In an exciting ceremony live streamed from Melbourne at midday, Eleven Madison Park was named as the best World’s 50 Best Restaurant, an accolade it last achieved seven years ago. A number of exciting restaurant rankings are reflected in the 2017 World’s 50 Best Restaurant list. I have been fortunate to eat at some of the World’s 50 Best Restaurants in New York, London, and in France, in the past ten months. Our reviews of some of these follow below. Continue reading →
The Top 12 12forward restaurants in Cape Town (but including the Winelands, more accurately) have been announced. They are available on the 12forward iPhone App, but will also be launched for Android shortly. Continue reading →
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 →
It has been an exciting early morning, with the World’s 50 Best Restaurants announced from Cipriani Wall Street in New York from 2h00 this morning. The Test Kitchen has done our country and Cape Town in particular proud, by becoming the 22nd Best Restaurant in the World! Osteria Francescana in Modena in Italy, owned by Chef Massimo Bottura, is the World’s Best Restaurant. Continue reading →
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 →
* Sharing services such as Uber and Airbnb are coming under pressure to comply with laws of running their businesses and paying taxes, some countries reacting strictly, and others welcoming their input to the expansion of the economy. Uber was banned in Germany for a while, but has been allowed to operate again. Airbnb has picked up problems in Barcelona for breaching the city’s rental rules. A number of court cases in the USA alone relate to payment of gratuities to drivers, advertised as being included in the price, but drivers do not appear to be receiving their full gratuities.
* The World’s 50 Best Restaurants has moved its presentation date to Monday 1 June 2015, having hosted the awards at the end of April for the past twelve years. The awards recognise the best restaurants in the world. In 2014 only The Test Kitchen made the prestigious top 50 list. (received via media release from The World’s 50 Best Restaurants, forwarded by Tamsin Snyman)
* Saronsberg has relaunched its Provenance range with a new label, depicting the ‘From Earth, From Water‘ sculpture by Angus Continue reading →
The 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 →
The eagerly awaited 12th The World’s 50 Best Restaurant Awards was held last night at The Guildhall in London, and the Top 50 Restaurants were announced. Restaurants ranked 51st – 100th were listed on the Awards website, which crashed just after the Awards ceremony!
The initiative of Restaurant magazine in the UK, and using 900 judges from around the world, a total of 6552 votes were cast to vote for the world’s best restaurants. The world was divided into 26 regions, chaired by an expert for that region. Tamsin Snyman heads the Africa panel of 36 members, who had to eat at 4 local as well as at 3 international restaurants to cast their vote. No score is required – the vote is purely for the best restaurants they ate at, and must be presented in ranked order. Every year 10 panelists step down per region, to be replaced by new ones. For the first time in seven years Snyman did not attend, for family reasons.
The biggest surprise was that Noma in Copenhagen went back to its number one 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 →
This year the Good Food and Wine Show has new owners, Fiera Milano Exhibitions Africa, and in some respects little has changed, yet it felt as if most of the show consisted of theatre demonstrations, most of which has to be paid for in addition to the R110 entrance fee. Controversial Celebrity Chef Gordon Ramsay certainly is the main attraction of the Show.
At the entrance to the Show, where one buys the tickets, Ramsay’s poster attracts attention, the only visual that indicates that the Cape’s main food show is inside the doors of the Cape Town International Convention Centre, running until Sunday. As one walks through the hall, one quickly gets to the ticket office selling tickets for Ramsay’s demos, as well as his books. Thereafter one sees the queue, waiting patiently to get into his demo. I asked a Capetonian how much she had paid and why she wanted to see Ramsay. She said that she had paid R250 for the ‘cheap’ show (and not R950 for the VIP version, she said with derision) and that her son wanted to see Ramsay, costing her R720 for the tickets and entrance alone. Where we walked, we saw stands set up for demonstrations, some larger, some smaller. The Checkers Celebrity Chefs Theatre was curtained off, one hearing the cheering when Ramsay arrived to put on his show, and for many it was more of a comedy club than a serious cooking demonstration. Ramsay hosts the 11h00, 13h30, and 18h00 slots today, and 11h00, 13h30 and 16h30 slots on Sunday. Other Celebrity Chefs on stage this weekend are Australian restaurateur Bill Granger, master pâtissier Eric Lanlard, and twins Isabella and Sofia Bliss of Junior MasterChef Australia. ‘Giggling Gourmet’ Jenny Morris and Rooi Rose Food Editor Vickie de Beer will do presentations on ‘Decadent Desserts’ at the Häagen-Dasz and Pillsbury stand. Chef Eric Lanlard and a number of other local baking specialists will be on show at the Golden Cloud interactive theatre. Spar has a Wine & Canapés Theatre, while Spekko sponsors a ‘Tafelpraatjies‘ Theatre with talks by leading Afrikaans food presenters.
Woolworths had set up a massive ‘Real Food Theatre’, stylishly decorated, attracting attention with its branding. It was one of few stands that did not charge for attendance, accepting attendance on a first come first served basis. At the time we came across the Theatre, Chef Christiaan Campbell from Delaire Graff was setting up to do his demo, and 12 volunteers from the audience were requested to prepare his menu of a starter of Cured eye of pasture-reared silverside with parmesan and radishes, and a main course of potato gnocchi and mushroom sauce. Chef Christiaan described his menu as being terroir-driven, the silverside having come from grass fed pasture beef from Greenfields in KwaZulu-Natal, and the baby radishes from Farmer Angus at Spier, having grown in their compost heap, Chef Christiaan explained. Lorraine Bourgogne, our intern from Reunion, volunteered to cook at one of six stations, and Chef Christiaan had his hands full to teach his new ‘students’ how to make his dishes, viewed by the audience. They were lucky to take their creations home with them. Chef Peter Tempelhoff of The Greenhouse, Bill Granger, Tamsin Snyman, award-winning food bloggers Anel Potgieter and Nina Timm, and Rebecca Hurst will do demos this weekend at the Woolworths stand. The Woolworths Little Chefs Kitchen has hands-on workshops for children by Chefs Peter Tempelhoff, Christiaan Campbell, and Isabella and Sofia Bliss this weekend.
For the rest there were some interesting small stands, the Las Paletas artisan lollies stand attracting attention with its attractive stand design, despite its small size. Jason Sandell’s wife Diana Chavarro is from Colombia (they met in London), and the name of their business is the Spanish for …’ice lolly’. Diana has a marketing background, and it shows in the attractive design of the stand, and its marketing material. The ‘business card’ is a lolly stick, which contains their contact details! They are usually to be seen at the City Bowl Market on Saturday mornings. What makes their lollies so special is the unusual taste combinations, e.g. strawberries and cream, guava and cheesecake, pomegranate lemonade, strawberry sorbet, coconut lemonade, kiwi sorbet, raspberry, yogurt and kiwi, spiced mango, peanut butter and jam, roast banana, granadilla gelato, and brownie cheesecake. An unusual design feature, and reflecting the green trend, was Moyo’s lettuce lattice screen, separating the food preparation and serving areas! Chocolates by Tomes is offering excellent Show prices, one of the best chocolate-makers in Cape Town. Denise’s Delights sells delicious cupcakes at only R10. The super friendly mother and daughter team of Erica and Ursula at the Puglia stand very kindly handed me a stracciatella mozzarella tub, knowing my weakness for their product. The Lebkuchen stand connected with my German roots! Paging through the Show booklet afterwards, we were surprised about how many stands we did not see, yet we felt we had walked up and down every aisle!
The alcoholic beverage section of the show is disappointing, and seems an unexciting side of the exhibition, tucked away at the far end, and not blending in nor ‘pairing’ with the food in the rest of the hall. Graham Beck partnered its MCC with Bentley’s Oyster Bar & Bistro, the only such food and wine pairing we saw.
What was extremely odd was seeing a number of stands that had no relationship to food or wine: DStv could be understood to be there, as a sponsor of the Checkers Celebrity Chef’s Theatre, but looked like a massive decoder sales showroom. Even weirder was the rather large Ariel stand, marketing the washing powder! But oddest of all was ‘Café la Domestos’, an Eastern-style table setting low on a tile floor, to represent that Domestos is such a safe and good cleaner that one can literally eat off the floor! Hence their taste treats (one could choose between salmon or labneh) were served on white tiles, a bizarre mental leap!
The Woolworths demo stand was the highlight of our visit, and is centrally located in the exhibition hall, allowing one to make a stop here to attend one of the demonstrations, or even better, to participate in one, without charge. One should bring along enough cash to give into the temptations throughout the Good Food & Wine Show!
Good Food & Wine Show, Cape Town International Convention Centre, Cape Town. Today and tomorrow. www.goodfoodandwineshow.co.za Twitter: @GoodfoodSA R110 entrance fee (includes a goodie bag with a pack of sugar sticks and a 400ml bottle of OMO Auto Liquid Detergent valued at about R30).
Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com Twitter: @WhaleCottage