At Jackie Cameron School of Food & Wine’s graduation on 13 July 2019, a grand total of 26 distinctions – as assessed by City & Guilds, London – were awarded to ambitious young chefs.

This comes as little surprise because, in February 2019, at the first FOOD XX Symposium and Awards: Womxn in Food, Jackie Cameron impressed the judges of the category entitled: teachers and mentors dedicated to sharing knowledge and encouraging future innovators – and came away with another award to enhance her already substantial collection.

With renowned chef, Margot Janse the guest speaker, graduation was a memorable affair. She offered words of wisdom to the young chefs, all eager to make their mark in the culinary industry. Having won numerous local and international awards, Janse 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 in the Western Cape receive a daily meal.

Supportive KwaZulu-Natal Midlands suppliers at the event included: Kamberg Esposito Ham, Freshly Pick’d, Blue Orange Farm, Wayfarer Trout, Romesco Olives, Gourmet Greek, Chef Minette Smith representing Sagra Foods and the Chocolate Academy and La Petite France Cheese.

Chef Graduation Jackie Cameron

Top achievers at the 2019 graduation were:

Champagne Valley Best Baker

Nkululeko Mlotshwa who, after his practical experience, has been offered a position back at the Restaurant at Waterkloof Wine Estate in the Western Cape.

Elba Overall Practical Student Award & Del Trade Top Patisserie Chef Award

Sarah Farrington, who has been appointed head chef at Brookdale Health Hydro in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands.

Highly Commended: Courtney Stuart. Inspired by her time at Jason’s Bakery, Courtney will be opening a business venture, called Dough Girl, with her parents, in Durban.

Waterford Wine Award

Heather-Lee Holliday who, after her practical experience, has been offered a position back at Fermier Restaurant in Pretoria.

Michelle Engelbrecht, who will be opening a business with her parents, in Wartburg, KwaZulu-Natal.

Geochem Hygiene and Kitchen Management Award

Zandy Armstrong who, after her practical experience, has been offered a position back at Restaurant Mosaic in Pretoria.

Ardmore Table Design Award

Michelle Engelbrecht, who will be opening a business with her parents, in Wartburg, KwaZulu-Natal.

Highly commended: Anele Tembe and Zandy Armstrong who, after her practical experience, has been offered a position back at Restaurant Mosaic in Pretoria.

The Culinary Equipment Company Student of the Year

Sarah Farrington, who has been appointed head chef at Brookdale Health Hydro in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands.

Michelle Engelbrecht, who will be opening a business with her parents, in Wartburg, KwaZulu-Natal.

Highly commended: Zandy Armstrong who, after her practical experience, has been offered a position back at Restaurant Mosaic in Pretoria.

Brunch at Jackie Cameron
Brunch outlet at Jackie Cameron School

With some of the current graduates going straight into opening their own businesses, Cameron was particularly impressed with the groups’ grasp of the business aspect of the course.

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.

In a message to aspiring chefs Sarah Farrington said: “I studied dietetics for four years and then had the opportunity to study further. After considerable research I found Jackie Cameron School of Food & Wine where I learnt a lot about the practical side of the culinary industry. The course is very intense and covers all aspects of food and wine.

It is internationally accredited so graduates can work anywhere in the world. With so many people in search of work one needs to be a step ahead and I believe this course will open doors wherever you go.”

The current students are extra motivated after witnessing the prize giving. They have seen there is much they can achieve and are inspired to go the extra mile – especially with an ELBA cooker to be won.

Chefs at fountain

Jackie Cameron School of Food & Wine in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands offers a three-year intensive (18 months at the school and 18 months practical-placement anywhere in the country), internationally recognised course with a maximum intake of 15 students. “Hands-on” is Cameron’s philosophy, and “don’t ever give up” her motto. The students work alongside her daily, and the school provides the opportunity to experience all things foodie in a safe and secure environment. Cameron believes there is more to food than working in a top restaurant – locally or internationally.

“I’m enjoying sharing all that I have been fortunate to have learnt – and experienced – with the students,” she says,

adding that her aim is to impart this knowledge, and to equip the students with the skills to “go it alone” with confidence. She is ahead of the game on all levels as she guides students to create a balanced-and-healthy lifestyle in this crazy, but extremely-rewarding, industry.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *