The Eat Out Mercedes-Benz Restaurant Awards winners were announced at an award ceremony that took place at GrandWest in Cape Town on Sunday, with The Restaurant at Waterkloof taking the top spot, a position that’s been held by The Test Kitchen since 2012. Said Chef Gregory Czarnecki, Executive Chef of The Restaurant at Waterkloof: “We cook for pleasure and we cook to fulfil our passion and to get recognised for it is an amazing feeling. I am truly proud of the team and what they were able to achieve. It’s just incredible.”

Winning the 2018 Eat Out S.Pellegrino & Acqua Panna Chef of the Year is Kobus van der Merwe of Wolfgat, and the Eat Out Diners Club Service Excellence Award went to The Test Kitchen. Moses Magwaza, sommelier at Restaurant Mosaic at The Orient was named winner of the Eat Out Wine Service Award for the second year running.

Chef Candice Philip of Grei Restaurant won the Nederburg Rising Star award, while Saint restaurant in Johannesburg was recognised with the Eat Out VISI Style Award. Janse & Co was the recipient of the Eat Out Retail Capital New Restaurant of the Year Award and sommelier Germain Lehodey received the Eat Out John Psillos Award for Outstanding Contribution to Service.

At the helm of judging the restaurant awards is Chef Margot Janse, who convened the anonymous panel of judges that scored the restaurants. The judges will remain on the panel to ensure consistency from year to year, and will remain anonymous. Said Margot: “I am a chef at heart and know what it takes to make a restaurant unique and successful. I understand the pressures of maintaining and exceeding expectations. It has been my absolute honour to convene the judges this year, and I am looking forward to becoming Eat Out’s chief judge.”

The chefs at the 30 nominated restaurants were given the opportunity to vote for a champion chef amongst their peers. In a first-ever tie, two chefs share this award: the winners of the Eat Out Graham Beck Chefs’ Chef Award are Chris Erasmus of Foliage and Ivor Jones of Chefs Warehouse at Beau Constantia.

Abigail Donnelly was honoured with the Eat Out Lannice Snyman Lifetime Achievement Award. The former editor of Eat Out, Abigail was recognised for her contribution to the industry and the brand over the last decade.

The Werf Restaurant at Boschendal received the Eat Out Woolworths Sustainability Award in recognition of its commitment to implementing environmentally and socially responsible practices. The winner was selected by a separate panel of judges, consisting of Sonia Mountford of Eategrity, Karen Welter of the Longtable Project and Pavitray Pillay of WWF-SASSI.

Selvin Govender, Marketing Director of Mercedes-Benz Cars, said, “I’d like to offer my congratulations to all the 2018 nominees and winners. We’re thrilled to recognise South Africa’s esteemed industry stars, and encourage the public to go out and try these phenomenal restaurants.”

All the winners celebrated at the 2018 Eat Out Mercedes-Benz Restaurant Awards are:

Eat Out S.Pellegrino & Acqua Panna Chef of the Year: Kobus van der Merwe of Wolfgat
Eat Out Restaurant of the Year: The Restaurant at Waterkloof

Top 10 Restaurants:

  1. The Restaurant at Waterkloof
    2. The Test Kitchen
    3. La Colombe
    4. Wolfgat
    5. La Petite Colombe
    6. Greenhouse at The Cellars-Hohenort
    7. Restaurant Mosaic at The Orient
    8. Camphors at Vergelegen
    9. Jardine Restaurant
    10. Chefs Warehouse at Beau Constantia

Restaurants ranked from 11–20

  1. Fermier Restaurant
    12. Jordan Restaurant
    13. Foliage
    14. Le Coin Français
    15. The Chefs’ Table
    16. Chefs Warehouse at Maison
    17. La Tête
    18. Overture
    19. The Shortmarket Club
    20. The Pot Luck Club

Eat Out Diners Club Service Excellence Award: The Test Kitchen
Eat Out Nederburg Rising Star: Candice Philip of Grei
Eat Out Retail Capital New Restaurant of the Year: Janse & Co
Eat Out Graham Beck Chefs’ Chef Award: Chris Erasmus of Foliage and Ivor Jones of Chefs Warehouse at Beau Constantia
Eat Out Wine Service Award: Moses Magwaza of Restaurant Mosaic at The Orient
Eat Out John Psillos Award for Outstanding Contribution to Service: Germain Lehodey
Eat Out Lannice Snyman Lifetime Achievement Award: Abigail Donnelly
Eat Out Woolworths Sustainability Award: The Werf Restaurant at Boschendal
Eat Out VISI Style Award: Saint

“20 years ago the Eat Out Mercedes-Benz Restaurant Awards were established to acknowledge the incredible talent, artistry and service in the South African restaurant industry. We have seen exceptional chefs and restaurants pushing boundaries year after year, and receiving the acclaim they deserve, locally and internationally – this is the very essence of what the awards are about. With talent like this, it is easy to see why South Africa is viewed as a world-class food destination,” said Aileen Lamb, MD of New Media, the owners of Eat Out.

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