JHP Gourmet Guide announced SA’s 2020 plated restaurants at an unforgettable, happy function at the new, state-of-the-art KitchenAid Africa premises in Paarden Eiland. Happy because every restaurant and chef present, was lauded and rewarded. Host Dr Susanne Reuther, pulled out all the stops to ensure a fabulous function. Guests gathered drinking illy coffee and sipping Delaire Graff Estate’s Sunrise sparkling wine before the formalities started.
For me it was an opportunity to thank the many people who make this happen. The biggest thank-you was to the chefs and restaurants for the many meals and memories, for allowing us to share their journeys. We have four years of Gourmet Guides under our ever-widening belts. Time, as we know, is the most valuable ingredient, and respect, trust and credibility too, take time to earn. We are grateful for the response from the chefs who believe in the quality and integrity of what we do. What we do is not a competition, it is recognition for ongoing commitment to excellence.
The avalanche of bestowing accolades started with the HAUTE PERFORMANCE AWARDS. These are given to those creating footprints in the industry. Reuben Riffel (Passion), Faber (People/team), Carolize Coetzee (Promise), Giles Edwards (Pride) and Lord Nelson (Property) award. They won the most incredible, bespoke kimchi pots from Mervyn Gers Ceramics – hand-crafted, beautiful and durable, plus a KitchenAid artisanal mixer.
BUT IT’S ALL ABOUT THE PLATE
One plate is given for excellent cuisine, two for exceptional cuisine that demands a detour, and three for world-class destination dining worthy of a flight. There were 10 new one-plated restaurants and three new two-plated. Indochine joined the four three-plated-upper echelon to total five, in elite company with Greenhouse, Restaurant Mosaic, La Colombe and The Test Kitchen. This year saw a total of 36 plated restaurants, a dramatic increase from last year’s 25 – proof that the two-pronged approach of building skills and rewarding excellence simultaneously, sees results. Every plated restaurant received a KitchenAid artisanal mixer, plus a plate to display in the restaurant, made by Mervyn Gers Ceramics.
The plate rating is impartial and credible, equating to global standards of evaluation. Qualified, experienced reviewers with integrity conduct anonymous reviews, which are followed by a final, announced review at which chefs present the menu or dishes of their choice.
CREME DE LA CRÈME
Three three-plated restaurants receiving ultimate accolade for the third time, received a beautiful kimchi pot from Mervyn Gers Ceramics, highlighting the fact that time is the most ingredient: La Colombe, Restaurant Mosaic and The Test Kitchen.
ABALOBI PROVENANCE AWARD WINNERS received a provenance plate from Mervyn Gers Ceramics and training.
- Influencer – Nanda Cardoso of Chefs Warehouse & Canteen, a young pioneer who is articulating, auctioning and inspiring others to follow. Her ability to influence has been measured in terms of reach and impact.
- Champion – Bertus Basson, a legendary chef who is hands-on, practicing provenance in a tangible fashion in all of his restaurants, thereby creating meaningful impact.
- Advocate – Christiaan Campbell of The Werf Restaurant, an activist who is leading by example to create awareness and inspire change.
Martina Popkiss of SWISS International Air Lines joined me to present the third SWISS Culinary Innovation Award. We congratulated Peter Templehoff of FYN for creating a three-course experience that is unique, exciting, experiential and innovative – a perfect marriage of Japanese and indigenous Cape flavours. Peter wins two business-class tickets to Europe, courtesy of SWISS International Air Lines.
I am very fortunate to enjoy top-class fine dining establishments, in a country where many do not have a meal every day. My last thank you was to Streetsmart for making a difference, and to the restaurants that support them. A mere R5 on a bill makes a big difference.
As it was the chefs’ day off, we designed the day for the chefs – De Vrije Burger made the most delectable, juicy burgers, there was pizza and waffles plus an overwhelming array of sweets, plus La Chouffe beer from the Belgian Beer Company, more superlative wines from Delaire Graff Estate, San Pellegrino water and soft drinks from ClearWorld, who also treated everyone to tastings of authentic products from the Italian Deli, and coffee from illy. A long table in the garden was set up for chefs to relax around together, which they did, catching up with old friends and making new ones. DJ Didier kept the music in line with the mood, and a truly joyous time was had. The 2020 JHP Gourmet Guide will be available in Woolworths and Exclusive Books from next week!