Tag Archives: Signature

American Express Platinum Fine Dining Awards 2016; 2017 Platinum Taste Awards to challenge Eat Out Awards?

Amex Award tableLast 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 imageJohannesburg.

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 →

2015 American Express Platinum Fine Dining Awards restaurants announced, Western Cape loses eight restaurants!

Chenin Blanc Top 10 Huguenot Cheese Brulee Whale CottageThe 2015 American Express Platinum Fine Dining Awards have been announced, the Western Cape (39) having a small head start over Gauteng (33) in the number of restaurants on the list of 89 restaurants in total.  Five new restaurants have been added to the list: 95 Keerom, Delaire Graff Restaurant, Kitima, and Makaron at Majeka House, all in the Western Cape, as well as The Leopard in Johannesburg.

Restaurants that were eligible to receive an American Express Platinum Fine Dining Award have to accept the credit card as payment, and have to accept a booking for four by a Platinum Card holder within four days of booking. Excellence, creativity, and offering guests an exquisite culinary experience are evaluated.

New head of the American Express Platinum Fine Dining Awards is Tamsin Snyman, who also is the Africa and Indian Ocean Islands chairman of the World’s 50 Best Restaurant Awards.  She has taken over the Awards management from Victor Strugo, who had been involved for the past 16 years.

Nedbank Head of Corporate Card Services Pamela White said about the awards: ‘The awards continue to reflect the country’s rising culinary spirit and serve as a catalyst in championing the enhancement of the fine dining industry and experience in South Africa. As the exclusive issuer of American Express in South Africa, we are honoured to be associated with this initiative as it not only celebrates South African restaurateurs but also promotes fine dining’.

Last year the American Express Platinum Fine Dining Awards list had 95 restaurants, the Western Cape list having reduced by four restaurants on the list, despite having added four new restaurants, therefore a total loss of eight restaurants.  Western Cape restaurants no longer on the list this year are La Colombe (probably due to the long period of closure and its new premises not yet operating), Zachary’s, Bukhara, Bombay Brasserie at The Taj, Savoy Cabbage, Kurland Hotel Restaurant, Constantia Uitsig (closed down), and Serendipity’s.  The reason for the restaurants dropping off the list may be the tough economic climate, some of the restaurants purposely no longer accepting Amex credit cards due to their high merchant commission rate, or they have been judged to no longer meet the standards.  Missing from the Western Cape list altogether but being in a Top 20 Restaurant league are The Test Kitchen, Pot Luck Club, The Kitchen at Maison, Equus, Camphors at Vergelegen, Mondiall, Tokara, Burrata, Springfontein Eats, Indochine, The Restaurant at Newton Johnson, and Jardine at Jordan.

The 2015 Award winners are: Continue reading →

Western Cape shines in 2014 American Express® Platinum Fine Dining Awards!

MasterChef 2 14 Chef David dish Whale Cottage PortfolioOnce 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 →

Western Cape sparkles in Bollinger Exceptional Wine Service Award!

Six of the ten Semi-Finalists for the Bollinger Exceptional Wine Service Award come from Cape Town and the Winelands, and go through to the Semi-Finals, which take place in Cape Town and Johannesburg next month.

The Semi-Finalists come from top hotels and restaurants.  In the Cape they are Gregory Mutambe from the Twelve Apostles Hotel, David Nel from La Colombe, Joakim Blackadder from The Roundhouse, Josephine Gutentoft from Grande Roche, Carl Habel from the Mount Nelson, and Wayve Kolevsohn from Le Quartier Français.  The Oyster Box’s Eric Botha is the sole KwaZulu-Natal Semi-Finalist, while Mike Buthelezi from Signature, Sean Trollip from Kream, and Francis Krone from the Saxon Boutique Hotel are the Gauteng-based Semi-Finalists.  To get to the Semi-Finalist stage, the candidates had to write an ‘open book test’.  In the Semi-Finals, wine styles and tasting will be tested blind, as will be their ability to make food and wine pairing recommendations, and their professionalism in wine service.

The competition is endorsed by the recently formed South African Sommelier Association, of which Neil Grant at Rust en Vrede is the Chairman.  Members of the Association will assist in the judging.  The competition is organised by Michael Fridjhon, importing Riedel glassware, and Vinimark The Wine Company, importers of Champagne Bollinger. The winner of the competition will be announced on 11 November, and will win a trip to France to visit the House of Champagne Bollinger.

Entry criteria included a minimum three year experience in the hospitality industry, employment in food or wine service in South Africa, and entrants to be 21 years or older.  They were also expected to have a knowledge of wine styles and terminology, wine label information, wine regulations, regions of origin, international wine regions, identify wines in a blind tasting, service, food and wine pairing, wine storage, and an ability to interact with customers.  “The Bollinger Exceptional Wine Service Award has been established to bring focus and recognition of achievement to the growing group of professional wine waiters in South Africa”, states the media release.

We wish the Semi-Finalists good luck in the next stage of the Bollinger Exceptional Wine Service Award.

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