Dreams do come true


Born and raised in Howick, KwaZulu-Natal, Nkululeko Mlotshwa recognised his interest in food while employed as a general worker in the hospitality industry. That was in 2011. He gained experience in several KwaZulu-Natal restaurants, and in 2016 he relocated to Pretoria with the aim of building on the knowledge he had already gleaned.
— Jackie Cameron

He also enjoyed mixing with – and learning from - the various cultures there. In November 2017 Nkululeko was chauffeured, from Bosch Hoek, his place of work at the time, and flown to Cape Town where he was awarded a Woolworths TASTE Eat Out Bursary to study at Jackie Cameron School of Food & Wine. The presentation was at the Eat Out Awards – known as South Africa’s Food Oscars - with some of the country’s top gastronomes under one roof.

Nkululeko’s acceptance speech is indelibly imprinted in my memory. It illustrated complete appreciation and gratitude in a humble manner - his undertaking not to disappoint those who had supported him shining through. The entire room was attentive. Nkululeko has that quality - when he speaks people listen.

“Every day is a new day of learning,” he says. “Who, a few years back, would have thought I would be studying French terminology and cake icing – as well as everything else that will put me on the right road to become a chef of distinction?”

The students recently completed the syllabus’ pastry/high-tea examinations and Nkululeko invited his family to this occasion. His mother, Nthabeleng Ntenza, admitted how proud she was of her son’s achievements. So too was, Annie Erskine, another of his guests. She was the person who planted the hospitality seed when Nkululeko was earning pocket money by tending her garden. Her advice was: “If you want to do it, do it.”

Nkululeko said that he had no idea, at the time, how he was going to achieve this. Motivated to keep pace with the fast-growing culinary industry, Nkululeko aims to share his enthusiasm for gourmet fare. There are no boundaries – “if you want it, do it” - and I, as a cookery-school principle will nurture his deep desire to succeed. In a leap of faith, I have agreed to Nkululeko’s five-month, practical-placement choice of Waterkloof Restaurant, run by renowned French chef, Gregory Czarnecki.

This is a tough call – the restaurant was voted the best in the country at the 2018 Eat Out Awards - and Nkululeko is going to have an extreme learning experience but he says he is up to it. And with his dedication I’m sure he is. I look forward to seeing how all the students develop over this time.

The dish Nkululeko has chosen to share is one of his favourite home-cooked recipes,and the first meal he made for his fellow students in his first few days at the school. His bean soup and cheese dumplings promises to please.

Remember our all-day brunch restaurant from Wednesday to Sunday, 08h00 until 14h00. It’s a perfect, good-value option when celebrating with family and friends over the festive season. In December we have an interesting Christmas-themed menu-nothing extreme, just little hints that remind us celebrations are in the air.

The School Outlet email: schooloutlet@jackiecameron.co.za 

Explore my website to find out more about my women’s, men’s and children’s chef ranges. Remember Jackie Cameron Cooks at Home and Baking with Jackie Cameron – the books highlight all my foodie adventures. I always look forward to hearing from you so please communicate via email: jackie@jackiecameron.co.za Jackie Cameron - owner of Jackie Cameron School of Food & Wine in Hilton, KZN.
For enquires: Email admin@jackiecameron.co.za  “Find me on Facebook – Jackie Cameron Cooks at Home, Twitter - @jackie_cameron and Instagram: jackiecameronincolour

Food assistant and recipe developer: Nkululeko Mlotshwa

All Photos taken by:
Karen E Photography