The Legacy Project

The Legacy Project

Jackie Cameron was born and raised in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands, South Africa. She has a long list of achievements such as Hartford House restaurant achieving national Top 10 status four times and making number five restaurant in the country in 2013 – was mentioned regularly in magazines such as Food&Home, Taste, Eat Out, and House and Leisure – all when it was under her guidance. - The Legacy Project

Top 100 SA Wine Lists Challenge 2014

WELL DONE to all the winners and thanks to the TOP 100 team for your support and encouragement for South African wine lists and every individual property. I am deeply saddened that I couldn’t be at the award ceremony thanks for your understanding.
— Jackie Cameron

The Top 100 SA Wine List Award winners for 2014 have been revealed. The eagerly awaited and hotly contested results are listed below. This follows a celebratory awards' event held at Rodwell House, St James.

Jörg Pfützner, Challenge Chair quoted: "Tremendous to see new entrants again this Challenge. Now in its third successful year, the 100 point scoring protocols are fully effective. The rigour and the methodology ensure those restaurants who make a sincere effort, are recognised and rewarded. That's as fair as it gets."

Added Founder Judge Higgo Jacobs: "Always pleasing to have repeat entrants who value our professional and objective approach to awards. The three tiers of awards, Inspirational, Outstanding and Highly regarded, reflect each restaurants own value proposition to its own customers. The fit is smart and commercial."

Dax Villanueva noted. "Consumers can rely fully on the accuracy and the value of the awards granted. Top 100 Wine List Awards ensure a truly enhanced dining experience and the Special Awards provide for really world class memories. We have plans and aim to grow entries as well as the brand power for next year. Watch this space."

First-time judge Joanne Gibson shared: "My first year judging has been really positive. Clearly there is in place smart technology and digital systems to aid the objectivity and accuracy of what is often considered to be a very subjective area. Judges are free to add professional views and make recommendations, but the underlying protocols, procedures and audit make for bullet proof results."

Top 100's Robin von Holdt recorded: "There were more entries this year, up again on 2013. Almost 70 fine establishments entered representing the majority of finer South African restaurants so the quality was very high indeed. The judges were even harder this year though... with just 30 restaurants being awarded! Achieving any Top 100 award is never easy. That is why we hold the high ground and why the awards command respect."

The Top 100 brand is set to continue its growth in wine related promotion activity. Winning restaurants will gain entry into the Top 100 2014/15 ebook edition along with the Top 100 SA Wines 2014. There are already a number of promotional events planned throughout South Africa and abroad for 2014.

Alphabetical order of winning restaurants, by category:

Unique Awards

  • Restaurant Mosaic - Best Overall SA Wine List Award 2014
  • Mondrian Restaurant @ De Stijl Hotel - Most Innovative Selection Award 2014
  • Five Hundred at the Saxon - Best International Selection Award 2014
  • Bushmanskloof Wilderness Reserve & Wellness Retreat - Best Regional Selection Award 2014
  • Zachary’s Restaurant - Most Improved Award 2014
  • Budmarsh Country Hotel - Best Value Award 2014

Fine Dining (long wine list)

Inspirational (90+%):

  • Aubergine Restaurant
  • Bushmans Kloof Wilderness Reserve and Wellness Retreat
  • Five Hundred at The Saxon
  • Restaurant Mosaic
  • Zachary’s Restaurant

Outstanding (60+% - 90%):

  • Azure Restaurant
  • Browns Restaurant
  • Budmarsh Country Lodge
  • Café del Sol
  • De Oude Kraal Country Estate & Spa
  • Karibu Restaurant
  • The Cellars-Hohenort Hotel
  • The Grill Room at the Oyster Box Hotel
  • The Big Easy Restaurant & Wine Bar

Highly Regarded (50+% - 60%):

  • DW Eleven - 13
  • Hemingway’s Restaurant and Wine Cellar
  • Kong Restaurant
  • Orient Restaurant
  • Thomas Maxwell Bistro
  • Umngazi River Bungalows & Spa

Relaxed Dining (short wine list)

Inspirational (90+%):

Outstanding (60+% - 90%):

  • Mondrian Restaurant @ De Stijl Hotel
  • Su Casa @ Surval
  • Zinzi Restaurant

Highly Regarded (50+% - 60%)

  • Red Rabbit French Grill
  • Three Trees at Spioenkop
  • The Bull Run Restaurant
  • The Girls Restaurant

Celebrations are in the air!

 East Out DSTV Food Network Restaurant Awards 2013
More than ever before, I believe the chefs in South Africa are striving for greatness - every day. The levels of creativity are inspirational. So, getting called up on stage as the No 5 restaurant in the country was pretty astonishing. Especially considering where we are based and where we have come from.
— Jackie Cameron

Hartford House is No 5 restaurant in the country as voted by the judges in the 2013 Eat Out DStv Food Network Restaurant Awards. This is the 'Oscars' for restaurants in South Africa.

The build up to this award means four judges eating, unannounced, at select restaurants during the course of 2013. In October the 20 chefs/restaurants that made the Top 20 were announced in a media release, all finalists were invited to a glitzy award ceremony in mid November and at the end of the evening’s meal the Top 10 were announced. The four highly-regarded judges, who were made known to us at the awards, included Abigail Donnelly, editor of Eat Out and food editor of Woolworths TASTE magazine; Liam Thomlin, owner of Chef Warehouse and Cookery School; Garth Stroebel, chef, lecturer and accredited judge; Andy Fenner, food writer, consultant and owner Frankie Fenner Meat Merchants. It was a very stressful time for all us chefs - but even more nerve racking for the chefs who cooked for the occasion.

Travis Finch, an outstanding new member of the Hartford House A-team; Jessica Edmunds, a past trainee and a special friend of mine; and Luke Nel, a chef from the area and another great friend of mine made up my prep team. We all headed to the Cape and arrived at the picturesque L'Ormarins guest house compliments of Bear (Gareth) Robinson and the team. Sadly there was no time to chill out - we had to get to dinner because the very talented and oh-so-interesting foraging chef Chris Erasmus was waiting for us at La Motte. There the chef's table dinner was truly special and we felt like royalty on every level. The experience at La Motte was the start of a memorable weekend.

The following day was much longer than we'd anticipated. The mussels I'd ordered from one of my favourite families in the Cape, the Bakers-Ross Baker of Wild Peacock Emporium fame made up for the long hours. They where superb - so plump and juicy... We got home at 1am with a huge sense of pride - smiles from ear to ear because our smoked mussel soup with fond side memories was sorted! I have to add we prepared in Chris' state-of-the-art kitchen with all the top of range equipment; I was on cloud nine the entire day. His staff is fantastic - in particular: Ryan Cole, Michelle Theron and Jonke (Michael Jonker). The dynamics of the kitchen team is something quite unique.

We were up with the sparrows, back to La Motte to do the final touches, and then loaded the food truck. We all wished we'd had the opportunity to enjoy a glass or two of the world-renowned wines from L'Ormarins, especially considering the Cape of Good Hope Chardonnay 2012, Serruria, was my choice to go with our mussel soup that evening.

The rest of the Hartford House team on the morning of the awards' dinner arrived - Elaine Boshoff, my sous chef; Cheryl Goss, the owner of Hartford House; Scott Morgan, the assistant general manager, and Umbelelo Mahlungulu, the duty manager.

Cooking for this event were George Jardine, Jordan's restaurant, on starter; the Hartford House team on the first main; Chris Erasmus and his team on second main; Peter Tempelhoff and his pastry chef Amy-Margaret Young with David Higgs and his pastry chef Minette Smith on dessert. The man who put the kitchen together was Wynand du Plessis from Extreme Kwizeen. He was in charge of the entire kitchen setup. From start to finish this was a fantastic experience. In 10 minutes we got our soup out for 500 people! Working with all these professionals made the task an absolute pleasure - a brilliant milestone in my foodie career.

The awards were emotional for many restaurant teams. More than ever before, I believe the chefs in South Africa are striving for greatness - every day. The levels of creativity are inspirational. So, getting called up on stage as the No 5 restaurant in the country was pretty astonishing. Especially considering where we are based and where we have come from. This was a true team effort. Every staff member wanted the award as badly as I did. Elaine and I have been the only qualified chefs in the hotel kitchen for many years and I’m always amazed at what the teamfrom the scullery women to the kitchen helpers and the waitrons - puts out on a day-to-day basis. Loyalty and dedication are part of each member’s make up and it’s what gets me up in the morning.

Andy Bainborough / Sapore

This brings me to my birthday, and those readers who follow my column know birthdays are an occasion for me. So, this year I insisted on celebrating very locally to ensure the Hartford House kitchen team could, at some part of the day, join me in commemorating my special day as well as the end of a hard-working year. Sapore in Nottingham Road popped straight to mind for a long, lazy, festive day. The restaurant is owned by my friends Andy Bainborough and Geoff Combrinck. It's a casual eatery, and sitting outside sharing a bottle of bubbles with my mates on a Sunday afternoon conjures up such happy memories for me. Sapore has recently opened a hip-and-happening bar alongside the restaurant. I wish I had more available time to visit there 'cos it's ultra cool. My kind of place to just kuier... The menu includes something for all palates; from sushi and pizza to salads and pastas. Sapore's owners have happily parted with a few of their recipes to tantalise your palates this month.

Sapore Chinese Chicken

Elaine, my sous chef, recommends Sapore's Chinese chicken. Elaine is my rock, my constant, my right and left hand. She knows me inside and out, understands my craziness and deep desires - and if she says it's good you know it is delicious. Add Tempura vegetable for an interesting twist or serve on its own with a dipping sauce - both are tasty combinations.

Sapore Ciabatta

Bread of any sort is my weakness so a Sapore ciabatta is just right for me.

Sapore Bruschetta

Bruschetta is simply delicious when served freshly crisp with Mediterranean toppings. This is often my order at Sapore when I want to fill the gap between meals. As I've already said Sapore is a place you can chill out with mates - any time.

Sapore Basil Pesto

Every chef/restaurant has a unique pesto recipe - and they're all good. Try Sapore's as an alternative to mine. We must celebrate eateries that make their own because, I assure you, many restaurants these days buy in a lot of their products. Nothing tastes better than dishes home made with love, rather than commercially manufactured poor cousins!

Sapore Pole-Caught Tuna Fish Cakes

Pole-caught tuna fish cakes are scrumptious and this dish adheres to SASSI (South African Sustainable Seafood Initiative). We only serve green-listed fish at Hartford House - nothing on the orange/red list because we are conscientious about conserving the status of over-exploited seafood. To find out more visit:; and to check the status of any fish, text its name to 079 499 8795 and you'll receive the answer. Save this number and sms 'the fish of the day' when dining out, you will be surprised and shocked at what some restaurants are selling. Serve the Sapore tuna fish cakes with a sweet honey and ginger sauce. This promises to impress your guests.

Here's to happy celebrations at Sapore with your friends and family. If you haven't been - visit soon. I wish I had more social time with my family, friends and the Hartford House team - they all mean the world to me.

A few interesting links :

Send comments and food-related questions to

Find out more about my women's chef range, JACKIE CAMERON COOKS AT HOME and all my foodie adventures. I always look forward to hearing from you. Jackie Cameron (Head Chef: Hartford House - 033 263 2713). For the latest on local foodie news add me as a friend on FACEBOOK. Find me on Twitter - @jackie_cameron.

All Photos taken by Karen Edward’s Photography 082 441 7429 /

Eat Out Awards 2013

 Chef Jackie Cameron and the Hartford House Kitchen Team

The Eat Out DSTV Food Network Restaurant Awards

The Hartford House team is thrilled to have been voted into the EAT OUT TOP 20 Restaurants in South Africa and I am extremely proud of my entire team for making this possible.

I have received flowers, beautiful emails of congrats and phone calls from people all around the country. We are the only restaurant in KZN to make this list. Once again the KZN public have been extremely supportive and encouraging, thanking my team and I for keeping KZN on the map!

I am not going to lie to you though... all these comments do place a huge amount of pressure on us, but to be truly honest 'what would life be without a little stress now and then?' Working in this industry, and the pressures that come along with it, is what drives myself and my team.

We are a work in progress and are so thankful that publications like EAT OUT acknowledge, commend and encourage what we are doing on a daily basis for breakfast, lunch and dinner here at Hartford House.

A huge 'Thank You' to all who support and encourage my little team, we really do appreciate.. If it wasn't for you, we would not be where we are today. Thank you from the bottom of my heart and hopefully my team and I have the opportunity to spoil you all with experiences and/or memories at some time in the near future.

So now we wait until 10 November to find out which South African restaurants will make the TOP 10... exciting times indeed! A month to the day and here are our fellow nominees :

We must not forget that the Eat Out Awards celebrate not only South Africa's TOP 10 Restaurants but also offer prestigious awards in the following categories :

  • Boschendal Style Award
  • Lifetime Achievement Award in association with Paarl Media
  • The Jacobsdal Best Steakhouse Award
  • The Best Asian Restaurant
  • The Best Italian Restaurant
  • The Best Country-style Restaurant
  • The Best Bistro

I know I have my fingers and toes crossed for a few of my mates to scoop the above awards. Let us wait and see.

The DSTV Food Network Restaurant Awards... an evening not to miss. Tickets are on sale for R1450 per person. Avoid disappointment and reserve yours now by contacting Julie Potgieter at or on 021 417 1257.

...and see you then.


Hartford's Food by CUIZINE

 Hartford House Cuisine
I ordered the fish and chips, thinking it would make a light introduction to their dishes and was met with maybe half a river’s worth of (ok, three) Midlands trout fillets. This was preceded by a bread “basket” that included Barbie-sized slices of home made bread (the smallness was cute and bite-sizey, not a bad thing) and chilli cheese sticks with fresh butter, lava salt, olive tapenade and caramelised onions. The fish was buttery and had a tangy lemon sauce and shovelling it all in my mouth with the edible flowers really was yum. That’s my poetic descriptor. I ensured that the dishwasher had minimal work, my plate was spotless. No trout left for the river.

Jessica Meyerowitz's first New Age Wedding Cake. Wow.

There is no award in the world that compares with seeing development in another human being. This is what gets me up every morning.

Jessica Meyerowitz, a student of Prue Leith Chefs' Academy, is working in our Hartford House kitchen for five months to experience as much as possible on the culinary front.  While my pastry chef, Delli Nene, was on leave I handed over the keys - or should I say whisks and digital thermometers - to Jessica. What a swell job she did.

Look at these incredible pics of Jessica's 'first' new-age wedding cake (click the thumbnails above to enlarge). Wow, I was impressed; not only for the quality of the final product but for her dedication, time management and sheer guts to get the task done professionally - and with loads of love and attention.

The most delicious, fluffy, red-velvet cakes, eat-your-heart-out lemon meringue, oozing blueberry cheesecakes, hot, spicy doughnuts and mind-blowing chocolate brownies made up this very special cake for Johan and Lorenza. Bride and groom stood in awe of the cake... and I stood looking on like a proud parent.

Oh, and just putting it out there... check out Jessica’s chef jacket available in my "JC CHEF CLOTHING RANGE (females)". Click here if you are interested in placing an order.

My sincere thanks to KZN Midlands freelance photographer, Karen Edwards for sharing her stunning photography... visit Karen E Photography here