Hotel will this Sunday play host to the Prudential Eat OutRestaurant Awards,the Oscars of the South African restaurant industry. South Africa's top restaurants will be celebrated and tribute paid to the Nation's finest chef's.

Hartford House is one of the 20 nominees for the 'Oscars of Cuisine' and Executive Chef Jackie Cameron and her team are delighted to be amongst the finalists.

Eat Out editor Abigail Donnelly, together with funnyman Marc Lottering, will announce the Prudential Eat Out Top 10 Restaurants, as well as the Eat Out Chef of the Year and Restaurant of the Year.

Restaurant lovers are invited to read about the event and nominated restaurants, as well as to predict the Top 10 Restaurants on www.eatout.co.za.

The 20 nominated restaurants in the 2008 Prudential Eat Out Restaurant Awards are:

9th Avenue Bistro (Durban) - Carly Goncalves
Aubergine (Cape Town) - Harald Bresselschmidt
Bizerca (Cape Town) - Laurent Deslandes
Bread and Wine (Franschhoek) - Neil Jewel
Food Barn (Cape Town) - Franck Dangereux
Hartford House (Mooi River, KZN) - Jackie Cameron
Jardine (Cape Town) - George Jardine
La Colombe at Constantia Uitsig (Cape Town) - Luke Dale-Roberts
Linger Longer (Johannesburg) - Walter Ulz
Mosaic Restaurant (Elandsfontein, Pretoria) - Chantel Dartnall
Myoga (Cape Town) - Mike Bassett
Overture (Stellenbosch) - Bertus Basson
Reubens (Franschhoek) - Reuben Riffel
Roots at the Forum Homini Boutique Hotel (Johannesburg) - Philippe Wagenfuhrer
Rust en Vrede (Stellenbosch) - David Higgs
Saxon (Johannesburg) - Rudi Liebenberg
Showroom (Cape Town) - Bruce Robertson
Tasting Room at Le Quartier Francais (Franschhoek) - Margot Janse
Terroir (Stellenbosch) - Michael Broughton
Zachary’s at the Pezula Resort Hotel & Spa (Knysna) - Geoffrey Murray