Hilton Arts Festival

Jackie Cameron
Last weekend Jackie Cameron School of Food & Wine, once again, turned out in support of the Hilton Arts Festival – and what a treat it was. The students have coined the phrase “team work makes the dream work” – and this proved appropriate at the popular annual event.
— Jackie Cameron

After last year’s festival, the organisers Su Huggett and Sue Clarence offered me 10 times more space allocation for 2017. I took a deep breathe before accepting but it was an “offer I couldn’t refuse”. The challenge was on - I had to think creatively for the benefit of all the students. And then an idea struck me…

I invited a few of my suppliers to join us - Verve Water, Oryx Salt, TWG Tea, Champagne Valley Stonemill, Rio Largo Olive Oil, Gourmet Greek, Midlands Eggs-Free Range, Woodview Gourmet Wagyu Meats, Willow Greens, Kerry Dinkelman Décor and Flowers, Midlands Stretch Tents, Blue-Orange Chicken and Terbodore Coffee all signed up. I assigned two students to each food-supplier and the students had to develop dishes to showcase their respective supplier’s produce. We were promoting coffee, tea and water and it was interesting to note how sales were determined by the weather and the time of day. As is customary we experienced a few seasons over that one weekend.

Another exciting event taking place in tandem with the festival was Samantha Skyring and my launch of a braai salt. I shall reveal more next month but I suggest you start looking out for it within the Oryx Salt range.

We served this salt with freshly shucked smoked oysters.  We paired TWG tea with the most decadent cakes - think a lemon meringue cake filled with lemon curd and topped with Italian meringue, highlighting the Champagne Valley Stonemill FlourRio Largo went with one of my favourite smoked-salmon terrines, and a tomato soup in the form of an ice cream. For Gourmet Greek, we made a panna cotta dessert, and added its cheese to the most creamy and cheesy fresh mussels. Midlands Eggs-Free Range, delivered an all-day breakfast which proved a hit. Think soufflé omelettes and poached egg with hollandaise sauce. Woodview Gourmet Wagyu Meats served mince balls with a nasturtium pesto, and butternut risotto with Gorgonzola cheese, biltong and crispy sage.  Blue-Orange Chicken was showcased with a chicken stir-fry rice dish, and a butter-chicken bunny chow.

On top of this crazy, busy weekend we had two private functions on the Saturday - one in the afternoon and one in the evening. They were hit by the extreme winds we suffered but we managed to pull off successful events. And here I would like to thank the Grinrod team; and especially Lee Hamblin from Innovational Consulting. He opened his kitchen to us - this helped under, somewhat, trying circumstances.

This month I have decided to share the soufflé omelette with spicy lamb, cheese and sour cream from the Midlands Eggs sub stand. It was the recipe I heard most requested and I’m confident you will enjoy creating it for family and friends.

The weekend resulted in a huge growth curve for all the students. It was a demanding and tiring time and I’m enormously proud of the professional manner that they tackled each task presented. These aspiring chefs started the course in January and by September they had costed, ordered, prepped, organised equipment, set up their stands, presented their food, worked extremely hard the entire weekend and broke down their stands. All this with not whimper – not in my earshot, anyway!

Explore my website to find out more about my women's chef range - men's to come shortly; remember Baking with Jackie CameronJackie Cameron Cooks At Home and all my foodie adventures. I always look forward to hearing from you so send an email to: jackie@jackiecameron.co.za

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All Photos taken and styled by:
Cheri Kustner, one of my present Students and made by Brynn Enslin.