Jackie Cameron quit as chef at the award-winning Mooi River-based hotel and restaurant Hartford House in July last year in order to pursue a dream of hers to open a chef school, the Jackie Cameron School of Food & Wine. She had initially planned to open the school, which is situated in her family home in Hilton, in February.
But “just about everything has taken longer than I expected,” ranging from the contracting work to importing equipment and attaining the international accreditations for the school.
She said her school won’t be like “so many other chef schools out there that are just about making money,” and for instance, all the equipment for her school is being imported from France or Italy.
Cameron is establishing the school with loan funding provided by the Mondi Zimele Jobs Fund, which provides funding to viable small and medium-sized enterprises with a focus on job creation, women and youth development.
Cameron said she had already selected six out of a potential eight students for the first 18-month course. Over time, she expected to increase the number of students on the course to 15. She is also offering evening cooking courses, for which there had an “overwhelming response”.
She was head chef at Hartford House since 2002. She graduated from the Christina Martin School of Food and Wine in 2001. Hartford House has been regularly voted among the top ten restaurants in the country.