I enjoyed seeing ‘Burnt’, a movie about an American chef chasing the third Michelin star for his London restaurant, but I was as anxious as his staff about winning the additional star! It provides an excellent perspective on what happens in top restaurant kitchens and dining rooms, and how Continue reading →
Last week Eat Out dropped the bombshell that it is changing its ‘Best Of‘ awards, awarding an award in 10 categories (five of them new), in each of our country’s provinces, making it a total of 90 ‘Best of‘ awards! The method of selecting the ‘Best of‘ winners has changed dramatically, making the new winners of 2015 incomparable to those of the past four years! It appears to stem from Eat Out‘s desperation to be national, and not to be criticized for being so Cape-dominant in its awards. It makes a mockery of what the Eat Out awards stand for!
Almost three weeks ago Eat Out announced the shocking news that it had separated the Eat Out Top 10 Restaurant Awards from the ‘Best Of‘ awards, the latter awards to be presented in October already, in Cape Town and in Johannesburg. Given the news of the award base of what they are now calling Eat Out Mercedes-Benz Best Everyday Eateries Awards Continue reading →
The Eat Out Top 10 Restaurant Awards event is a highlight on the restaurant calendar, held for the 17th year, and at Thunder City for the first time last night. The results surprised, with one heavyweight chef sliding right off the Top 10 list, while a new restaurant made Top 10. Two restaurants which did not make the Top 20 Restaurant shortlist in 2013 flew back into Top 10 last night. Stellenbosch remains the Gourmet Capital of South Africa (4 Top 10 restaurants), followed by 3 in Johannesburg, and 1 each in Cape Town, Franschhoek, and Hermanus. While the award recipients were acceptable, the food was a disaster.
Thunder City is not an ideal venue for a function of this magnitude (800 guests, but advertised as 1000 initially), being difficult to find – the petrol station one block away from the turn-off had no clue where Thunder City is, and there were no signs off Borcherds Quarry Road, other than some posters held by men, only visible in the last minute. I followed a taxi, there being no further signage to Thunder City. We were collected from the VIP parking by a Mercedes-Benz shuttle van, and I arrived just as the event started, Chef Pete Goffe-Wood doing a tribute to Chef Bruce Robertson, who passed away two weeks ago. The lighting was poor for Continue reading →
It’s the highlight of the restaurant industry tonight, and 1000 restaurant staff, food lovers, suppliers, and media will be at Thunder City to salute and celebrate the Mercedes-Benz Eat Out Top 10 Restaurants.
It must be one of the most oddball years for the Mercedes-Benz Eat Out Restaurant Awards 2014, the goalposts changing in August and September, as more and more Top 20 calibre chefs left their restaurants of employ, to join other restaurants, or to open their own establishments. Some Eat Out judges had already been sent to evaluate potential Top 20 candidate restaurant before the chef departures were announced, wasting time and money for New Media Publishing and its judges Abigail Donnelly (Editor of Eat Out), Andy Fenner (Frankie Fenner Meat Merchants, supplier to a number of Top 20 restaurants, a Continue reading →
Eat Out has just announced its Top 20 list, communicated very oddly (and inconveniently) by individual Tweet to each of the Top 20 restaurants. As can be expected, there are some surprise additions and omissions on the list. Stellenbosch and Cape Town are in direct competition, with six Top 20 Finalist Restaurants each. The 2014 Eat Out Mercedes-Benz Top 10 Restaurant Awards will be presented on Sunday 16 November.
New entrants to the list are La Mouette, The Restaurant at Newton Johnson, The Pot Luck Club, and The White House at Dear Me. The latter restaurant’s addition to the list is a surprise, given that it is only open twice a week, on Thursday and Friday evenings. Eat Out judge Andy Fenner supplying the restaurant from his down-in-the-dungeon Frankie Fenner Meat Merchants ‘butchery‘ on Church Street makes this nomination a conflict of interest!
Returnees to the list, after being eliminated last year, are Mosaic at The Orient and Terroir.
Omissions from the list, surprisingly, are Burrata (Best Italian restaurant last year), Indochine (very good score in Top 20 last year), Azure at The Twelve Apostles Hotel & Spa, Equus at Cavalli, The Restaurant at Grande Provence, Springfontein Eats, and for many, The Foodbarn.
* Ineligibilty due to chef changes are Delaire Graff Restaurant, Camphors at Vergelegen, Mondiall, Pierneef à La Motte, Hartford House, and Babylonstoren, as well as La Colombe, due to its venue change and long closure as a result.
Last month we asked if Eat Out had enough Top 20 Chefs to fill its list, given that six previous Top 20 restaurants have had chef changes in the past few months.
The Eat Out Top 20 Restaurant list is as follows: Continue reading →
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 Continue reading →
In the past week three further Top 20 Restaurant candidate chefs have announced their resignation, making the restaurants at which they work ineligible to be nominated for the 2014 Eat Out Top 20 Restaurant shortlist. This year is the most volatile we have ever seen as far as top restaurant chef departures go, opening up the opportunity for a fresh 2014 Eat Out Top 10 Restaurant Awards list.
The latest chef resignations are the following:
* Chef Oliver Cattermole left Mondiall Kitchen & Bar two weeks ago, today joining the Leeu Collection as its Executive Chef for its five star Dassenberg Estate hotel and Rusthof Country House in Franschhoek, both opening next year. Chef Oliver has worked locally at Dash at the Queen Victoria Hotel, the Le Franschhoek hotel, and Mondiall, as well as internationally at Ivy Restaurant, La Gavroche, Novelli, and at Cannizaro House hotel.
* Chef Brad Ball, who helped open Bistro Sixteen82 at Steenberg, leaves in two weeks to start up what sounds like a collective of three restaurants at Pedlars on the Bend in Constantia
* Chef Christiaan Campbell leaves Delaire Graff Estate, after opening up the main restaurant more than Continue reading →
* In honour of Mandela Day last Friday, and the launch of the new DVD of the ‘Lego‘ movie, a collection of limited edition Lego figurines of local presenters, including Gareth Cliff, Bonang Matheba (ex Metro FM), Lee-Roy Wright (SABC3 presenter), DJ Fresh (5FM), and Casper Lee (actor Spud 3) has been created. A set of three Nelson Mandela mini Lego figurines has also been launched.
* The few women honoured in Cape Town by means of statues is soon to become something of the past, when steel cut-outs of such women luminaries and outspoken leaders as the late Albertina Sisulu, Miriam Makeba, Adelaide Tambo, and Nadine Gordimer are erected along the Fan Walk leading to the Cape Town Stadium in Green Point, a World Design Capital 2014 project called ‘Wonder Women’. Architect Mokena Makeka will make up the steel statues of the women, with a positive and negative image.
Will the resignation of two 2014 Eat Out Top 10 Chefs, with a third to come it is rumoured, make it the easiest hop into the 2015 Eat Out Top 10 Restaurant list ever? While it is a bit early, we speculate as to which new restaurants will make it onto the Eat Out Top 20 and Top 10 Restaurant lists later this year.
Given the strict rule of an Executive Chef having to have worked a full twelve months (November 2013 to October this year) to qualify to get onto the Eat Out Top 20 shortlist, the three restaurants with the departing chefs will not qualify to make Top 20 for the judging in the next two months or so. Hartford House and Pierneef à La Motte should definitely be off the list, and the third Top 10 restaurant will be confirmed shortly (see Postscript below). Chef Chris Erasmus left Pierneef à La Motte a week ago, to open his new restaurant Foliage on the main road of Franschhoek next month, while Chef Jackie Cameron is opening Jackie Cameron’s School of Food and Wine in Hilton in January next year, but leaves at the end of July. The third chef is rumoured to move from the Winelands to Cape Town, to open his own new restaurant, and could not be reached yesterday due to the restaurant being closed on Mondays and Tuesdays. We would not be surprised if a fourth Top 10 restaurant chef makes a move to Cape Town too, given the number of new restaurants opening in the next few months. Continue reading →