Kwizeen. He was in charge of the entire kitchen set-up. From start to finish this was a fantastic experience. In 10 minutes we got our soup out for 500 people!
Working with all these professionals made the task an absolute pleasure — a brilliant milestone in my foodie career.
The awards were emotional for many restaurant teams. More than ever before, I believe the chefs in South Africa are striving for greatness — every day. The levels of creativity are inspirational. So, getting called up on stage as the number five restaurant in the country was pretty astonishing. Especially considering where we are based and where we have come from.
This was a true team effort. Every staff member wanted the award as badly as I did. Elaine and I have been the only qualified chefs in the hotel kitchen for many years and I’m always amazed at what the team — from the scullery women to the kitchen helpers and the waitrons — put out on a day-to-day basis.
Loyalty and dedication are part of each member’s make up and it’s what gets me up in the morning.
This brings me to my birthday, and those readers who follow my column know birthdays are an occasion for me.
So, this year I insisted on celebrating very locally to ensure the Hartford House kitchen team could, at some part of the day, join me in commemorating my special day as well as the end of a hard-working year.
Sapore in Nottingham Road popped straight to mind for a long, lazy, festive day. The restaurant is owned by my friends Andy Bainborough and Geoff Combrinck.
It’s a casual eatery, and sitting outside sharing a bottle of bubbles with my mates on a Sunday afternoon conjures up such happy memories for me. Sapore has recently opened a hip-and-happening bar alongside the restaurant.
I wish I had more available time to visit there ‘cos it’s ultra cool. My kind of place to just kuier…
The menu includes something for all palates; from sushi and pizza to salads and pastas. Sapore’s owners have happily parted with a few of their recipes to tantalise your palates this month.
Elaine, my sous chef, recommends Sapore’s Chinese chicken. Elaine is my rock, my constant, my right and left hand. She knows me inside and out, understands my craziness and deep desires — and if she says it’s good you know it is delicious.
Add Tempura vegetable for an interesting twist or serve on its own with a dipping sauce — both are tasty combinations.
Bread of any sort is my weakness so a Sapore ciabatta is just right for me.
Bruschetta is simply delicious when served freshly crisp with Mediterranean toppings. This is often my order at Sapore when I want to fill the gap between meals. As I’ve already said Sapore is a place you can chill out with mates — any time.
Every chef/restaurant has a unique pesto recipe — and they’re all good. Try Sapore’s as an alternative to mine. We must celebrate eateries that make their own because, I assure you, many restaurants these days buy in a lot of their products. Nothing tastes better than dishes home made with love, rather than commercially manufactured poor cousins!
Pole-caught tuna fish cakes are scrumptious and this dish adheres to Sassi (South African Sustainable Seafood Initiative).
We only serve green-listed fish at Hartford House — nothing on the orange/red list because we are conscientious about conserving the status of over-exploited seafood.
To find out more visit: www.wwf.org.za/sassi; and to check the status of any fish, text its name to 079 499 8795 and you’ll receive the answer. Save this number and sms “the fish of the day” when dining out, you will be surprised and shocked at what some restaurants are selling.
Serve the Sapore tuna fish cakes with a sweet honey and ginger sauce. This promises to impress your guests.
Here’s to happy celebrations at Sapore with your friends and family. If you haven’t been — visit soon. I wish I had more social time with my family, friends and the Hartford House team — they all mean the world to me.
Enjoy cooking up a Sapore storm! • Send comments and food-related questions to firstname.lastname@example.org • Visit www.jackiecameron.co.za to find out more about my women’s chef range, Jackie Cameron Cooks at Home
• 500 g cherry tomatoes. • Basil leaves. • One red onion. • Olive oil. Take four slices of the ciabatta you made earlier and toast well on a hot griddle on both sides. Slice the cherry tomatoes, dice the red onions and tear the basil, and...