Tomorrow 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. Continue reading →
Invited guests included the Top 20 Finalists for the awards, and tasting tables had been set up to allow the twenty Finalist wines to be tasted. No one knew who would make the Top 10 list. A shelf had been set up to display all top twenty Continue reading →
In the past all chefs invited to cook were seen to be sure winners, When this became so predictable, half the chefs cooking were awarded Top 10 status, while the other half were Top 20 Finalists who did not make it to Top 10. This year Eat Out has Continue reading →
Eat Out has just announced its Top 20 list, communicated very oddly (and inconveniently) by individual Tweet to each of the Top 20 restaurants. As can be expected, there are some surprise additions and omissions on the list. Stellenbosch and Cape Town are in direct competition, with six Top 20 Finalist Restaurants each. The 2014 Eat Out Mercedes-Benz Top 10 Restaurant Awards will be presented on Sunday 16 November.
New entrants to the list are La Mouette, The Restaurant at Newton Johnson, The Pot Luck Club, and The White House at Dear Me. The latter restaurant’s addition to the list is a surprise, given that it is only open twice a week, on Thursday and Friday evenings. Eat Out judge Andy Fenner supplying the restaurant from his down-in-the-dungeon Frankie Fenner Meat Merchants ‘butchery‘ on Church Street makes this nomination a conflict of interest!
Returnees to the list, after being eliminated last year, are Mosaic at The Orient and Terroir.
Omissions from the list, surprisingly, are Burrata (Best Italian restaurant last year), Indochine (very good score in Top 20 last year), Azure at The Twelve Apostles Hotel & Spa, Equus at Cavalli, The Restaurant at Grande Provence, Springfontein Eats, and for many, The Foodbarn.
* Ineligibilty due to chef changes are Delaire Graff Restaurant, Camphors at Vergelegen, Mondiall, Pierneef à La Motte, Hartford House, and Babylonstoren, as well as La Colombe, due to its venue change and long closure as a result.
Last month we asked if Eat Out had enough Top 20 Chefs to fill its list, given that six previous Top 20 restaurants have had chef changes in the past few months.
The Eat Out Top 20 Restaurant list is as follows: Continue reading →
One wonders why New Media Publishing is changing its Eat Out 2014 magazine, announcing on Monday that it is reducing the size of the restaurant magazine by more than half, in carrying only 500 restaurant write-ups, compared to the listing of 1100 restaurants in Eat Out 2013!
The cost saving in reducing the size of the magazine is evident, advertising sales for the magazine probably being a greater challenge this year, given how tight the economy is. Another reason must be the power of the internet, with fewer restaurant lovers paging through the Eat Out magazine, and more Googling information about restaurants, often finding the websites of Food24 and Eat Out, with the largest listings of restaurants. Bloggers are a threat to these two sites, as increasingly top restaurant bloggers find their reviews on the first page of Google too. The blog reviews may have greater credibility than the conglomerate restaurant sites, in being more honest. The conglomerate restaurant sites have been seen to copy restaurant information directly from the restaurant websites, without writing their own reviews in many instances, thus affecting their credibility as an information source. The Eat Out website has been criticised for carrying out-of-date information about restaurants.
To try to detract attention away from the drastic reduction in the Eat Out 2014 content, New Media Publishing announced that restaurants must apply to be considered to be included in South Africa’s Top 500 restaurant list! Closing date for applications is 30 June. The applications will be evaluated ‘by a panel of 50 of ‘South Africa’s top food/restaurant industry experts (to be announced)’. Restaurants will be evaluated on menu composition, ingredient seasonality, wine, service, and ambiance, plus other (unnamed) factors. In case the message is not clear, the Eat Out announcement emphasises that only the Top 500 selected restaurants ‘that impress our 50-strong editorial panel’ will be included in the restaurant magazine next year. The form to be completed requests a description of the restaurant, the year in which it opened, its seating capacity, its signature dishes and the average price of the main courses (how does this work for a Tasting Menu?), its policy on BYO wine and the corkage fee, and the credit cards accepted by the restaurant.
It is disconcerting that the criteria for inclusion have not been clearly stated. Of concern too is that one of the most sensitive issues, being that the chef has to have been at the restaurant for a twelve month period from November 2012 onwards, is not mentioned, and one does not know if any/all restaurants, no matter how recently opened, will be included in the Top 500 Restaurant list. It is also not clear if the Top 20 shortlist, and the ultimate Eat Out Top 10 Restaurant list, will be derived from the Top 500 list!
Eat Out Top 500 Restaurants: http://www.myjotform.com/EatOut/restaurant Closing date 30 June. Image: Eat Out
Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com Twitter: @WhaleCottage