Jackie ready to teach

2014-08-05 00:00

JACKIE Cameron (31), chef from award-winning Midlands hotel and restaurant Hartford House, is very enthusiastic about her plans to open a chef school in Hilton next year.

She said in an interview with the The Witness that setting up a school had become a passion of hers after realising that in spite of winning numerous awards, nothing could compare with the satisfaction she had felt after training many people at Hartford House.

“I have known for a long time that this is what I wanted to do,” she said.

Her plans, including her meteoric career so far as a chef, show how hard work and dedication to one’s work can propel one into becoming an entrepreneur.

“At last I am in a position to realise my dream of launching Jackie Cameron’s School of Food and Wine, scheduled to open in January 2015,” she said.

Midlands-born and raised Cameron’s heart is in KwaZulu-Natal where, since 2002, she has filled the position of head chef at Hartford House, a five-star boutique hotel in rural Mooi River.

The new school will be based at her family home in Old Main Road, Hilton, and the anticipated 15 students will live either on the premises, or possibly have accommodation nearby.

A focus of the curriculum will be “healthy eating for a healthy lifestyle”, and she also wants to broaden the training to include a lifestyle course.

This will focus on other aspects of being a chef, which in today’s world means more than just working in the kitchen, and could involve aspects such as food photography and food writing.

She aims to be fully “hands-on” with the training, although, depending on the progress of the school, she may get additional lecturers.

She left Hartford at the end of July, and will spend the next few months preparing for the school, doing things like creating a detailed syllabus and programme.

Cameron has a list of achievements that most aspiring chefs would dream of.

She graduated from the Christina Martin School of Food and Wine in 2001 and cut her teeth at Mount Grace Country House and Spa.

Under her guidance, the Hartford House restaurant achieved national Top 10 status four times and made number five restaurant in the country in 2013.

The restaurant is mentioned regularly in magazines and has achieved many other accolades including Top 10 Eat Out, American Express Platinum Fine Dining Programme and People’s Choice awards.

Her career has taken her to Germany, France, Switzerland, Czech Republic, Australia, England, Dubai, Shanghai, Spain, Copenhagen, Denmark and America.

Her book, Jackie Cameron Cooks At Home, published by Penguin, hit the shelves in May 2013 and in July achieved the status of second highest cookbook sold in the country as voted by Exclusive Books.

In her personal capacity Jackie has the distinction of being one of Victor Strugo’s “three favourite woman chefs”. She was voted by South African Tourism as one of the Top 10 Young South African Chefs, has appeared on TV programmes such as MasterChef SA, Top Billing, and with Justin Bonello in The Ultimate Braai Master.

Cameron has been part of the Real Food Movement, is a Chaine des Rotisseure member, and is on the KZN committee for the South Africa Chefs’ Association.

She leaves no stone unturned. She took her creative flair into the world of fashion when she introduced her Jackie Cameron chef’s range as an alternative to conventional “kitchen wear”.

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