Hilton Festival offers brand-new yum food

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Best you arrive hungry at the Hilton Festival, which runs from September 15-17, as there is a new dining option and some more unusual casual food outlets.

Jackie Cameron whose students will be staffing the Bistro at the Hilton Arts Festival - Pic by Chris Allen.
Jackie Cameron whose students will be staffing the Bistro at the Hilton Arts Festival – Pic by Chris Allen.

The Hilton Festival will offer a range of dining options for festival-goers again this year – from fabulous Steam Punk coffee, to unhurried Bistro dining to gentle music, to the lively Castle Lite SAB Beer tent with a myriad food stall options and live music, to interesting healthy vegetarian fare.

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“Food and Festival go hand in hand,” considers Festival Director, Sue Clarence. “We continually reinvent our food selection and dining themes to include new options and culinary service providers. This year we are particularly delighted that Jackie Cameron is taking over the Bistro area to offer a full bar, interesting food and live music that will close when the last customer leaves,”

Hilton festival endeavours to offer an overall all-encompassing festival experience – so not only is what happens inside the theatre venues a priority, but what happens outside the formal programme is important as well. To this end, the festival selection of art, crafts and food are being constantly reconsidered and repositioned to ensure a fresh new look every year.

“The Caste Lite SAB Festival Marquee (commonly referred to as the Beer Tent) is highly popular and serves as a great hub of the festival. This will continue as normal with a stage featuring a selection of bands and upbeat live music that festinos love.

Jackie Cameron School of Food and Wine - Pic by Sally Chance
Jackie Cameron School of Food and Wine – Pic by Sally Chance

“However, the time has come for a quieter, more sedate spot with a “wine bar and jazz” type feel. Jackie Cameron School of Food and Wine, based in Hilton, whose food has become a sensation in its own right, has taken on the challenge. The Bistro will be a fully-licensed eatery with gentle live music that allows conversation, situated within the Crookes Block. Fabulous Terbodore Coffee will also be part of the Bistro complex. For those not in the know, this is the courtyard that overlooks the Amphitheatre and the Chapel. It will be weather proof, warm, friendly and will offer a range of more select foods,” said Clarence.

Midlands-born Jackie Cameron and her team of 12 culinary students will be resident throughout the festival. Cameron’s Hilton brief is threefold: to give the students hands-on real-time valuable experience; to have an opportunity for Cameron to showcase her favourite dishes and suppliers and to feed festival guests with beautiful quality food to keep them warm!

Jackie Cameron School of Food and Wine - Pic by Sally Chance
Jackie Cameron School of Food and Wine – Pic by Sally Chance
Some of the students from the Jackie Cameron School of Food and Wine who will be staffing the Bistro at the Hilton Arts Festival - Pic by Kate Martens.
Some of the students from the Jackie Cameron School of Food and Wine who will be staffing the Bistro at the Hilton Arts Festival – Pic by Kate Martens.

Cameron has set a challenge to her students: they will be given key ingredients such as eggs, flour etc, and be encouraged to be creative in creating dishes with these ingredients as focal points. So those students who have eggs as their ingredients may choose to offer an all-day breakfast menu; those with flour will be creative with cakes, baked- goods and tea time treats etc.

Cameron is delighted to be paired with Midlands Free Range Eggs who will be providing their farm fresh eggs for this project. Also on board are Champagne Valley Stonemill Flour, Oryx Salt, Blue Orange Chickens and Gourmet Greek.

There will be two live music options for diners to enjoy some live vibes while they eat and drink: The Bistro will have a full line-up of schmoozey music: Featuring Rowan Stuart; Beat-Route; George Mari and John Ellis among others. In the Beer Tent on the stage will be the Bi-focals; the much-loved Hairy Legged Lentil Eaters; a drum line and jazz band.

Scattered on the campus at regular intervals will be a selection of refreshment stations for easy bites in-between shows: festival new-comers Midlands’s own Steam Punk coffee will be percolating their own signature brew. There will be other coffee options too on campus.

Out to Lunch – the cosy distinctive painted fairy-lit caravan offers wholesome and healthy vegetarian options; and in the Beer Tent food stalls offer a selection of eats – from pizzas to curry, from pancakes to burgers – many of them run by volunteers from Midlands and Maritzburg charities and NGOs as part of their fund-raising initiatives.

For more info visit www.hiltonfestival.co.za or contact the Festival Office on 033 383 0127.

The festival would not be possible without the generous support of Hilton College, Tiso Black Star Group, Grindrod Bank, Black Coffee, DWR, PWC, Bidvest Car Rental, Indwe Risk Services, Assitej South Africa, Loud Crowd, Sappi, Redlands Hotel, Zultrans, KZN Dept of Arts & Culture, BASA, Castle Lite, Maritzburg Sun, Caxton

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