At the Eat Out Restaurant Awards 2017 this evening, held at GrandWest, some shock results stunned the restaurant industry. Eat Out continues its love affair with Chef Luke Dale-Roberts, with three of his four restaurants making the Top 10 Restaurant List, a spectacular achievement! The biggest shock was the spectacular slide of La Colombe, the restaurant which had all the opportunity to make the number one slot, but only making the seventh rank, a karmic reaction to the restaurant losing focus, opening too many restaurants, and getting involved in restaurant politics! 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 →
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 →
Pierneef à La Motte has announced by media release that its Pastry Chef Michelle Theron has been appointed as its Chef de Cuisine from 1 May. Chef Michelle has been at La Motte since the opening of the restaurant in 2010.
Chef Michelle takes over the kitchen from Chef Chris Erasmus, who is opening his own restaurant Folliage in Franschhoek in July. Chef Chris leaves when the restaurant closes for its annual winter break on 15 June. He took Pierneef à La Motte to an Eat Out Top 10 Restaurant last year.
Chef Michelle was involved from the beginning in the research and recipe development for the ‘Cape Winelands Cuisine’ cook book. She is inspired by leading female chefs such as Chef Margot Janse from The Tasting Room, Chef Clare Smythe from Restaurant Gordon Ramsay, and Chef Elena Arzak of Michelin-star restaurant Arzak. Continue reading →
The winners of the 8th annual Eat Out Zonnebloem Produce Awards were announced at the Stellenbosch Slowmarket yesterday. The Eat Out media release states that the quality of produce was excellent this year, and that it was not easy to choose the overall winners.
Judges were Deena Naidoo, MasterChef SA Season 1 winner, Eat Out Top 10 Chef Jackie Cameron of Hartford House, Chef Vanessa Marx of Dear Me, Eat Out editor Abigail Donnelly, and Eat Out Editor-in-Chief Anelde Greeff.
We are delighted that the Oranjezicht City Farm has received recognition for its excellent work, in winning the South African Heritage Award. Anel Potgieter’s ‘Life is a Zoo Biscuit’ won Best Local Food Blog for the second time. Farmer Angus has been a pioneer for organic meat and egg production at Spier, and has been a previous winner too. It is no surprise that Frankie Fenner Meat Merchants has received the ‘Outstanding Outlet’ award for the Cape area, having been the former 2013 Eat Out Top 10 Restaurant judge, yet it is surprising in that the outlet is in a dive location, and the service arrogant and poor – we are still waiting for the calf’s liver we ordered more than a month ago!
The 2014 Eat Out Zonnebloem Produce Awards winners are: Continue reading →
This is one of the hardest blogposts I have written, with a moral dilemma of being an invited guest at what one expected to be a social highlight for the year. The Gala Dinner for Cape Town hosting World Design Capital 2014 turned out to be an embarrassment in poor organisation and food! We trust that Cape Town Design NPC, the company operating the year-long design accolade, will forgive its frankness.
The Gala Dinner was the first substantial function organised for World Design Capital 2014, the New Year’s Eve concert having been an event shared with the City of Cape Town, and was intended to be for all the people of Cape Town. Only 270 guests were invited to the Gala Dinner, and included Cape Town Mayor de Lille and Stellenbosch Mayor Conrad Sidego; Minister of Science and Technology Derek Hanekom; sponsor company representatives such as Media24 Chairman Ton Vosloo; members of the diplomatic corps; top designers; members of the Board of Cape Town Design NPC; and a large media contingent, both local and international. Given the calibre of the guests, the fact that almost everything was wrong with the evening was an embarrassing disaster! The dress code was formal with a touch of yellow, given the World Design Capital 2014 colour for the year. The men seemed better in adding the yellow touches via gold or yellow ties and bow ties, while the ladies struggled to find something yellow in their wardrobes, including Cape Town Design NPC CEO Alayne Reesberg. Surprising was how many guests wore jeans and open shirts, despite the dress code specification.
The dinner was set up in a temporary structure for the Guild Fair, the decor exhibition which is running in conjunction with the Cape Town Art Fair at The Lookout in the V&A Waterfront. Tables seating 20 guests each were set up in long rows, with no decor other than sets of three yellow/gold Monkeybiz beaded animals on the tables. The last time I was in the neighbouring The Lookout venue was for the Eat Out Top 10 Restaurant Awards in November, and the New Media Publishing team had done a fantastic job in decorating the massive venue. On Friday night there were no design features at all, and lighting was big industrial spotlights, Continue reading →
After two disastrous years, New Media Publishing was brave enough to take stock earlier this year, and asked the industry what it wanted in the Eat Out Top 10 Restaurant Awards. Last night that hard work paid off, with a new venue for the event, a slick and short presentation, new Awards introduced, and three new restaurants making the Top 10 Restaurant list. The surprise was the emotion which the chefs expressed when receiving their plaques, challenging MasterChef SA Season 2 on tears!
We were one of the interviewees, meeting with Eat Out editor Abigail Donnelly, its GM Aileen Lamb, MD Bridget McCarney, and Director Irna van Zyl. We were forthright in our feedback and suggestions, including that a team of judges would be needed again (we suggested Garth Stroebel, and have yet to meet him!). We fed back that the preferential relationship with Luke Dale-Roberts in TASTE magazine (also published by New Media Publishing, and of which Abigail is the Food Editor) was unfair towards all other chefs, by featuring him every month – we were told that Woolworths had a contract with him, and therefore he received the coverage in the magazine. This contract was terminated earlier this year, which is excellent news. Other recommendations can be read here. Flowing from the interviews and discussions with previous Top 20 chefs and restaurant managers, owners, and suppliers, as well as media representatives and bloggers, New Media Publishing allowed restaurants to apply to be included in the Eat Out Top 500 Restaurant List, which was selected by a Continue reading →
Once again the Western Cape has shown that it is the country’s culinary champion in its performance in and dominance of the 2014 American Express® Platinum Fine Dining Awards, which were awarded in Johannesburg last week, and in Cape Town on Monday evening. Of 95 award winning restaurants in the 16th year of review, 43 are from the Western Cape, 35 from Gauteng, 9 from KwaZulu Natal, and another eight from other provinces.
Evaluated by a judging panel consisting of Anna Trapido (previous Eat Out Top 10 Restaurant judge) and Victor Strugo, under the chairmanship of Tamsin Snyman, the Award-winning restaurants had to meet the criteria of offering ‘culinary excellence to discerning diners’. Eligibility for Continue reading →
The Macaroon, sorbet, and Panna Cotta dessert, which top Chef David Higgs of Five Hundred restaurant at the Saxon Boutique Hotel prepared for the Pressure Test on MasterChef SA’s 14 th episode last night, was a tough one to replicate, and cost two of the Finalists their aprons in the competition, the final 10 being whittled down to the winner in the next six weeks.
Chef David was introduced by Chef Pete Goffe-Wood as one of our country’s top chefs, who was named as Top Chef and Rust en Vrede Top Service and Top Restaurant in Eat Out’s Top 10 Restaurant Awards in 2010. Chef David introduced his dish, which he said he had made with one of the country’s top pastry chefs, but the name was not mentioned. He said that dining is more than about food, and preparing food for it can be tricky and technical too. A chef is more than just someone cooking, he or she is an artist too. His dessert of liquorice macaroon with a litchi sorbet and litchi panna cotta on black crumble was exquisite in its presentation. The Finalists were warned to follow the recipe carefully. A macaroon must be crunchy on the outside, yet soft and chewy on the inside. It’s all in the timing, he added. His dish ‘is difficult but not impossible’, he said. The five Finalists in the Pressure Test had 2 hours in which to replicate the dish, and Chef Pete made the shock announcement that two Finalists would be eliminated. In doing the rounds at the work stations, Chef David had a kind word for each Finalist, telling them to ‘relax’, and to ‘not get carried away‘, i.e. to not be nervous. Continue reading →