Staff Profile – Jamaine Govender

Jamaine started at Fern Hill as a student in 2013. She spent her early years watching her mum cook various meals and treats which first kindled her love for food and cooking. Whilst her mum allowed her to help out in the kitchen, Jamaine made mistakes and mess-ups – as every good chef does – and persevered through. After school, she studied software engineering for eighteen months, but still found herself drawn to the culinary scene. She decided to stop her studies in the IT world to pursue her passion and joined us here at Fern Hill Hotel and Training College.

During her two years as a student with us, Jamaine learned to hone her skills and really took it upon herself to progress and improve her practical ability to a very impressive level. Jamaine was awarded student of the year for 2014, which is one of the highest accolades we as a training school can bestow upon our learners. Due to Jamaine’s maturity and passion, I found it very difficult to let her go as she had become such an integral part of our kitchen and contributed in so many ways. Jamaine had many job offers for various places but none were completely suitable for what she wanted, which was to be in the kitchen fulfilling her passion every day. I suggested that she stay on with us until the right job came around so that she didn’t need to rush into something which wasn’t perfect for her and it was during this time that I realised that Jamaine would be an amazing attribute to any professional kitchen.

I have always had the philosophy that students must move on from the hotel once they’ve graduated as the transition from student to staff member is often one which doesn’t really work too well at the same institution. But Jamaine made herself an exception and she proved that she was truly driven to succeed in the industry and this is why I offered her the position of Sous Chef at Fern Hill Hotel. As she has been trained solely by me and my staff, I trust her methodology and she knows what I expect from the busy kitchen we work in. She has also been invaluable at tutoring and assisting in training the new students at a level which is often over-looked by many training institutions. Jamaine’s next step is to become an accredited assessor for City and Guilds and CATHSSETA through us. I can’t wait to see how Jamaine, Mums (my Executive Sous Chef) and I work as a closely-knit team and push the limits of our kitchen to new realms of success.

See below Jamaine’s recipe for Crispy Stacked Roti with Confit Duck and Blue Cheese Sauce, Roast Tomatoes and Mum’s Fig and Bor Pickle.

Staff Profile - JamaineFor the roti (makes 8)

1 cup flour
1 tbsp oil
Hot water to form a dough
1 tsp salt
½ cup melted butter
Extra flour for dusting

Method:

Sift the flour into a medium bowl and add the oil and salt. Mix it until it resembles bread crumbs, then add hot water to form a dough and knead until smooth.
Leave the dough to rest for 5 minutes and then divide into 8 equal round balls.
Roll out to create a disc with a little flour for dusting.
Toast in a hot pan whilst spreading melted butter on both sides.
Place the toasted rotis on a paper towel and keep covered.

Duck filling:

1 confit duck breast
4 cherry tomatoes
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp blue cheese
¼ cup cream
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tbsp honey
Rocket

Method:

Heat the duck by either vacuuming it and placing it in hot water, or by wrapping tightly with cling wrap.
Slice the tomatoes in half and drizzle with balsamic and olive oil. Place into a hot oven for about 8 minutes until blistered.
For the sauce, heat the cream in a small saucepan, add the blue cheese and honey and whisk until melted.
Slice the duck breast up and add to the sauce
Layer the rocket, duck and roasted tomatoes between the crisp rotis and serve.

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Alex Poltera

There was probably no way on Earth that Midlands Chef Alex Poltera was not going to end up in a kitchen. Growing up in a household of accomplished and award-winning chefs was bound to have some effect on his upbringing. From a young age, Alex would spend family holidays catching fresh seafood along the Wild Coast.

Author: Alex Poltera

There was probably no way on Earth that Midlands Chef Alex Poltera was not going to end up in a kitchen. Growing up in a household of accomplished and award-winning chefs was bound to have some effect on his upbringing. From a young age, Alex would spend family holidays catching fresh seafood along the Wild Coast.

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