Every year Eat Out seems to change something about its Awards, and this year is no exception. For 2017 Eat Out has decided to increase the shortlist of Restaurants to a Top 30, from which a Top Ten will be recognized at the 17 November Awards ceremony.

Eat Out Restaurant Awards 2017

The Top 30 nominees should be announced shortly, followed by the top 20 countdown from the 20th to the 11th slot, presumably at the event, but this is not clear. The change is justified on the basis of research conducted. Eat Out’s announcement explained: ‘Dining is changing internationally and locally, and we want to acknowledge a greater number of game-changing restaurants. We’re also looking at new rating options for 2018, so we can honour those who are deserving in a new way that’s more in line with international trends’.

New Media MD Aileen Lamb said about the 2017 Eat Out Awards: ‘We’re so excited that we’re recognising even more restaurants this year’. The industry is changing so fast, and Eat Out is evolving with it, always finding new ways to celebrate excellence in food. By aligning more with the latest international trends, we can help grow South Africa’s brilliant culinary talent even further. And we’re delighted that we have partners like Mercedes-Benz with us on this journey’.

The Eat Out website does not explain the process of the selection of the Top 30 restaurant shortlist, nor of the Top 20 or Top 10. For the sake of consistency one would expect the rule of the restaurant to have been open, with the same Head Chef in place, from 1 November 2016 to 31 October 2017. 

The Eat Out website does reveal that the judging panel has increased to five judges this year, headed by Eat Out editor Abigail Donnelly. The judges will remain anonymous, with the exception of Ms Donnelly, so that they can be used for future Awards ceremonies, to maintain ‘greater consistency‘.

The judging scorecard, out of 100 points, has remained pretty much the same as in the past: 

Food (/80)
– Menu composition: Choice, cooking techniques, variety of ingredients, dietary requirements. (/12)
– Ethical awareness: Sourcing of meat, seafood, dairy, eggs and other produce. (/5)
– Food presentation: Visual appeal, fits description, use of plate, garnishes. (/20)
– Food taste: Execution of dish, balance of flavours and textures. (/30)
– Price value: What’s delivered on the plate relative to the price of the dish. Value for money. (/5)
– Wine choice: How many are offered, wine and food pairing, other beverages offered in pairing, knowledge of service staff, value for money. (/8)

Service (/15)
Reservations process, arrival, attitude of staff, knowledge of menu and restaurant, specials, wine matching, dietary requirements, extra mile, billing.

Ambience (/5)
Comfort level, atmosphere, clean linen, cutlery, music, bathroom.

TOTAL (/100)

The Mercedes-Benz Eat Out Restaurant Awards 2017 will be held at GrandWest for the third year running, on Sunday 19 November, starting at 15h00. A change in the Awards event format has been announced too:  ‘The format of the event will change into a three-part celebration. Guests will be welcomed at a reception with MCC before being seated theatre-style for the announcement of the winners. Thereafter they will move into a new space for an immersive food-and-drinks experience, where they will be treated to a flow of mind-blowing bites prepared by some of the country’s top chefs’.

At the Eat Out Restaurant Awards 2017 the following Awards will be presented:

#   Top 10 Restaurants 

#   Eat Out S. Pellegrino Aqua Panna Chef of the Year

#   Eat Out Nespresso Service Excellence Award

#   Eat Out Wine Service Award

#   Eat Out Nederburg Rising Star

#   Lannice Snymam Lifetime Achievement Award

#.   Eat Out Boschendal Style Award

#   Eat Out Retail Capital New Restaurant of the Year

#   Eat Out John Psillos Outstanding Contribution to Service

#.  Eat Out Woolworths Sustainability Award

The Sustainability Award is judged by a separate panel of experts, including Abigail Donnelly, Pavitray Pillay of WWF-SASSI, Sonia Mountford of Eategrity, and Karen Welter of Longtable Project. This award will recognise a restaurant that has made great strides towards being sustainable and sustainably aware. 

Tickets cost R1495, and can be booked at www.nutickets.co.za

Eat Out Best Everyday Eateries

The Eat Out Best Everyday Eateries winners will be announced this month, at ceremonies held in Cape Town and in Johannesburg. Winners will be announced per province, in the following categories: 

Best African Eatery (not awarded in 2016)
Best Asian Eatery
Savanna Best Burger Eatery
Best Bistro
Best Coffee Shop
Best Country-Style Eatery
Best Food Truck (new)
Best Indian Eatery
Best Italian Eatery
Best Mexican Eatery (new)
Best Seafood Eatery (not awarded in 2016)
Tramontina Best Steakhouse
Best Tapas Eatery (new)

The rules and procedure for selecting the winners of the Eat Out Best Everyday Eateries 2017 are summarized below, the evaluation period covering ‘1 October 2016 to 31 August 2017‘, oddly not a full year!:  

Search for nominees for 2017 Eat Out Mercedes-Benz Everyday Eateries!

POSTSCRIPT 16/10: We have posted our prediction of the Eat Out Top 30 for 2017: 

Eat Out Top 30 Restaurant shortlist 2017 : a prediction!

Photograph: Eat Out 2016 Awards. 

Chris von Ulmenstein, WhaleTales Blog: www.chrisvonulmenstein.com/blog Tel +27 082 55 11 323 Twitter:@Ulmenstein Facebook: Chris von Ulmenstein Instagram: @Chris_Ulmenstein