The 2023 Eat Out Woolworths Restaurant Awards kick off!

2023 eat out woolworths restaurant awards

The rigorous selection process that culminates in the Eat Out Woolworths Restaurant Awards event in November has begun. There’s a reason this iconic event has become South Africa’s premier annual restaurant awards and it all has to do with meticulous planning, an impeccable judging methodology, and a constant re-evaluation to make sure the judging process is as thorough as possible.

In 2023, Woolworths returns as a partner and headline sponsor whose commitment to quality ingredients and sustainability aligns beautifully with what the Eat Out brand and its celebrated wards stand for.

Once again, the Eat Out Woolworths Restaurant Awards will applaud and recognise excellence in the South African restaurant industry, with its Eat Out Star rating system that was introduced in 2022 and enthusiastically received by both restaurants and patrons as the best way to evaluate the nation’s best restaurants. It is these One, Two, and Three Eat Out Star winners, along with a number of prestigious Special Awards (including Restaurant and Chef of the Year), that will be recognised at the awards event in November after an exhaustive six-month judging process.

Eat Out brand custodian and New Media CEO Aileen Lamb says: “In 2023, we celebrate Eat Out’s 25-year journey as South Africa’s premier restaurant brand. When the Eat Out Restaurant Awards returned in 2022 after a two-year hiatus, Woolworths joined us as the headline sponsor as we celebrated the industry’s excellence – and resilience. The gala event ceremony truly embodied a spirit of revitalisation. This year, Woolies continues their support, and we look forward to growing this fabulous partnership – built on shared values of quality, flavour and innovation – while raising a glass to the best of the best.”

Zyda Rylands, Chief Executive Officer: Woolworths Food, adds: “Woolworths’ partnership with Eat Out is important because we believe in rewarding our great talent – and even more so our local talent. We also know for certain that a good dish starts with good ingredients. Our Good Business Journey focuses on sustainable production to deliver innovation and flavour, which are key attributes at the core of our Food business, and these characteristics are what make the Woolies Difference that we are proud of. Our partnership with Eat Out is anchored in the opportunity to celebrate our alignment of values, particularly when it comes to quality, innovation and sustainability. Therefore, following the success of the 2022 Woolworths Eat Out Awards, we are really looking forward to witnessing the incredible creativity and passion the industry has to offer in 2023.”

What the awards mean to its recipients

The Eat Out Woolworths Restaurant Awards play a crucial role in the upliftment and empowerment of the restaurant industry and serve as a platform where chefs can share ideas, innovate and inspire one another.

Chef Wesley Randles of Nevermind, which won Best Destination Restaurant at the 2022 awards, points out that recognition is pivotal to the industry: “People don’t realise that when there are initiatives acknowledging those who are striving harder than others to create a special business, it means something more.”

Johannes Richter, head chef at The LivingRoom at Summerhill Guest Estate, which won the coveted Eat Out Woolworths Restaurant of the Year Award, shares that the recognition has helped fill seats: “It has really changed everything for us,” he says. “It’s great to have those efforts recognised. The award has also put us on the national map and for that we are very blessed. We’re now seeing an influx and are fully booked most of the time. The award has also instilled a huge sense of pride with our team that they are being recognised – and that’s big.”

Chef Darren Badenhorst from Dusk, the winner of the Best New Restaurant for 2022, explains that winning this prestigious award helps inspire other young and upcoming chefs: “Winning the best new restaurant has proven to our staff and other young aspiring chefs that hard work, commitment, creativity and consistency pays off, and through this achievement new doors open and allow our employees to grow with us.”

Not only do the awards drive awareness around the talent of the industry, but they are a conduit for driving restaurants and chefs to innovate, create and achieve excellence.

“I will say that the new model where stars are awarded is great,” shares chef Neil Swart of two-star restaurant Belly of the Beast. “It allows for more restaurants to be included, and I think it creates healthy competition. We felt that everyone was happy for each other at the 2022 awards.”

Looking forward

With the 2023 awards season kicking off, we will be revealing our esteemed panel of judges and more exciting details in the coming months.

Eat Out chief judge Abigail Donnelly says she is excited to work with and be inspired by the 2023 judging panel. “I look forward to sharing our eating experiences with the Eat Out audience and discovering the new restaurants around South Africa, as well as visiting the established ones that are elevating the standards of our chefs and restaurants around the country.”

Keep an eye on the Eat Out website and social media channels for further announcements and updates on the Eat Out Woolworths Restaurant Awards 2023!

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