Entries tagged with “Lannice Snyman”.


Every year Eat Out seems to change something about its Awards, and this year is no exception. For 2017 Eat Out has decided to increase the shortlist of Restaurants to a Top 30, from which a Top Ten will be recognized at the 17 November Awards ceremony. (more…)

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 magazine 2014 Whale Cottage PortfolioAs the Eat Out Top 10 Restaurant Awards were held early in November, it was the first time that we did not receive the annual Eat Out magazine at the gala dinner. It was however sent by post, a surprise gift, last week. A real surprise was that Johannesburg (24%) has almost as many Top 500 restaurants as Cape Town (26%) out of the total of 500.

New Media Publishing changed a number of aspects of its judging of the Top 10 Restaurant Awards this year, and this included their magazine as well. Instead of sending a number of freelance evaluators out to find the best restaurants country-wide, and to write a short summary review about them, they sent theireditorial panel‘ of 50 persons a spreadsheet of their restaurant database, requesting them to rate the restaurants they had eaten at in the last six months.  A number of aspects of the restaurants were evaluated, and the scores were added up, from which the top scoring 500 restaurants were selected.  The restaurant summaries in the magazine are based on a summary each restaurant that applied to be on the Top 500 restaurant list had supplied!

Cape Town has 132 ‘top‘ restaurants on the list, which oddly includes Cattle Baron (a steak restaurant chain), Col’Cacchio (a pizza chain), Dias Tavern (!), Hudson’s Burger Joint (a mini hamburger chain), Hussar Grill (a steak house chain), Jason (a bakery), My Basaar (a coffee shop), Reuben’s One & Only (!), Sababa Kitchen & Deli (predominantly take-away, with only a few chairs at the Bree Street branch), and taschas (coffee shop chain), all in the company of Eat Out Top 10 restaurants The Greenhouse and The Test Kitchen.  It is nice to see the relatively new Cheyne’s (more…)

No restaurants which opened in South Africa from 2010 onwards (with the exception of The Test Kitchen) were judged to be good enough to make the Eat Out Top 10 Restaurant Awards 2012, held at the The Westin hotel last night.  As predicted, Chef Luke Dale-Roberts’ The Test Kitchen was named the number one restaurant on the Top 10 list, while Margot Janse of The Tasting Room was named Chef of the Year.  The Best Service Award went to Rust en Vrede.  Stellenbosch now is the Gourmet Capital of South Africa, with four Top 10 restaurants, followed by Cape Town with three, and one each in Franschhoek, Johannesburg, and the Natal Midlands. The biggest surprise of the evening was the ‘slap’ Chef George Jardine of Jordan Restaurant, making third place on the Top 10 list, gave Eat Out editor Abigail Donnelly (wearing Gavin Rajah) from the stage, criticising the use of an imported judge for the Awards, clearly referring to the controversial role Bruce Palling played in the Awards. A number of other controversial aspects once again clouded the Awards evening.

Lets start with Mr Palling.  The relationship between New Media Publishing and its ex-judge went sour after the judging, when New Media Publishing was said by Palling on Twitter to not want to offer him a ticket to Cape Town to attend the Awards last night. (more…)

Chef Rene Redzepi’s noma restaurant won the World’s 50 Best Restaurants for the third time last night, the tenth year that the Awards ceremony has been held.  The event was sponsored by San Pellegrino and Acqua Panna, was held at The Guildhall in London, and was attended by 600 of the world’s top chefs and restaurant judges. A shock was that, for the first time in many years, no South African restaurant made it onto the Top 50 list.

The Top 20 World’s 50 Best Restaurants are the following (with last year’s ranking in brackets), from The Telegraph :

1 (1) Noma, Copenhagen, Denmark

2 (2) El Celler de Can Roca, Girona, Spain

3 (3) Mugaritz, San Sebastian, Spain

4 (7) D.O.M., Sao Paolo, Brazil

5 (4) Osteria Francescana, Modena, Italy

6 (10) Per Se, New York, USA

7 (6) Alinea, Chicago, USA

8 (8) Arzak, San Sebastian, Spain

9 (-) Dinner by Heston Blumenthal, London, UK

10 (24) Eleven Madison Park, New York, USA

11 (22) Steirereck, Vienna, Austria

12 (14) L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon, Paris, France

13 (5) The Fat Duck, Bray, UK

14 (34) The Ledbury, London, UK

15 (9) Le Chateaubriand, Paris, France

16 (19) L’Arpege, Paris, France

17 (16) Pierre Gagnaire, Paris, France

18 (13) L’Astrance, Paris, France

19 (18) Le Bernardin, New York, USA

20 (57) Frantzen/Lindeberg, Stockholm, Sweden

France narrowly leads with seven awards on the top 50 list, followed by six for the USA, five for Spain, and three each going to Sweden, the United Kingdom, and Italy.

The Tasting Room at Le Quartier Français fell to its lowest ranking, at number 57, after a ranking of 36th last year, and 31st in 2010. Chef Luke Dale-Roberts of The Test Kitchen made 74th position – two years ago he reached the astounding 12th place whilst still at La Colombe.  Last year La Colombe made 82nd position, but did not make the top 100 list this year.  Last year Chef David Higgs’ Rust en Vrede achieved a ranking of 61st, but sadly he left the restaurant two months later.

The Award-winning restaurants were evaluated by 27 panels around the world, each with 30 members.  In South Africa the panel is chaired by Tamsin Snyman, stepping into the shoes of her late mother Lannice Snyman.  Members of the local panel are known to include Jos Baker, MasterChef SA Judge and Chef Pete Goffe-Wood, and owner of GOLD restaurant Cindy Muller.  Panel members had to evaluate four restaurants in their own country and three elsewhere in the world in the past eighteen months.

William Drew, editor of Restaurant magazine, organisers of the awards, said that the trend was to ‘much more diversity, both geographically and in terms of style.  We’ve seen twin trends. There’s globalization, in the sense that if someone in Japan is doing something interesting now, someone in South America may know about it quickly. Yet at the same time there’s a move toward local cooking’.

Attending the event was Ferran Adria of El Bulli, which he closed down last year.  The restaurant was named the World’s 50 Best Restaurant five times in the past ten years.  He said of the award: “There is no doubt the World’s 50 Best Restaurants has changed the history of gastronomy“.

In addition to announcing the World’s 50 Best Restaurants (and the 51 – 100 restaurants bubbling under), three additional awards were made last night. Elena Arzak from Arzak restaurant in San Sebastian in Spain was named as Veuve Clicquot World’s Best Female Chef. Thomas Keller, founder of Per Se and French Laundry in Yountville in California, won the San Pellegrino Lifetime Achievement Award.  The Slow Food UK Award went to Steiereck in Vienna, awarded for the first time last night.

What has been interesting over the past years has been the disparity between the performance of South Africa’s best restaurants on the Eat Out Top 10 Restaurants and on the World’s 50 Best Restaurant lists, Le Quartier Français always performing better on the international than on the local restaurant awards list.

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

The shock discovery that Abigail Donnelly awarded the Eat Out Boschendal Style Award to her client Makaron Restaurant at Majeka House in Stellenbosch is still being talked about, and it appears that Mrs Donnelly did not obtain permission to do consulting work from her bosses at New Media Publishing.  The conflict of interest in this award must have caused the publishing company, the Eat Out staff, and Mrs Donnelly severe embarrassment, and it has severely dented the credibility of the Eat Out restaurant awards, which determine chef reputations and shape restaurant incomes for the year ahead.

There has been a deafening silence from New Media Publishing generally and from Abigail Donnelly specifically since we wrote about her Majeka House involvement, and no one in the industry has dared comment publicly, for fear of being victimised (this happens, a chef telling me that he provided feedback some years ago, and never made the Top 20 list again!).  Until the Eat Out Awards ceremony on 20 November I had nothing but the highest regard for Mrs Donnelly and her integrity, and even defended it when I heard mutters about Mrs Donnelly being the sole Eat Out Restaurant Awards judge this year.  We thought she could pull it off without controversy, but it appears we were wrong.

The Makaron Restaurant consulting non-disclosure by Mrs Donnelly is completely unacceptable, and therefore I contacted the Managing Director of New Media Publishing, but the e-mail to Bridget McCarney was returned, stating that she is on a sabbatical for a few months.  I was advised to send the e-mail to the two directors Irna van Zyl and John Psillos, and it was Ms van Zyl who quickly and honestly answered, having sought Mrs Donnelly’s input too.  We publish the communication between ourselves and Ms Van Zyl below, and one can read Mrs Donnelly’s anger in her reply.  My last and the ultimate question which Ms van Zyl did not answer was if Mrs Donnelly had sought permission to do the consulting work, this being the New Media Publishing policy.  The non-response is a deafening admission that this did not happen:

From: Whale Cottage Portfolio

To: bmccarney@newmediapub.co.za

Sent: Wednesday, December 07, 2011 1:40 PM

Subject: EAT OUT

Dear Bridget

I want to ask you what the policy is about your staff, and Abigail Donnelly specifically, consulting for restaurants? I am very perturbed about Abigail’s position as sole Eat Out judge, and the conflict of interest that has arisen with Makaron Restaurant having made the Boschendal Style Award shortlist, as well as it winning this category.  I have also picked up that its owner won the Review of the Week on the Eat Out newsletter last week.  Can we expect Makaron to be the Eat Out Top 10 Restaurant next year? Can we please receive a declaration of all the restaurants to which Abigail consults?

From: Irna van Zyl

To: Whale Cottage Portfolio

Cc: Anelde Greeff ; Abigail Donnelly ; John Psillos ; Bridget McCarney

Sent: Wednesday, December 07, 2011 4:29 PM

Subject: Re: EAT OUT

Dear Chris

I’ve discussed your concerns with Abigail Donnelly in her capacity as Editor of Eat Out and Anelde Greeff, Content Director of Eat Out. As you have probably gathered Bridget, our MD, is on a mini-sabbatical but I will endeavor  to reply to your questions as well as I can.

Here are the facts:

Abigail did a once-off consultation with Makaron before the restaurant was opened and made it clear to the owners at that time that because of her involvement the restaurant would not be eligible for any of the Eat Out Awards that involved food. At the time the chef that she was consulting to left the restaurant without implementing Abigail’s menu. The Style awards was not judged on the food. It was judged, as Abigail explained at the Eat Out Awards, on the setting, the detail in the wallpaper, the underfloor lighting of the bathrooms, the beautiful chairs, handmade crockery and the overall beautiful look of the restaurant, to which she had no input as a consultant.  In terms of the Review of the Week Anelde Greeff explains that in order to be representative countrywide they choose a review from a specific area each week as the “winner”. It is their policy that the “winning” review should be one with a positive slant. It is unfortunate that the review was the one written by the owner but completely coincidental. The choice of Review of the Week has nothing to do with Abigail, who is not involved in the website in an editing capacity.  Just one last comment: the Top 20 shortlist of restaurants is decided on after careful consultation and consideration of the input of all Eat Out’s 20 countrywide reviewers, reader opinions throughout the year and other opinions from foodies. At Eat Out we were just following the example set by Lannice Snyman years ago as the founder of the restaurant guide, who acted as the only judge of the awards for several years before Sam Woulidge became the editor and a panel was appointed to assist her.  I hope this clarify things for you.

From: Whale Cottage Portfolio <whalecot@iafrica.com>
Date: Wed, 7 Dec 2011 17:09:56 +0200
To: Irna van Zyl <irna.vanzyl@newmediapub.co.za>
Subject: Re: EAT OUT

Dear Irna

I appreciate your speedy and detailed reply. My information is that Abigail

*    designed the current menu at Makaron, which has been inherited by the new chef, who told me this directly

*   called a supplier just a few days before the Eat Out Awards on 20 November, requesting a specific type of product from the supplier for Makaron Restaurant.

In general, if you go to Makaron, you will not see what has been written about it to justify it winning the Style Award.  Most of the description relates to the M Lounge (their bar), which is across the passage, and is not part of Makaron restaurant, with a different name and a vastly different decor style.  The accolade is completely over-written, in my opinion, and one senses that it was written by Abigail, gushing to please a client. I have always held Abigail in high esteem, but I think that it is absolutely not acceptable that she consults to any restaurant in any capacity at all whilst she is editor of Eat Out and the sole judge of the Award winners.   She, Eat Out, New Media Publishing, as well as Majeka House have lost credibility through this. You have not answered as which other restaurants she consults to.

From: Irna van Zyl

To: Whale Cottage Portfolio

Cc: John Psillos ; Anelde Greeff ; Abigail Donnelly ; Bridget McCarney ; Claire Buchanan

Sent: Thursday, December 08, 2011 11:43 AM

Subject: Re: EAT OUT

Dear Chris

Herewith Abigail’s comments as requested by me. I think it’s quite clear from her replies that Makron (sic) did now implement her original menu and is changing it. She also does not consult to other restaurants. Thanks for your feedback, we always welcome it. Best regards

Irna

Hi

I am not sure where she gets her facts. I called Angus from Spier when the ex chef was still at Makaron requesting beef cheeks well before the Eat Out Awards. The new chef has taken it off the menu and replaced with oxtail and I mentioned yesterday is already putting her own menu together. If I showed favouritism then I would have judged them but the owners knew this when I consulted. They are also aware that I am unable to judge them next year until Tanya has her own menu. I have never written anything about the style award for Makaron only the comment I wrote was for the magazine which was about the chairs, crockery and the feeling of the restaurant. I am not consulting for any other restaurants. There is absolutely no favouritism I awarded a restaurant with the best style.

Thanks
Abigail

From: Whale Cottage Portfolio <whalecot@iafrica.com>
Date: Thu, 8 Dec 2011 14:06:21 +0200
To: vanzyl <irna.vanzyl@newmediapub.co.za>
Subject: Re: EAT OUT

Dear Irna

One question remains: What is the policy of New Media Publishing about its staff consulting – e.g. Abigail/Makaron, Etienne Hanekom/Makaron? Thank you

From: Irna van Zyl

To: Whale Cottage Portfolio

Sent: Thursday, December 08, 2011 7:31 PM

Subject: Re: EAT OUT

Dear Chris

The policy is quite simple: staff members have to ask permission to take on any freelance work and it then is in the discretion of their manager to grant the permission or not. Etienne Hanekom is on a freelance contract and the same rule does not apply to freelancers. But it is something that you have highlighted now and we will look at this carefully in future.

From: Whale Cottage Portfolio

To: Irna van Zyl

Sent: Thursday, December 08, 2011 7:34 PM

Subject: Re: EAT OUT

Thank you Irna.  Apologies for belabouring the point – did Abigail have permission to consult to Majeka House?

No reply was received to the last e-mail, sent a week ago!  Two weeks ago I was astounded to see in the Eat Out newsletter that Majeka House owner Karen de Quecker won the Eat Out Restaurant Review of the Week for her review of Pane e Vino, a lightweight four-line feedback about how much she enjoys eating there, a restaurant which belongs to her friends the Dalla Cias, and so the conflict of interest continues!

Mrs Donnelly has been under severe observation from chefs and restaurants this year, after she announced her decision to let go her judging committee, and to become the sole Eat Out judge.  I have heard how early or late she came to judge candidate Top 20 restaurants, how much and what she ate, and the glowing praises she heaped on each chef.  Many chefs were disappointed when the Eat Out Top 20 Restaurant shortlist was announced.  I am sure that the industry would join me in insisting that Mrs Donnelly cleans up her act, to become squeaky clean, and to not create any conflict of interest by consulting to restaurants!

POSTSCRIPT 18/7: It is heartening to see that the Eat Out Boschendal Restaurant Style Award judging will be done by VISI magazine’s editors, the magazines being sister publications at New Media Publishing.

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

The 2011 S. Pellegrino World’s 50 Best Restaurants awards ceremony was held last night, and number 2 Eat Out Top 10 Restaurant The Tasting Room at Le Quartier Français, with chef Margot Janse at the helm, was the only South African restaurant to make the prestigious Top 50 list, for the seventh year running, and won Best Restaurant in Africa/Middle East, at 36th position, down from number 31 last year.  The top restaurant on the World’s 50 Best is Noma from Copenhagen, its second successive year at the top. France remains the country with the most Best Restaurants, at seven, followed by Italy and the USA, with six each.

South Africa also featured in the 51-100 Restaurant ranking, with Eat Out Top 10 Restaurant Top Chef David Higg’s Rust en Vrede  team making 61st place (up from last year’s 74th place), enhancing the sadness about his departure from the restaurant in June, and La Colombe (now without Luke Dale-Roberts) at 82nd place, a vast fall from 12th position last year.

Rank Position Restaurant Country Awards
1 Noma Denmark The S.Pellegrino Best Restaurant in the World. The Acqua Panna Best Restaurant in Europe
2 Up 2 El Celler De Can Roca Spain  
3 Up 2 Mugaritz Spain  
4 Up 2 Osteria Francescana Italy The Chefs’ Choice sponsored by Electrolux
5 Down 2 The Fat Duck England  
6 Up 1 Alinea USA The Acqua Panna Best Restaurant In North America
7 Up 11 D.O.M Brazil The Acqua Panna Best Restaurant In South America
8 Up 1 Arzak Spain  
9 Up 2 Le Chateaubriand France  
10 Per Se USA  
11 Down 3 Daniel USA  
12 Up 12 Les Creations de Narisawa Japan The Acqua Panna Best Restaurant In Asia
13 Up 3 L’Astrance France  
14 Up 15 L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon France  
15 Up 2 Hof van Cleve Belgium  
16 Down 3 Pierre Gagnaire France  
17 Up 2 Oud Sluis Netherlands  
18 Down 3 Le Bernardin USA  
19 Re-Entry L’Arpege France  
20 Up 28 Nihonryori RyuGin Japan Highest Climber Sponsored by Lavazza
21 Up 1 Vendome Germany  
22 Down 1 Steirereck Austria  
23 Up 7 Schloss Schauenstein Switzerland  
24 Up 26 Eleven Madison Park USA  
25 Up 9 Aqua Germany  
26 Up 1 Quay Australia The Acqua Panna Best Restaurant In Australasia
27 Up 1 Iggy’s Singapore  
28 Up 7 Combal Zero Italy  
29 Up 4 Martin Berasategui Spain  
30 Re-Entry Bras France  
31 Up 15 Biko Mexico  
32 Down 12 Le Calandre Italy  
33 Re-Entry Cracco Italy  
34 New Entry The Ledbury UK Highest New Entry Sponsored by Silestone
35 Down 12 Chez Dominique Finland  
36 Down 5 Le Quartier Francais South Africa The Acqua Panna Best Restaurant In The Middle East and Africa
37 New Entry Amber China  
38 Down 2 Dal Pescatore Italy  
39 Up 1 Il Canto Italy  
40 Down 14 Momofuku Ssam Bar USA  
41 Up 2 St John UK  
42 New Entry Astrid Y Gaston Peru  
43 Up 6 Hibiscus UK  
44 Maison Troisgros France  
45 Down 4 Alain Ducasse au Plaza Athenee France  
46 Down 9 De Librije Netherlands  
47 Down 33 Restaurant de l’Hotel De Ville Switzerland  
48 New Entry Varvary Russia  
49 New Entry Pujol Mexico  
50 Re-Entry Asador Etxebarri Spain  

 The S. Pellegrino awards are organised by The Restaurant  magazine, and the award-winning restaurants are nominated by and voted for by “800 international restaurant industry experts”, says the S. Pellegrino 50 Best Restaurants website. “What constitutes ‘best’ is left to the judgement of these trusted and well-travelled gourmets.  There is no pre-determined check-list of criteria”, the website says, and the results are a “simple computation of votes”.  The World’s 50 Best Restaurants is an ‘honourable survey of current tastes and a credible indicator of the best places to eat round the globe”.  There are no requirements for eligibility for the ranking, and the length of time that the restaurant has been open, and the culinary awards won are not taken into consideration for the vote.   For the first time, a livestream presentation allowed one to watch the Awards ceremony from the comfort of one’s home, making one feel part of the ceremony.

Other Awards presented were the following:

*  2011 One to Watch: Frantzen & Lindeberg from Stockholm (number 57) 

*   Lifetime Achievement Award: Juan Mari Arzak (number eight)

*   Chef’s Choice:   Osteria Francescana (number 4)

*   Fastest Climber: Nihonryori Ryugin of Japan (number 20)

*   World’s Best Female Chef: Anne-Sophie Pic, of Maison Pic, first female Michelin three star chef in France

Last year Noma also was named the Best Restaurant in the world, with chef René Redzepi at the helm.  Ferran Adria’s El Bulli, long in number one position, was second, and Heston Blumenthal’s The Fat Duck came third. Adria withdrew from this year’s awards, as he is closing his restaurant for an indefinite period of time.

Tamsin Snyman heads up the Southern African judging team, stepping into her late mother Lannice Snyman’s shoes.   Lannice held this position for years.  What is odd is that the performance of South African restaurants on the Wold’s 50 Best Restaurants and Eat Out Top 10 Restaurant Awards  has been so different, Le Quartier Français’ Tasting Room consistently having done well on the international Awards list, even when it did not make the Eat Out list in the past.

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

In a hotly contested 2010 Eat Out Top 10 Restaurant Awards last night, Rust en Vrede and chef David Higgs won all three top categories of the Awards, in being named the number 1 restaurant in the country, Top Chef, as well as the restaurant offering Top Service.   Even before the Top 20 finalists were announced, we had predicted that Rust en Vrede would be named as the best restaurant in South Africa, for the excellent work of Higgs and his team.  

With four Eat Out Top 10 restaurants now in Stellenbosch (Rust en Vrede, Overture, Jordan Restaurant with George Jardine and Terroir), there can no longer be a debate about Stellenbosch being the new Gourmet Capital of South Africa.   Cape Town, Paarl, and Franschhoek each have one restaurant in the Top 10 list.

But it was the other Top 10 winners on the list that caused some upsets, in that it appeared that being invited to cook for the Awards evening is no longer an indicator of instant inclusion on the Top 10 list (of the four chefs preparing the meal, only Higgs was in the Top 10 list).   Also having been on the Top 10 list last year was no guarantee of being on the list this year.   So, for example:

*   Number one restaurant for two years running, and 12th ranked restaurant in the world, La Colombe did not make the Top 10 list.  Luke Dale-Roberts, now consultant chef to La Colombe and owner of his new restaurant The Test Kitchen, suffered the same fate as George Jardine did last year, in falling off the list due to the new restaurant.   No doubt Dale-Roberts will be back on the Top 10 list next year.

 *   Number 2 restaurant in 2009, and Top Chef last year, and cooking at the dinner, Chantel Dartnall of Mosaic Restaurant in Pretoria, did not feature on the Top 10 list

*   Aubergine and Bosman’s are back on the Top 10 list, after an absence of many years for both restaurants

*   The Roundhouse made it to the Top 10 list last year, but fell off this year, and chef PJ Vadas also cooked.  Eric Bulpitt from Jardine also cooked for the gala dinner, but did not make the Top 10 list, despite the judges’ emphasis on foraging as an important source of ingredients, something Bulpitt does with his team on the slopes of Table Mountain.

The judges looked for passion (this was emphasised) in restaurants they evaluated, as well as ambiance, seafood sustainability in following the SASSI list for seafood, the pairing of wine and food, service levels, consistency of delivery, the plates used, the relationship with suppliers, serving real food, sincerity, and a new trend – foraging.  Ultimately, the test was whether the restaurant offered their patrons a memorable experience.

The Top 10 Restaurant List, as ranked by the Eat Out judges Abigail Donnelly, Pete Goffe-Wood, Arnold Tanzer and Anna Trapido, is as follows:

1.   Rust en Vrede, Chef David Higgs, Stellenbosch

2.  The Tasting Room, Le Quartier Francais, Chef Margot Janse, Franschhoek

3.   Jordan Restaurant with George Jardine, Chef George Jardine, Stellenbosch

4.   Bosman’s ,Grand Roche, Chef Roland Gorgosilich, Paarl

5.   DW Eleven-13, Chef Marthinus Ferreira, Johannesburg

6.   Terroir, Chef Michael Broughton, Stellenbosch

7.   Aubergine, Chef Harald Bresselschmidt, Cape Town

8.   Roots, Chef Allistaire Lawrence, Johannesburg

9.   Overture, Chef Bertus Basson, Stellenbosch

10.  Hartford House, Chef Jackie Cameron, Mooi River

The remaining finalists on the Top 20 shortlist were the following:   The Greenhouse (Peter Tempelhoff), Jardine(Eric Bulpitt), La Colombe (Luke Dale-Roberts), Linger Longer (Walter Ulz), Mosaic Restaurant (Chantel Dartnall), The Restaurant at Waterkloof (Gregory Czarnecki), Restaurant Christophe(Christophe Dehosse), Reuben’s (Reuben Riffel), The Roundhouse (PJ Vadas), and Zachary’s (Geoffrey Murray).

A newly named Lannice Snyman Lifetime Achievement Award went to chef Walter Ulz of Linger Longer, a Top 20 finalist, and celebrating his 30 years of involvement with the restaurant, as well as the restaurant’s 50th anniversary on 1 April next year.   Margot Janse read a most moving tribute to Lannice Snyman, the first editor of Eat Out.

The Top 10 restaurant award list countdown only commenced after a four course dinner was served at the Westin Grand.  The hotel’s chef Grant served the canapes, enjoyed on arrival, and I loved the clever mini- “Magnums”, frozen cheese coated in chocolate and on a stick, looking like the ice cream brand in miniature form.   The starter was prepared by Chef PJ Vadas from The Roundhouse, and was a beautifully floral minimalist Buffalo Ridge ricotta served wrapped in pickled Magic Man beetroot and drizzled with Morgenster Olive Oil and balsamic vinegar.  It was paired with La Motte 2009 Chardonnay.

The first main course was prepared by Chantel Dartnall of Mosaic Restaurant, and was called “Land and Sea”, linking langoustine tails to pea purée and asparagus, served with a  langoustine foam, and paired with La Motte’s 2010 Pierneef Chardonnay.   David Higgs of Rust en Vrede prepared the second main course, pan roasted fillet of beef, a sweetbread and caper sausage, warm salad of tongue and cabbage, with a smoked raisin purée, paired with 2007 Rust en Vrede Bordeaux Blend.

Eric Bulpitt of Jardine served his “Pear in ember’ dessert on their trademark wooden boards, with pear jelly, smoked and dried pear ice cream, chocolate streussel, black sesame and walnuts, paired with Nuy White Muscadel.

Given that there are 8000 restaurants in South Africa, all restaurants having made Top 20 on the Eat Out shortlist are worthy of congratulation, said Abigail Donnelly, Eat Out editor.  More than 3000 restaurants are listed in the 2010 Eat Out Guide, which is available in outlets from today.

The 2010 Eat Out Top 10 Awards evening was most enjoyable – the lovely company of the Veritas team, led by Duimpie Bayly and his wife Sue, as well as of Bennie Howard, and Eat Out staff, including writer Annette Klinger, the granddaughter of our neighbours in Wellington from many moons ago, next to whom I was lucky enough to sit.   We were the last to leave, with the lovely Anel and Jan from Spit or Swallow blog.

I cannot wait for the 2011 Eat Out Awards, with the outstanding new restaurants that have opened recently, which will challenge the Top 10 winners of this year, particularly Pierneef à La Motte with Chris Erasmus, Babel at Babylonstoren with Simone Rossouw, the new Tokara with Richard Carstens, and The Test Kitchen with Luke Dale-Roberts.

POSTSCRIPT 15/4: It has been announced that David Higgs has resigned, and will leave Rust en Vrede in mid-June.

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