Are you a South African chef success story waiting to happen?
hotelschool | 12 January 2011
The world is full of celebrity chefs and household names we’ve come to know and love (mostly via DSTV). Often we aspire to become like international chefs or foodies. Did you know we have our fair share of amazing chefs and respected foodies here in sunny SA? Check out these entrepreneurial Saffas who deserve a hat tip for all they’ve achieved.
Justin Bonello is a presenter and producer of popular international TV show “Cooked”. The bio on his website puts it well: “Cook, traveller and lover of life Justin Bonello has done the very thing we all dream of – taking the things he cares most deeply about and making the world revolve around them…Justin has combined his three favourite things – Southern Africa, food and friends – into his daily work…if you can call it that.” Basically, Justin and his friends travel all over Southern Africa to the most beautiful and remote corners imaginable to cook, eat, and have a blast there.
Jackie Cameron is the executive chef at Hartford House in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands. The 5* boutique hotel is located on the prestigious Summerhill horse stud. Jackie is surprisingly young for what she’s achieved and the reputation she’s built. After earning her qualification from Christina Martin’s School of Food and Wine she spent two years at Mount Grace Country House and Spa in Magaliesberg. In 2002, at the age of 20, she moved to Hartford House as executive chef. Since then, Hartford House has appeared regularly on Eat Out’s Top 10 list of restaurants in KZN, been named as one of South Africa’s top 100 restaurants by Wine magazine, and Jackie’s been voted one of SA’s top 10 young chefs by SA Tourism.
Justine Drake is a food editor of note. She’s very well-known and respected in South African food media circles and has worked for or contributed to countless magazines and publications. At present she edits Fresh Living, (Pick n Pay’s in-house food magazine), Shape, and Discovery magazines. Justine’s claims to fame also include cookbooks, TV shows, radio appearances and freelance food styling.
Ina Paarman’s incredibly successful food product range started out in a converted garage in Cape Town. Today it’s worth millions and the business operates out of a factory. Ina studied home economics after school. She then travelled, taught, lectured and started her own cookery school. The school, Ina’s Kitchen, become so popular she didn’t have enough time to teach all her prospective students! At the same time she developed her first product range. Ina was also food editor of Femina magazine, wrote a regular column for Die Burger, hosted TV cookery programs and published cookbooks. Her product ranges have continued to develop and today they’re available at major retail stores including Spar and Pick n Pay.
Well, South Africa’s definitely got talent. Justin Bonello, Jackie Cameron, Justine Drake and Ina Paarman are only four of the many inspirational figures in SA food circles. Do you have the vision and passion to impact the food industry in South Africa?