This afternoon Eat Out announced its list of the Top 30 restaurants in our country for this year. The Top 20 restaurants will be revealed at the Awards ceremony on 18 November at GrandWest, and the Top 10 list within that ranking. There are some surprise inclusions and exclusions in this list. Continue reading →
How are food trends made? Is it chefs inspired by other chefs, especially award-winning ones? Is it chefs doing stages in the top restaurants of the world, and returning to create dishes inspired by what they have seen and learnt, as has happened in our country with Noma clones!? Is it chefs looking at photographs of food bloggers and restaurant reviewers, or their photographs on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook?
The six following food trends are hot right now:
1. Bread and Butter: something many restaurants have done away with appears to be making a come-back, in being created as something so special that it is a serious dish on a menu. Breads are now self-baked, Banting-approved butter is not only served salted or unsalted, but also with additives like cheese, salts, bone marrow, burnt onion, sun-dried tomatoes, or Marmite, or as I experienced at Boschendal’s new The Werf Restaurant with lamb and beef added, or with Shiraz added at Equus at Cavalli. Serving whipped butter is particularly trendy.
2. Since Banting took off last year, the price of cauliflower has soared in Cape Town, a staple element of Banting menus, including cauli-mash, making bases for pizzas, and as a ‘safe‘ vegetable. Internationally Noma has revived this vegetable, by serving it pot-roasted whole, topped with pine and yoghurt whey. It is served puréed, barbecued, pickled, and even as a ‘steak’.
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 →
An American hospitality management company Benchmark Hospitality International has just released its ‘Top Dining Trends for 2013‘, based on observations by the chefs and culinary experts in its 39 hotels and restaurants. The bottom line is that diners look for ‘Fresh, local, and in season‘!
The trend to fresh and seasonal food is not new, the hospitality group says, ‘it’s what our grandmothers did day after day. They knew exactly what their family dined on as they had grown it in the garden and purchased it from the local butcher. It was fresh, in season, and bursting with flavor’. This is what diners want today as well, they conclude. These are the top dining trends they identify: Continue reading →
What a diverse and controversial episode 10 was last night, generating many emotions at different levels, as well as criticism of M-Net and MasterChef SA on Twitter for the first time since the commencement of Season 2. There was little that was judged to be favourable in the episode:
The losing Red Team (Joani Mitchell, Karen Els, Khumo Twala, Jason Steel, Leandri van der Wat, and Neil Lowe) from Tuesday evening had to go into the ‘Spice’ Test when they lost the Pizza Challenge by two points. Robertsons ‘Spices’ were the focus point of the Test, annoying viewers for such strong blatant branding of the sponsors’ products, in addition to being subjected to so many TV commercials, especially relative to Season 1. The criticism was two-fold:
* Herbs and spices are two different things, yet the contestants had to guess which combination of Robertsons ‘spices’ had been used in a number of dishes they could smell and taste (the company advertises spice and herb combinations), according to the judges’ brief, yet they had both herbs and spices to evaluate, including in a tomato dish, and in caramelised butternut. Chef Andrew Atkinson said that one’s tastebuds must be attuned to seasoning, so that one can change or enhance a dish’s flavour profile.
* No serious chefs would use Robertsons spices in their kitchens (except Chef Reuben Riffel of course, who endorses the brand and appears in its advertisements!), as ‘fresh is best’, the trend in restaurant and home cooking! Continue reading →