Meet Jacqueline Naicker, new head of Capsicum's Boksburg campus.
Meet Jacqueline Naicker, recently appointed principal of the Boksburg campus of Capsicum Culinary Studio. Naicker's appointment marks the fifth woman to head up one of the school's six campuses, a fitting announcement then for Women's Month!
Despite the ongoing hardships and bleak short term outlook for the industry, given the stringent lockdown regulations both locally and abroad, Naicker – who lives in Mondeor – is optimistic about the hospitality industry going forward (“There will always be a food and hospitality industry”) and shares her recipe for a simple but delicious two-ingredient dough.
Tell us a bit about yourself:
My career is rooted in a passion for education and training. Having been an educator, a head of department, a deputy principal and a school principal, I felt I had exhausted the challenges at school level. I then lectured in business administration and management at Boston Business College and then took on the position of General Manager at Damelin Vaal Campus. That was certainly a challenge but extremely rewarding. I was offered an opportunity to manage five college sites as a project manager to manage their programmes. My new challenge is as principal of Capsicum Culinary Studio Boksburg which I am incredibly excited about.
I am an easy going, fun loving individual. I enjoy visiting art galleries and museums. Reading is a passion, though I hardly have much time for it now with my new role taking up most of my day. I am fascinated by the human desire to survive at all costs regardless of circumstance. I always cheer the underdog, possibly because I have seen so many students who thought they would amount to nothing achieve great success because someone believed in them. Time spent with friends and family around a braai is my idea of relaxing.
What do you believe gives Capsicum an edge over its competitors?
The school provides a quality experience that encompasses teaching knowledge, skills and values in in some of the best campus settings in South Africa. It is a people centred environment, that outclasses the competition.
Why do you think so many Capsicum alumni have been successful?
Our system allows them to develop under some of the best chef lecturers in the country.
The core values required in the industry is inculcated at the onset of a student’s studies. We believe in extending potential and creativity.
What advice do you give to students?
Boldly take on the challenge and have fun. If you can dream it you can do it.
What advice would you give to a young, ambitious chef who is just starting out in the industry?
There are far more pleasures than challenges. The world needs innovative, exciting individuals who are capable of redefining taste. Be prepared to challenge and be challenged. Its hard work but the rewards are great.
What advice do you have for students during this Coronavirus pandemic which has hit the sector hard and has only recently reopened?
Be encouraged that there will always be a food and hospitality industry. How it evolves in future, depends on you.
What are some of your favourite food programmes to watch on television?
MasterChef, Diners, Drive-ins and Divesand Chopped.
Who was your biggest food influence growing up?
My Dad. He loved cooking and entertaining. His menu was always different and always delicious.
What are you most proud of?
Making a difference in students lives, encouraging and motivating them.
What is your food philosophy?
Fat is flavour
What kinds of foods do you think are underrated?
What do you believe are the latest food trends?
Fusion of different cuisines
Do you do the cooking at home and what is on the menu?
Yes, more often than not. Indian, English, Italian cuisine mostly.
What is your favourite dessert?
I love absolutely anything chocolate, So I would say a good chocolate mousse or a rich chocolate ice cream with toasted almonds and a hot fudge sauce.
Your favourite kitchen tools?
My grinder for herbs and spices
Is there anything you don’t eat?
Chicken feet and offal
What other chefs have inspired you?
Guy Fieri, Bobby Flay and Nigella Lawson
Who are your foodie icons?
Jamie Oliver and Gordon Ramsay
The one dish you still want to master?
The perfect meringue
Your favourite three ingredients
Rosemary, garlic, cream
Can you also share with us your go-to recipe?
The 2 Ingredient Dough
1 1/2 cups self-rising flour (it has to be self-raising)
I cup plain Greek yogurt
Sift the flour and add the yogurt. Mix and knead into a smooth soft dough.
It is excellent for pizza bases.