Entries tagged with “Eat Out Awards”.


Yesterday I received a letter from the lawyers of Chef Peter Tempelhoff of newly opened FYN Restaurant, reacting with threat and intimidation to my Blogpost dated 28 November, about being banned from his restaurant, which opened on 30 November. Some speculate that the banning is a cheap publicity shot by Tempelhoff, to fill his 40-seater restaurant, and that the lawyer’s letter is a follow-up to his marketing strategy, to attract further attention to the restaurant.  (more…)

The Sweet Service Award goes to the Twelve Apostles Hotel in Camps Bay, for the fantastic service in allowing me to write in their Café Grill last Sunday when the fibre internet was not working in our section of Camps Bay. As I was writing about the Eat Out Awards event, and already had not been able to Instagram from GrandWest, as the WiFi was hopelessly overloaded and not working at all, it was a very long evening, finishing off writing at the hotel at 3h00, it being fortunate that the (more…)

This afternoon Eat Out announced its list of the Top 30 restaurants in our country for this year. The Top 20 restaurants will be revealed at the Awards ceremony on 18 November at GrandWest, and the Top 10 list within that ranking. There are some surprise inclusions and exclusions in this list.  (more…)

In an interesting move not seen before, La Colombe announced that its Restaurant Manager Jennifer Hugé would be leaving, after 14 years, to join a new city centre restaurant, but without providing details. Yesterday, the details were revealed, Hugé joining forces with Chef Ashley Moss in Chef Peter Tempelhoff’s new FYN Restaurant. The La Colombe restaurant group has no link to the new restaurant. 

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imageAt the 2016 Eat Out Awards, held yesterday in the Arena of GrandWest over a Gala Lunch prepared by some of our country’s top chefs, some winners were predictable, and others were a surprise. It was a slick event with a Garden theme, which led many to predict that La Colombe would be the Restaurant of the Year, given its Forest menu theme. Sadly it was not, The Test Kitchen (controversially) named Restaurant of the Year for the fifth time!  Nine out of the Top 10 restaurants are from Cape Town and the Winelands (Cape Town 3, Franschhoek 3, Somerset West 2, Stellenbosch 1, and Gauteng 1) (more…)

eat-out-2016-logoTomorrow the Eat Out Awards will be held, the culinary highlight of the year. For the second year running the event will be held as a lunch at GrandWest, but tomorrow the Awards event will be held in the show auditorium. The event has been sold out for the past month, the first time ever, a reflection of the keen interest in the 2016 Eat Out Awards.  (more…)

imageOn Sunday the eagerly awaited Eat Out Mercedes-Benz Restaurant Awards 2015 winners will be announced at its Gala Lunch, to be held at new event venue SunExhibits Centre at GrandWest. As is our tradition, we attempt a prediction of the Eat Out Top 10 winners as well as comment on the other awards to be presented (more…)

WhaleTalesTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

*   Decanter included three South African wines in its 2013 top 50 wines, out of a total of 3200 wines evaluated. Alheit Vineyards’ Cartology 2011 was ranked 4th; Vuurberg White 2011 was ranked 36th; and Adoro Red 2006 was ranked 37th.

*   Given that the week of romance is upon us, the top five most romantic beaches of South Africa have been named, Clifton making first place, followed by Umhlanga Rocks, Noetzie in Knysna, Margate, and Noup in the Northern Cape.

*   About 10% of tourists arriving in South Africa come to participate or watch a sports event.  Now a new sport called Bossaball, a combination of soccer, volleyball, gymnastics, and an Afro-Brazilian martial arts form capoeira, is to be introduced to our country by Zinto Sports.

*   The Cape Town Art Fair 2014 will be held at The Pavilion in the V&A Waterfront from 28 February – 2 March.  The entrance fee of R120 also entitles entrance to ‘GUILD’, an exhibition of Design, held at The Lookout, also in the V&A. Both exhibitions form part of Cape Town hosting World Design Capital 2014.

*   Allan Mullins has been appointed as ‘chief wine selector’ by Africa Wine Merchants, (more…)

WhaleTalesTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

*  Restaurant news dominated the list of most read blogposts on our WhaleTales blog in November, the Eat Out Top 10 Restaurant Awards write-up being by far the most popular blogpost:

1.  Eat Out Top 10 Restaurant Awards: best event ever, some highs, some shocks!

2.  Mother Nature hits Mother City and the Winelands!

3.   South African hotelier slates TripAdvisor and its blackmail power!

4.   Mediclinic Vergelegen Sweet Service and Giorgio Nava Sour Service Awards!

5.   Restaurant Review: La Parada Bar de Tapas Bree Street is Espanol puro!

*   A new hospitality consulting company PMR Hospitality Partners has been created by industry stalwarts Tony Romer-Lee and Euan McGlashan.  Their newest venture is PMR Hospitality Partners.  The media release describes the company as a ‘ boutique African hospitality management company based in Cape Town, South Africa and Atlanta, USA, through its sister firm, Valor Hospitality Partners (www.valorhospitality.com)‘.  Romer-Lee has worked for McGrath Hotels, and before that both partners worked at the Cape Grace, and Halcyon Hotels, which previously owned the Bay Hotel.

The focus will be on quality customer service, driven by PMR’s on-time (more…)

Yesterday I was honoured to attend a meeting with New Media Publishing, publishers of Eat Out, to discuss how this year’s Eat Out Top 10 Restaurant and related Awards can be improved, and the criticism about it reduced and ideally eliminated.

Attending the meeting were Eat Out editor Abigail Donnelly, New Media Publishing Director Irna van Zyl, CEO Bridget McCarney, and Aileen Lamb.  Aileen is preparing herself to take over the GM role of a number of New Media Publishing titles, including Eat Out, in April and she is driving the process to fix what the industry thinks may need attention, a most noble initiative. Aileen is planning a series of interviews with Top 20 shortlisted chefs of the past years, some restaurant owners, the sponsors, industry persons, and the Eat Out audience, to give various players in the restaurant industry a voice.

I found the meeting to be open-minded in receiving my feedback about the 2011 and 2012 Eat Out Awards, everything which I have written in this blog already.  While it initially seemed odd to hold the meeting two months after the Eat Out Awards, the time period did help to focus on the really key issues, which I summarised as follows:

*   appoint a panel of (South African) judges, perhaps representing not only chefs, but a cross-section of the food industry

*   do not make changes to the Awards for the sake of change. Dropping the panel of judges in the past two years was too drastic a move.

*   Consolidate and improve the Awards, and regain credibility

*   Potential new categories for the related Awards were discussed, a Best South African Restaurant category being an obvious opportunity

*   The over-focus on Luke Dale-Roberts of The Test Kitchen in the Woolworths’ Taste magazine was discussed, and it was explained that Woolworths has a business relationship with Chef Luke, which sees him being featured as a contributor in every issue.  The challenge is for Abigail to distance herself from Chef Luke in her role as Food Editor of Taste, given her role as judge for Eat Out.

*   the predominance of Cape Town and Winelands restaurants on the Top 10 list is not an issue, in my opinion.  It does seem to irk Johannesburg restaurants, but new restaurant openings in Johannesburg may better balance the playing field this year.

*   The rules should be 100% consistently applied, for example in respect of chefs taking over from their departing bosses, and being in charge of the kitchen for a full twelve month period, to avoid criticism about restaurants (e.g. Rust en Vrede, La Colombe, Grande Provence, The Roundhouse) having been left off the Top 20 shortlist due to chef changes.  The Eat Out website never listed the rule that a chef should have been at a restaurant for a year, to be eligible for the Top 10 Restaurant Award, even though it was applied in practice. After pointing out the omission on this blog, the rule has now been added to the Eat Out website.

*   Should there be any doubt about the application of the Award rules, Abigail and her panel of judges should act with caution and ‘strictness’.

*   The results should be audited, and should be available to those restaurants that wish to receive feedback. Currently Abigail only does this on request after the Awards presentation, not sharing the feedback proactively.

*   No consulting relationship may exist between Abigail and any restaurant, to not damage her image and that of Eat Out.

*   Eat Out should regularly inform the industry about the Awards, and the work it is doing to improve them.

*   The Eat Out Conference is a good concept, and should attract more chefs, which means that it should be held in winter, and preferably on a chefs-day-off Monday.

By the end of March or early April Aileen and her Eat Out team will have finalised their interviews, and we will meet again thereafter to discuss the summarised results.  The first indications are very positive, and I was privileged to hear some of the ideas being considered, which I will not write about until they have been finalised.  We parted on a Saigon note, and it was clear that Abigail and I would not agree on last year’s Best Asian restaurant award!

Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio:  www.whalecottage.com Twitter: @WhaleCottage