Tahila Pillay's Story

Jackie Cameron
Each of the students I enrol at Jackie Cameron School of Food & Wine comes with a unique story.
— Jackie Cameron

I met Tahila Pillay’s mother, Cheryl, a few years back. For a private function, she and her team at The Cake House had made the most on-point cake design replicating a local estate agency that was celebrating a milestone event, here at the school. The detail and precision were truly impressive - testament to their ability to making ‘masterpieces’, perfectly tailored to the customer’s requirements. Our very own ‘Cake Boss’ right here in Pietermaritzburg.  

On our first meeting Cheryl mentioned her daughter’s interest in the culinary industry - and a few years later, here she is.  I knew taking on a student with family in the industry would mean she’d have a good understanding of the course’s demands. Of course, Tahila mentioned her appreciation of desserts and pastries. She, always, has been a picky eater which has left her parents and me amazed at all the combinations she has been willing to try out - throwing herself into everything foodie and opening herself to various food groupings.

Among my favourite dishes are curry and spiced food so Tahila and I often laugh at the fact that the first time she ate curry, in the form of my gourmet bunny chow, was in her first week at the school. I look forward to seeing where her future lies. It could be in a hot kitchen far removed from cake and pastry making – stranger things have happened.

When I requested a recipe for The Witness article, I got what I expected – a macaron.  Remember there is a misconception regarding a macaroon and a macaron. A macaroon is a coconut-twirl biscuit. A macaron is a colourful, French, meringue-based confection.

“This recipe is special to me because making macarons was one of my first responsibilities in our family business,” explains Tahila. “It allowed me to spend time in the kitchen with my mom, which was the highlight of my school years. I enjoy making these little delights almost as much as I enjoy eating them!” 

And that’s so true – ‘the queen of macarons’ does have a noticeably sweet tooth. Please try Tahila’s recipe and send us your opinion.  She has made not a few hundred, but a few thousand over the years. 

This has been a memorable month with students - who are still students; and will be for another few months - getting offered employment at their work placements. Past students are deciding to take on the world - some are overseas living their foodie dreams, others have been promoted, and most inspiring of all, is that every past student is still in the food industry.

I’m sure you will appreciate how my heart explodes when past students pop in for a visit and share their foodie stories with present students. And so… a ‘family’ is created.

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: TAHILA PILLAY

All Photos taken by:
Karen E Photography