Eat Out has announced the names of its six ‘celebrated chefs’ cooking at its 2014 Eat Out Mercedes-Benz Restaurant Awards Gala Dinner on 16 November at new (for Eat Out) venue Thunder City. It has also revealed that five judges will select the Top 10 Restaurants for 2015.
In the past the chef selection for the Gala Dinner has been a sure predictor of Eat Out Top 10 restaurant selection, but when this became too obvious, Eat Out selected a mix of chefs who made the Top 10 Restaurant list, with some that did not. We have predicted the Eat Out Top 20 Restaurant shortlist for this year. The ‘decorated chefs’ cooking the dinner are:
* Neil Jewell of Bread & Wine (a weird Top 20 Restaurant finalist last year), which will definitely not make Top 10.
* David Higgs of five hundred (last year’s Chef of the Year and the restaurant came second on the Top 10 list), which will definitely make Top 10 – can Eat Out editor Abigail Donnelly let go of her ‘darling’ Luke Dale-Roberts, and give the top spot to Higg’s restaurant??!!
* George Jardine of Jardine at Jordan (number 6 on the Top 10 Restaurant list last year) will certainly remain on the Top 10 list, despite being the most low-key of all the Top 10 restaurant chef candidates.
* PJ Vadas of the yet-to-be opened The Hog House (number 8 on Top 10 list last year whilst at Camphors at Vergelegen), a safe choice as he cannot be on the Top 10 list this year.
* Bertus Basson of Overture (number 7 on Top 10 list last year), is a likely Top 10 candidate, despite his Reuben-esque popping-up and popping-in here, there, and everywhere, and spending time away from his restaurant as judge for The Ultimate Braai Master, and at other events.
* Vanessa Marx of Dear Me (Rising Star award last year) is not likely to make the Top 10 Restaurant list yet, and there is a conflict of interest anyway with Eat Out judge Andy Fenner of Frankie Fenner Meat Merchants supplying the restaurant’s meat! Her dessert at the recent Cape Leopard Trust Charity Lunch was a huge disappointment.
Wines will be supplied by Nederburg and Boschendal, and Grolsch will be served too.
The ‘…identity of the five judges (will be) kept secret‘ until the Gala Dinner, Eat Out writes, but it is rumoured that the judging team (increased by one) will be Abigail Donnelly, Andy Fenner (despite supplying many top restaurants, and doing dinner collaborations with them), Garth Stroebel, Arnold Tanzer (an Eat Out judge for many year before Donnelly fired the previous panel, Chef Arnold included!), and horror of horrors MasterRobertsons judge Reuben Robertsons Riffel!
We cannot wait for the Eat Out Mercedes-Benz Restaurant Awards Gala Dinner!
POSTSCRIPT 25/9: The restaurant in Hermanus at which I lunched today, a definite Eat Out Top 20 candidate, confirmed that the Eat Out judges Abigail Donnelly, Andy Fenner, Garth Stroebel, Arnold Tanzer, and Reuben Robertsons Riffel have all been to eat there in the past month, thereby confirming our prediction of the judging panel.