The American Express Platinum Fine Dining Awards were held last night for the 18th year, at the superb event venue The Olive Press at Boschendal. The highest number ever of first-time recipient restaurants received recognition. A total of 53 award-winning restaurants are from the Cape. Continue reading →
Recently Penguin Random Struik had a copy of Chef Jackie Cameron’s new ‘Baking with Jackie Cameron’ Baking book delivered to my home, jam-packed with 80 recipes of her favorite cakes, puddings, pies, and desserts. Continue reading →
It was a surprise that the Rossouw’s by Diners Club International 2016 South African Restaurant Guide was launched on such a low-key level at the Platter’s Wine Guide launch in Cape Town on Thursday evening. They might wish that they hadn’t launched it at all!
Last night (7 September) the American Express Platinum Fine Dining Awards 2016 were presented for Cape Town, the Winelands, and the Garden Route at The Watershed in the V&A Waterfront, a total of 31 awards presented. Last night (14 September) the Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal awards were presented at Katy’s Palace Bar in Johannesburg.
Interesting announcements made during the evening in Cape Town appear to indicate that the Platinum Taste Awards (new name from next year) will take Eat Out head on next year! At the awards event, the name change for next year was announced, as was that the Platinum Taste Awards will introduce seven award categories. It is no longer a criterion for a restaurant to accept Continue reading →
It was a chance biography summary of Anna Trapido that made me pick up that she referred to her relationship with the Diners Club Rossouw’s Restaurants 2015 guide in the past tense. A call to her yesterday confirmed that she is no longer writing reviews for Rossouw’s Restaurants, nor working on its 2016 Guide.
Trapido was quick to confirm that the relationship with JP Rossouw, publisher of the Platter’s Wine Guide and his Rossouw’s Restaurants, ended amicably, and that she is working on a very exciting project, of which she cannot yet reveal the details. She was associated with Rossouw’s Restaurants for just over one year.
One wonders if Trapido, who comes across as a free-spirit, and not a corporate order-taker, was Continue reading →
After a one year absence, the Rossouw’s Restaurant Guide is back, with a new name, new sponsor, new editor, and a new methodology of recognising top restaurants. Restaurants in Cape Town and the Winelands still dominate the 5-star restaurant list by far, with 13 out of 20 restaurants in the Western Cape, out of 300 restaurants evaluated in total!
Yesterday ‘Rossouw’s by Diners Club International 2015 South African Restaurant Guide’ was launched in Johannesburg, now sponsored by Diners Club, the same company also sponsoring the Platter’s by Diners Club 2015 South African Wine Guide. Anna Trapido has been the editor for just more than half a year, writing individual reviews about restaurants on their website, and has compiled the new Guide, awarding twenty restaurants with 5 star ratings nationally, another change, as the Rossouw’s restaurants only achieved a maximum of 3 stars in the past, when it was run by previous owner JP Rossouw. The publication format now matches that of the Platter’s Guide. A 5-star rated restaurant is defined as a ‘consistently superlative restaurant in its category – with no/almost no issues’! To obtain a 5-star rating the restaurant had to achieve a score in excess of 90%, errors in food being unbalanced, or wines and foods not matching, counting against a restaurant, for example. Every element of the restaurant visit, from making the telephonic booking to the departure, was scored. All meals were paid for by Anna’s reviewers, all largely unknown Continue reading →
The Diners Club Winelist Awards for the Western Cape were held at Shimmy Beach Club yesterday, saluting the restaurants in the province, and the standard of their winelist content and presentation. Bushman’s Kloof won best Winelist in the Western Cape. During the course of this week the Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal awards will also be presented.
A judging panel, led by wine judge Dave Hughes, and consisting of Winnie Bowman, Nikki Dumas, Fiona McDonald, and Christine Rudman, evaluated 208 winelists nationally, and 100 from the ‘Cape‘, a province which has not existed for years! Diners Club threw the Western Cape and Eastern Cape into one ‘Cape’ pot in reporting on the results and in handing out the awards yesterday! A substantial number of Western Cape restaurants did not enter the competition this year, down from 96 entries last year to 80 this year.
Odd was the choice of venue, being the Bar section of Shimmy Beach Club, which did not have enough parking for the attendees, some walking for more than 1 km to get to the venue. We were welcomed with a glass of Pongracz, and the food was very meagre, being macaroni cheese croquettes and sushi! There was not enough seating for everyone, in a room which had some round tables, a few chairs and couches, but had no presence in making this function special for the award winners, compared to the venue used at the Vineyard Hotel last year. It also was not a finalist for the Winelist Awards! Very odd was using Anna Trapido as the MC, not generally known to the local restaurant wine stewards and sommeliers, in being the editor of the 2015 ‘Diners Club Rossouws Continue reading →
On Sunday the Sunday Times had a lengthy article, entitled ‘Food Soldiers’, about the blood, sweat, and tears that go into the preparation of ‘fine food’ and the running of good restaurants. The article concluded with a denigration of ‘frikkin’ bloggers‘ by newly renamed Belmond Mount Nelson Hotel Chef Rudi Liebenberg, quite out of character of someone who comes across as gentle and kind.
I Tweeted the last paragraph of the article, and posted it on Facebook, and an interesting discussion arose on the latter forum, threatening to become a ‘Chefs versus Bloggers’ fight. Veteran Chef Billy Gallagher fully supported Chef Rudi, writing ‘I believe you write good stuff Chris and I follow your blog which is always interesting to say the least, having spent 40 years in the hotel business. It was hotel chefs that laid the foundation. The South African chefs Association created the platform for today’s South African chefs and this 40 years ago was a hotel chefs initiative. Many of the top 10 restaurants are on wine estates which adds a wonderful backdrop to these very talented chefs. Let’s give Rudi his opinion right or wrong‘. Twelve Apostles Executive Director Horst Frehse also wrote in support of Chef Rudi. Susanna Tecklenburg of Oude Wellington wrote ‘I eat, sleep, sitting on the loo social media between cooking and running my restaurant. It sure brings in business and you meet new people all the time and guests appreciated when you comment on their posts. Read all the blogs and specially yours Chris Von Ulmenstein and value your opinion. Thanks for all your input and info all the time. With my busy lifestyle you ‘frikkin’ bloggers help us to be in touch what’s going on out there!’. Chef Anton Bekker of Taste Restaurant was critical of the effect of MasterChef SA on diners: ‘Social media keep my restaurant afloat! I do have problem when people watch masterchef and then think they know everything. Lol. Or when a food writer comments that the hollandaise needed some more cream. … haha’. Sarie Kos Food Editor Herman Lensing was the first to react to the Facebook post, stating that all diners have the right to express an opinion, and that chefs should cook for their customers and not for critics. Amanda Brinkmann was very vocal about the subject, saying that due to the politics in food writing, she believes in and supports ‘citizen journalism‘. Deon Schutte clearly wrote from a chef’s perspective: ‘I think that Continue reading →
* Cape Town will be jazzing it up on the last weekend of the month, with not only the sold-out Cape Town International Jazz Festival taking place at the Cape Town International Convention Centre from 28 – 30 March, but the inaugural Sounds Fringe Festival will offer 60 performances between 27 – 30 March. The list of performers includes The Rudimentals, Spencer Mbadu, Dan Shout, Gerald Clark, Beatenberg, Sterling EQ, Saudiq Khan, Blackie Tempi, and Touchwood. Norwegian trumpeter Arne Hiorth will perform with a choir of 100 singers. Venues are concentrated around Wale Street, at Mandela Rhodes Place, The Twankey Bar, The Reserve at The Taj, Motherland Coffee Company, The Crypt Jazz Restaurant, the Iziko Slave Lodge, and Inn on the Square. The goal of Festival founder Frank Gormley is to position Cape Town as a city of musical note.
* Anna Trapido has been appointed as Editor of Rossouw’s Restaurants, the guide started by JP Rossouw but which he cannot continue with due to his duties as recently appointed Publisher of Platter’s wine guide, and will also handle this role for Rossouw’s Restaurants. Diners Club bought both the Platter’s and Rossouw’s Restaurants guides last year. Trapido is a former Eat Out Top 10 Restaurant judge, and wrote ‘Hunger for Freedom’ about the food which the late Nelson Mandela liked to eat. (received via media release from Africa Sky)