On Friday New Media Publishing shared the shock news that its Eat Out Editor and head judge Abigail Donnelly is stepping down and away from Eat Out at the end of this month, to concentrate solely on her involvement with TASTE magazine, published for Woolworths, in a new enlarged role of Foods Marketing Creative Manager in addition to her role as Food Editor of the magazine! This comes after a promise made by Eat Out last year that no change in the judging panel is to take place, justifying why it had kept the judging panel anonymous for the first time! 

This is the Eat Out announcement! And it proves that anything that the publication states publicly should be taken with a pinch of salt, pardon the pun! 

We have an exciting development to announce about SA’s biggest restaurant accolades, which includes the much-anticipated Top 10 list. The panel of judges for future Eat Out Mercedes-Benz Restaurant Awards will be completely anonymous. This comes after Abigail Donnelly announces that she is stepping down as Eat Out editor and chief judge on 31 January 2018, after 12 years on the brand.

This move allows Eat Out the opportunity to follow international trends by appointing a judging panel that is completely anonymous, such as those of the World’s 50 Best Restaurants and the Michelin Guide. Members of the panel will be selected by the Eat Out team and will have experience and expertise as chefs, educators in the food or hospitality industry, expert patrons with international dining experience, food critics, hoteliers and/or winemakers. The judges’ identities will not be revealed while they remain on the panel, and the results will be adjudicated by Eat Out and verified by auditing firm A S Pocock to ensure consistency.

Abigail Donnelly will remain at New Media Publishing as food editor of Woolworths TASTE, with a greater focus on her career in food styling and recipe development as she takes on a larger role with Woolworths as Foods Marketing Creative Manager. She says, “Eat Out means the world to me. I will miss the chefs and their brigades, and, of course, the Eat Out team, but I cannot wait to see the next chapter unfold and take this industry, which I am so passionate about, to new levels.”

Eat Out has always evolved to keep up with international trends and the demands of both consumers and the restaurant industry. We look forward to this new chapter in the South African food space’.

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