SECRET DINER: Welcome to the highest of high teas
Where: Old Howick Road, Hilton
The Secret Diner was invited to a fabulous high tea as part of the graduation of young chefs at the province’s acclaimed Jackie Cameron School of Food and Wine.
And what a feast it was! If that is what Cameron’s young graduates can produce, we’re in for some great chefs in the future. The local public turned out to witness such progress and to taste the results, of course. All washed down with bubbly (or iced tea, if you preferred).
Divided over two Saturdays, each student - five on each day - provided 15 tantalising dishes. They had to decide the theme for their tables, and organise the decor and arrange the flowers.
And so we had a Gatsby-style prohibition table where many of the dishes were secretly laced. We had a Mad Hatter’s tea party, and a Zulu high tea where beautiful pastries and sandwiches were laid out on hand carved Zulu meat platters. In the pagoda was a farmhouse style high tea with bunches of country roses, and yet another presented on wooden boards with masses of roses.
The students could create their own menus, but certain things the table had to contain - a rich dough, a sponge, puff pastry, two different types of breads, small cakes, a milk based dessert, a traditional SA offering the list goes on.
Boy, were we spoilt, from grilled duck breast on brioche sandwiches topped with sautéed leeks, to smoked salmon profiteroles, from a perfect milk tart to a tantalising hazelnut meringue cake .
Little quiche Lorraines, tasty sausage rolls, dense chocolate brownies and blueberry bite-size muffin cakes were all on the menu. The baked individual apple crumbles were one of the best I had tasted. Even the pina colada sago pudding with fresh pineapple was interesting. And some of the koeksisters would set a church fête alight.
Well done to the students who slaved for almost three days in the kitchen to produce a feast. All that hard work was worth it.
Food: 4 ½
Service: 4 ½
Ambience: 4 ½The Independent on Saturday