On the eve of Eat Out’s 20th anniversary, the restaurant publication and Awards body has announced major changes to its restaurant awards for 2018. The restructuring follows the letting go of long-standing Eat Out co-ordinator Abigail Donnelly earlier this year.
Eat Out has announced that Chef Margot Janse, formerly of The Tasting Room at Le Quartier Français in Franschhoek, will be the ‘judging convenor of the 2018 Eat Out Mercedes-Benz Restaurant Awards. As the judges will remain anonymous, Janse will become the face of the rigorous judging process that determines the Top 20. Her role will be critical in maintaining integrity and consistency across the panel, serving as a touchstone for the judges, and providing feedback to restaurants’, according to the Eat Out Media statement.
Chef Margot said about her appointment: ‘I’m incredibly excited about this opportunity, not just because I get to eat at all the top restaurants in the country, but also because the Eat Out Restaurant Awards carry a great responsibility in the development of the culinary scene in South Africa. I believe that with my in-depth knowledge and experience I will be able to contribute positively to this process. New Media Managing Director Aileen Lamb, publisher of Eat Out, says that Margot has helped shape the South African food industry.
Eat Out has also announced that Zola Nene and Kholeka Kumalo will be joining the Eat Out editorial team, reporting to Editor-in-chief Anelde Greeff, Cape Town and Johannesburg restaurant editors, respectively. ‘They will become Eat Out’s eyes and ears on the ground – visiting restaurants, talking to chefs, eating and reviewing, and gathering news stories’.
Eat Out describes Zola Nene’s background as follows: she has been a reviewer for Eat Out for the past two years, has experience in the catering industry, is a former resident chef on the Expresso Morning Show, a food stylist for various publications, and a published cookbook author.
Kholeka Kumalo has also been part of Eat Out’s team of reviewers for the past two years. She has worked at publications like House and Leisure, The Herald, the Sunday Times Fashion Weekly, The Edit, and Home Weekly. She embodies the modern Johannesburg insider with a keen eye on the ever-changing restaurant scene, says Eat Out.
Eat Out has justified its planned changes to reflect that ‘we never rest on our laurels’, and that the addition of the three new women team members ‘is part of our evolution’.
In announcing last year that the Eat Out judges would remain anonymous, the latest Eat Out awards media announcement appears to contradict this. Neither of the two regional team members appear to be regular restaurant goers.
Chris von Ulmenstein, WhaleTales Blog: www.chrisvonulmenstein.com/blog Tel +27 082 55 11 323 Twitter:@Ulmenstein Facebook: Chris von Ulmenstein Instagram: @Chris_Ulmenstein