The nominated products have streamed in, info sheets and motivations have been completed, and judging has officially begun for the 2014 Eat Out Zonnebloem Produce Awards. The awards will take place on Saturday 12 April, at a special market at the Stellenbosch Slowmarket. (Yes, you’re all invited.) But who gets to decide which of these outstanding food producers have the most passion and innovation and, most important of all, the most delicious food? Meet the judges:
Anelde has worked in the publishing industry for over 12 years. Her time has been divided between numerous magazines and media channels in a variety of positions, including features editor of Woolworths TASTE magazine and publisher and group editor of the Edgars Club magazine. In addition to her role as head of content for Woolworths W and TASTE, Anelde was content director of Eat Out for three years and is now editor-in-chief of the brand. During this time she has spearheaded the launch of an annual Eat Out market to coincide with the Eat Out Produce Awards, the biennial Eat Out Conference, and the revamped 2014 Eat Out Magazine.
Abigail Donnelly is Eat Out’s editor and group food editor of Woolworths TASTE magazine. Her passion is food – whether it’s finding the perfect sidewalk café, feasting on new dishes created by top SA chefs, developing recipes, or styling award-winning food pages. Abigail has been an in-house chef, used to run her own coffee shop and catering company, and worked as the food editor for FAIRLADY. A five-time winner of the Galliova Award for Best Food Writer and recipient of the 2012 Galliova Merit Award for styling and photography, Abigail is the chief judge of the Eat Out DStv Food Network Restaurant Awards, was a member of the judging panel of the S. Pellegrino World’s 50 Best Restaurants for 2011 and 2012, and appeared as a guest judge on the first season of MasterChef SA.
After winning the first season of MasterChef SA in 2012, Deena launched his own restaurant, Aarya, at Tsogo Sun in Montecasino. Food has been a lifelong passion of Deena’s: he has spent years reading copiously, learning from others, experimenting, and indulging his unparalleled passion for all things culinary. His approach to food and cooking is to keep it as simple as possible and focus equally on taste and the presentation of the meal.
Jackie Cameron’s heart is in KwaZulu-Natal. She was born and raised in the Midlands where, since 2002, she has filled the position of head chef at Hartford House, a five-star boutique hotel in rural Mooi River (no. 5 in the 2013 Eat Out Top 10). She graduated from the Christina Martin School of Food and Wine and cut her teeth at Mount Grace Country House and Spa. Under her guidance, the Hartford House restaurant has won numerous awards – including a spot in the Eat Out Top 10 four times. Jackie was voted by South African Tourism as one of the Top 10 Young South African Chefs, is a Chaîne des Rôtisseurs member, and is on the KwaZulu-Natal committee for the South African Chefs’ Association. As part of her endeavour to share her knowledge, Jackie writes a monthly column for The Witness newspaper.
Vanessa is head chef of Dear Me and The White Room in Cape Town and the winner of the inaugural Eat Out Rising Star Award at the 2013 Eat Out DStv Food Network Restaurant Awards. A graduate of the Institute of Culinary Arts in the Cape winelands, Vanessa widened her culinary experience abroad, working in the south of France, Zurich and London. Vanessa’s food philosophy is to create menus daily using only the freshest and most seasonal produce available, pairing them with exquisite wines. Other accolades include working under Charl Coetzee and English chef Dan Evans, formerly of Michelin-starred Odette’s and Anglesea Arms in London.
The winners of the 2014 Eat Out Zonnebloem Produce Awards will be announced at a special market on Saturday 12 April at the Stellenbosch Slowmarket on Oude Libertas Estate in Stellenbosch. The market is open to the public from 9am to 2pm, with the awards ceremony taking place at 10.30am.
Read more about the categories and criteria and stay up to date by visiting the website, following @Eat_Out on Twitter and using the hashtags #EatOutProduceAwards #WDC629, and liking Eat Out on Facebook.