This love of food continued into Jackie Cameron's school days where she excelled at Home Economics to the point that the external examiner of her Matric exam proclaimed that there was nowhere else for her but Christina Martin School of Food and Wine. “I was as intrigued by Christina’s business mind as much as her skill in the kitchen,” recalls Jackie who has long nurtured a dream of opening her own school of food and wine. “I began planning how it would all work about seven years ago,” she says.
In 2015, the dream became a reality when the first group of students were enrolled at the Jackie Cameron School of Food & Wine in Hilton in the KZN Midlands where Jackie and her parents converted her childhood home into a state-of-the-art chefs’ academy. In addition to the full-time courses, the school offers demos such as a Wednesday morning breakfast where guests can learn to cook their eggs to perfection and Friday evening Weber courses.
Despite her busy schedule, Jackie loves to entertain. “One thing I learnt from my mother and grandmothers is to do things properly so I always go over the top and make it an occasion,” she says. “I find that the details including the menu, fall into place easily if you have a theme.” As the Midlands offers such beautiful outdoor settings, Jackie set up her table under the trees and used the forest as inspiration. “I love to collaborate with people and Kerry Dinkleman of Kerry’s Flowers and Decor helped with the table incorporating copper accents, raw wood placemats, trailing ferns and delicate white blooms.”
Continuing the theme, Jackie included edible nasturtium leaves, edible moss foraged from her garden, broccoli trees, mushrooms and chocolate soil, turning each dish into a little forest vignette.
QUICK CHAT WITH THE COOK
My cooking style is heritage food with a lot of heart. Every dish has a story or a memory behind it.
No dinner party is complete without bubbly and fabulous coffee.
The kitchen gadget I couldn’t live without is the simple sieve to a Thermomix.
If I had just one recipe book, it would be the classical French cookbook, Larousse Gastronomique.
My store cupboard staple is pickles and preserves to accompany my regular cheese cravings.
My favourite comfort food is spaghetti bolognaise.
The best thing I ever drank was a super light, cloud-like hotdog of a mojito at elBulli a few months before Ferran Adrià closed his world-class restaurant. The mouth feel and texture were like nothing I had ever tasted.
When it comes to food, my family is all about doing things properly.