Ruvarashe Matsika - The Quiet One

Ruvashree Matsika
Jackie Cameron
With 26 internationally judged distinctions, our graduation a few weeks back was testament to the high standard we demand at Jackie Cameron School of Food & Wine. The graduates have all been employed, and I am confident that they are well prepared for their chosen careers in the demanding, yet exciting, culinary industry.
— Jackie Cameron

This remarkable feat is an achievement the current, 2019/2020/2021 intake has taken on as a challenge.

Graduation was a celebratory affair with guest speaker, Chef Margot Janse, formerly of Le Quartier Francais fame, offering words of wisdom, which I’m sure will feed the graduates’ hungry minds. Having won numerous local and international awards, Margot has turned her focus to her charity: Isabelo, that feeds hungry minds because “no child can learn on an empty stomach”.  Founded in 2009, 1 500 disadvantaged children in Franschoek receive a daily meal. Margot is a great friend and mentor.

The graduates were each gifted with numerous useful tools such as an Oryx Salt, Homewood hand-crafted cutting boards, and a Jackie Cameron School of Food & Wine branded Wonderbags, courtesy Sarah Collins, as well as a bespoke little Chef Dlamini, crafted by Steve and Trayci Tompkins - each one individually made and unique to the student. South African art at its best.

Sarah Farrington and Michelle Engelbrecht tied for The Culinary Equipment Company Student of the Year. Zandy Armstrong, only one percent behind Sarah and Michelle, was highly commended. Michelle was also presented with the Waterford Wine Award, as was Heather Lee Holliday because this too was a tie. Honours also went to Nkululeko Mlotshwa, who took the Champagne Valley Best Baker; Zandy Armstong, who won the Geochem Hygiene and Kitchen Management Award; Sarah Farrington was also presented with the Del Trade Top Patisserie Chef Award and got Overall Top Cake Icing Award. Courtney Stuart was one percent behind Sarah getting highly commended for her pastry prowess. Sarah also took the Elba Overall Practical Student Award; Michelle won Top Ardmore Table Design while Anele Tembe and Zandy Armstrong were highly commended. I’m confident they will all make a positive contribution to the culinary industry. 

The school’s examinations are marked in London and the results are awarded by City & Guilds, London.

Today I’m introducing you to Ruvarashe Matsika, the quietest student in the current group. I am always intrigued by her mannerisms, which are so unique. She says little but, when it comes to practical work, it is clear that she listens a lot. Ruvarashe is from Zimbabwe and, as coincidence would have it, in South Africa she lived next door to former-student Michelle Englebrecht in Wartburg. I’m getting great satisfaction seeing Ruvarashe coming out of her shell and growing in confidence. I, however, must add that when the girls are together in their ‘quarters’, which adjoins my flat, I often hear Ruvarashe’s laughter over everyone else. Managing the students – each a unique personality - is a challenging, yet satisfying, task. They make each intake so different and so interesting.

Ruvarashe, or Rose as the students called her, has chosen to share her family’s sticky banana pudding - perfect for chilly winter days. “The reason it’s one of my favourite desserts is because it is warm, gooey and very delicious - and comforting when it’s cold. This pudding is loved by my family, especially my sisters. I enjoy making it because it’s simple yet utterly amazing to eat,” she says.

sticky banana pudding

The students were in the pastry section of the curriculum and it required that all the students’ pastries beare sold and eaten by guests. This ensures that the quality it up to standard. We, therefore opened our school the following Saturday to guests who had booked in advance. The students served their own cakes and biscuits enjoyed with a glass of Klein Zalze bubbles and Terbodore Coffee - on a first-come-first-served basis.

The next assessment/serving will be on the 17 August 2019 and will showcase the students’ baked dough products. It is exciting for me to see how every year is evolving and how no years are the same. Jackie Cameron School of Food & Wine took many years of planning and organising. It would have been so much easier with a big investor but doing it ‘my way’ gives me the freedom to make changes to benefit the students, ensuring they find their greatness. For details email:

Remember, we’d be pleased to know how well your family and friends enjoyed Ruvarashe’s sticky banana pudding.

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 Cameron - owner of Jackie Cameron School of Food & Wine in Hilton, KZN. For enquires: Email  “Find me on Facebook – Jackie Cameron Cooks at Home, Twitter - @jackie_cameron and Instagram: jackiecameronincolour

Food assistant and recipe developer: RUVARASHE MATSIKA

All Photos taken by:
Karen E Photography