Remember a while back I posted about the Eat In Produce Awards? Well now it's the turn of the Prudential Eat Out Restaurant awards. The 2008 awards were announced at a ceremony in Cape Town late November last year, and it seems that I'm not the only one smitten with La Colombe at Constantia Uitsig.
La Colombe was not only awarded the 2008 Restaurant of the Year title, but chef Luke Dale-Roberts also won 2008 Chef of the Year. The awards are regarded as the “Oscars” of the restaurant industry and are judged by a highly-regarded panel that includes Eat Out’s award-winning editor Abigail Donnelly as well as restaurateur Dario De Angeli, director of the SA Chefs Association, Arnold Tanzer, and food alchemist Peter Goffe-Wood. Two other high-profile awards, the Prudential Eat Out Lifetime Achievement Awards and the Woolworths Taste Bursary Award, went to Frank Swainston (whose divine honey roasted chicken is one of my kitchen standbys) and Nerita Bharuth respectively.
Another area (one often sadly neglected in even top South African restaurants) that received recognition was service, and the 2008 Prudential Eat Out Service Award went to Terroir in Stellenbosch. Service staff were praised for their great attitude, from the reservation process and menu knowledge, to matching wine with food. As the judges rightly pointed out, it's not only about hiring the right people but also about training them properly, developing their skills and (hopefully!) retaining them. I could not agree more – roll on the era of the professional waiter in South Africa, and make sure you pay them a competitive wage!
The Prudential Eat Out Top 10 Restaurants were also announced on the night. Given the variety, both in terms of geographical distribution and cuisine, local and international fine diners will have ample scope to map an exciting new gastronomic route through South Africa’s best eateries.
The 2008 Prudential Eat Out Top 10 Restaurants in order from one to 10 are:
1. La Colombe (Cape Town) – Chef: Luke Dale-Roberts
2. Jardine (Cape Town) – Chef: George Jardine
3. Terroir (Stellenbosch) – Chef: Michael Broughton
4. Overture (Stellenbosch) – Chef: Bertus Basson
5. Restaurant Mosaic at the Orient (Pretoria) – Chef: Chantel Dartnall
6. Rust en Vrede (Stellenbosch) – Chef: David Higgs
7. The Tasting Room at Le Quartier Français (Franschhoek) – Chef: Margot Janse
8. Roots at the Forum Homini Boutique Hotel (Johannesburg) – Chef: Philippe Wagenfuhrer
9. Bizerca (Cape Town) – Chef: Laurent Deslandes
10. Hartford House (Kwa-Zulu Natal Midlands) – Chef: Jackie Cameron
Also launched on the evening was the 2009 gold issue of Eat Out magazine. The new directory reveals the Prudential Eat Out Awards winners and showcases the 1 000 best places to eat in South Africa. So armed withyour copy, you'll never have to wonder where to go for dinner again!
Congratulations to all the very deserving winners and thanks to Prudential for sponsoring such a great event.