At last Jackie Cameron (who did her LEVEL 3 IVQ Advanced Diploma in Teaching, Training and Assessing Learning Awarded by The City and Guilds of London Institute in year 2010) is in the position to realise her dream of launching Jackie Cameron’s School of Food and Wine, scheduled to open in January 2015 in Hilton in KwaZulu-Natal.
The school will offer an 18-month intensive internationally-recognised course with a maximum intake of 15 students. “Hands-on ” is Jackie’s philosophy and the students will be working alongside her, daily. The school will provide learners with the opportunity to experience all things foodie in a safe and secure environment. Jackie believes there is no need to have only worked in a top restaurant, locally or internationally, to succeed. “There is so much to food and I want to share all that I have been fortunate to have learnt, and experienced, with the students,” she says, adding that her aim is to impart this knowledge, and to equip the students with the skills to ‘go it alone’. Think new age on all levels – teaching the students how to create a balanced-and-healthy lifestyle in this crazy but extremely-rewarding industry.
Midlands born and raised Jackie’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.
Having only recently reached 30 years old, her list of achievements is what most aspiring chefs dream of.
Jackie graduated from the Christina Martin School of Food and Wine in 2001 and cut her teeth at Mount Grace Country House and Spa. For the past 12 years she has been reaping the rewards of her commitment to her career. Under her guidance the Hartford House restaurant – having achieved national Top 10 status four times and making number five restaurant in the country in 2013 – is mentioned regularly in magazines such as Food&Home, Taste, Eat Out, and House and Leisure. It has achieved many other accolades including Top 10 Eat Out, American Express Platinum Fine Dining Programme and People’s Choice awards. The latter was in the La Motte Restaurant of the Year competition. With her input, Hartford House’s wine list was presented with the Inspirational Award in the Top 100 SA Short List Wine List for 2013 awards; Top 10 in the 2012 Eat Out/DStv Restaurants Awards as well as a Diamond Award for its 2012 and 2013 wine list, as recognised by Diner’s Club International.
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. Jackie has been part of the Real Food Movement, is a Chaine des Rotisseure member, and is on the KwaZulu-Natal committee for the South Africa Chefs’ Association.
Her culinary career has taken her to Germany, France, Switzerland, Czech Republic, Australia, England, Dubai, Shanghai, Spain, Copenhagen, Denmark and America where she has represented South Africa at exhibitions, enjoyed work experiences, or – for the benefit of her career – experienced eating in restaurants such as Nobu, Le Gravoche, Fat Duck, Gordan Ramsay’s Hospital Road and River Café, Noma and El Bulli, The French Laundry, Per Se, Bochon Bistro, AD HOC, Le Bernadin and Jean Georges. She went on a trip to Thailand which was meant to be purely pleasure but resulted in a culinary extravaganza of all things unusual. Most recently she was invited by S Pellegrino and Acqua Panna to represent South Africa at the Audi Chef’s Cup Südtirol 2014, in Alta Badia. This is display of culinary excellence attracts the leading personalities of national and international cuisine.
In her endeavour to share her knowledge, Jackie writes a monthly column for The Witness newspaper as well as a column in the Chef Magazine where, through her stories and her recipes, she encourages readers to experiment with food – and to enjoy culinary feasts, however simple.
Jackie leaves no stone unturned. Apart from her creative flair breaking into the world of fashion when she introduced her chic, fashionable Jackie Cameron chef’s range as an alternative to conventional ‘kitchen wear’; Jackie Cameron Cooks At Home, published by Penguin, hit the shelves in May 2013 and in July the same year achieved the status of second highest cookbook sold in the country as voted by Exclusive Books. Most recently this book won Best Woman Chef Book in South Africa as voted by the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards.
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