Premium luxury vehicle manufacturer Mercedes-Benz aims to live up to its unmistakeable strapline – “The best or nothing” – by showcasing not only its luxury products, but the Mercedes-Benz lifestyle. To this end, Mercedes-Benz has entered into not only the fashion arena, but the world of fine dining, with its sponsorship of the Eat Out Mercedes-Benz Restaurant Awards.
In practical terms, the brand aims to be the market-leader across all premium automotive segments, and at the same time, bring to the fore what it is like to live in the world of the three-pointed star. This latter point can be achieved through the Mercedes-Benz online lifestyle portal, www.mblife.co.za, which focuses on art, design, fashion, travel, food, trends, technology and motoring.
In line with the changing face of its market, Mercedes-Benz is reaching out to a new, younger audience through increased online activities. Its sponsorship of the Eat Out Mercedes-Benz Restaurant Awards is another step into bringing the lifestyle of Mercedes-Benz to a wider audience.
Eat Out would like to thank the following sponsors for their support with the 2015 Eat Out Mercedes-Benz Restaurant Awards.
Proud associate sponsors of the 2015 Eat Out Mercedes-Benz Restaurant Awards:
The annual Boschendal Style Award is bestowed on the most stylish restaurant in South Africa.
Hard to define but easy to recognise, style is the elusive element that distinguishes great restaurants from the merely good. But style does not necessarily equal award-winning design: it’s all about the different elements of comfort, décor and atmosphere coming together to create a whole, whether it’s with a cutting-edge contemporary ambience or sumptuous vintage interiors.
Guests need to feel that they belong; chairs, music and lighting shouldn’t be too hard or too soft; and good-looking crockery and polished wine glasses are vital. Of course, décor and design is also key, whether the effect is glamorous, off-beat, classic or sophisticated urban chic.
The ultimate winner will be chosen by the anonymous judges of the Eat Out Restaurant Awards (announced on the night of the awards ceremony in November) in consultation with Eat Out editor and chief judge Abigail Donnelly.
The Top 10, Chef of the Year, Service Excellence and other special awards are judged by a team of anonymous judges, whose identities will be revealed at the awards ceremony on 15 November 2015.
With input from the Eat Out community and panel of critics, the judges draw up a long list of Top 10 candidates. Each restaurant is visited and judged anonymously according to a scorecard. From that pool, 20 nominees are selected.
The scorecard for 2015 is as follows:
Food and wine (70)
Menu composition and seasonality (12)
– The judges look for balance – on the menu, in the dishes, cooking styles, techniques and ingredients – and an awareness of different dietary requirements.
– Appreciation for the use of local and seasonal produce.
Ethical awareness (3)
Does the restaurant prioritise using ethically sourced animal products and sustainable fish species?
Is the dish attractively plated? Does the food look appealing? Does it match the menu description?
Judges consider the execution of the dishes and the balance of flavours and textures.
Price and value for money (5)
Do you get value for money, considering where you are?
Wine choice (10)
The variety on offer is considered, as well as the wine and food pairings, knowledge of the sommelier and staff, and
value for money.
From making the reservation to settling the bill, service can make or break a dining experience. The judges evaluate the attitude of staff; their knowledge of the menu, specials and wine pairings; and their willingness to go above and beyond to accommodate special requests.
The judges consider the spirit of a restaurant and the overall feeling it creates. Do you feel comfortable? Does the interior design speak of careful thought and attention to detail? Are the glasses, cutlery and linen spotless and of good quality?
Early in 2015 we asked our readers and members of the public to nominate their favourite restaurants to be considered for the 2016 edition of Eat Out magazine. (We received over 4700 nominations.) Nominated restaurants were rated by Eat Out’s editorial panel of 42 food industry experts around the country. Those restaurants with the highest ratings made up the Eat Out 500, the top 500 restaurants in South Africa, which are reviewed and featured in the magazine.
Eat Out critics dine anonymously and pay for their meals in full. Read more about our editorial policy here. Meet the dedicated reviewers who rated and reviewed this year's Eat Out 500.
1. Alida Ryder
Food photographer and author
2. Bianca Coleman
Freelance journalist and restaurant critic
3. Cathy Marston
Freelance writer, wine educator and author
4. Charlotte Pregnolato
Freelance lifestyle writer
5. Clement Pedro
Food assistant, Woolworths TASTE magazine
6. Claire Hu
Food and wine journalist
7. Colette du Plessis
Freelance food and health writer
8. Diane de Beer
Lifestyle and arts journalist, Pretoria News/Star Tonight
9. Echbert Boezak
kykNET presenter and writer
10. Graham Howe
Wine and food editor,
Habitat, freelance lifestyle journalist
11. Greg Landman
Freelance food and wine writer
12. Gwynne Conlyn
Broadcaster, author, writer and lecturer
13. Hennie Fisher
Culinary arts lecturer
14. Hetta van Deventer- Terblanche
SA food culture expert, consultant, chef
15. Hope Malau
Food editor, Drum
16. Ingrid Jones
Founder and co-owner, Mikateko Media, editorial head, Mango inflight magazine
17. Ishay Govender-Ypma
Writer, food blogger and recipe developer
18. Jeanne Calitz
Freelance writer, features editor, Eat Out
19. Jodi-Ann Pearton
Owner of The Food Design Agency, director of SA Chefs Association
20. John Maytham
Presenter, Cape Talk
21. Katharine Jacobs
Online editor, Eat Out
22. Lentswe Bhengu
Food personality, chef and presenter, Africa on a Plate
25. Lorna Maseko
TV personality and MD, Fabulous Productions
26. Malibongwe Tyilo
VISI editor-at-large, Elle contributing editor, blogger
27. Marie-Lais Emond
Freelance food writer, editor and radio personality
28. Mokgadi Itsweng
Food stylist, chef and food entrepreneur
29. Petro Lotz
Owner, Appetito Catering and Cooking School
30. Pieter du Toit
Wine marketer and representative
31. Priscilla Urquhart
Media specialist, head of communications at wonga.com
32. Raphaella Frame-Tolmie
Head of PR: Woolworths Foods
33. Rania Tarr
Owner of Nosh Café and Nosh Catering
34. Richard Holmes
Freelance food and travel writer
35. Rupesh Kassen
Chef and freelance writer
36. Shirley Berko
Blogger and culinary entrepreneur
37. Sandiso Ngubane
Trends analyst, lifestyle and culture writer
38. Sue-Ann Allen
Cookbook author, food personality and culinary entrepreneur
39. Thulisa Gogela
Food blogger and recipe developer
40. Thulisa Martins
Food stylist, blogger and food innovation manager
41. Tracy Gielink
Freelance food and wine writer
42. Zodwa Kumalo-Valentine
Freelance writer, digital director, Livity Africa
The four judges for the 2015 Eat Out Mercedes-Benz Restaurant Awards were revealed in a series of videos once judging was complete.
Abigail is the editor of Eat Out and the chief judge for the 2015 Eat Out Mercedes-Benz Restaurant Awards. Food editor for Woolworths TASTE magazine, a former chef and catering business owner, and five-time winner of the Galliova Award for Best Food Writer, Abigail has been a member of the judging panel of the San Pellegrino World’s 50 Best Restaurants twice, and has appeared as a guest judge on MasterChef SA.
Best known as a judge on MasterChef SA, Benny also knows his way around a kitchen. After completing his training at Natal Technikon, Benny worked at the Hilton hotel in Durban before taking on the role of promoting local food events abroad. He joined Tsogo Sun in 2006 and today fills the role of group executive chef.
Owner of the Jackie Cameron School of Food & Wine, which opened in April this year in Hilton in the KwaZulu-Natal midlands, Jackie is no stranger to the restaurant awards. While head chef at Hartford House, Jackie led the restaurant to win a spot in Eat Out’s Top 10 four times. She is also the designer of the JC Chef clothing range and the author of best-selling recipe book Jackie Cameron Cooks at Home.
Siba is an award-winning food writer, celebrity TV chef, food judge and passionate foodie with an authentic grounding in Africa. She has a degree in food and consumer sciences, majoring in food, food science and nutrition. Her show on the Food Network, Siba’s Table, is broadcast to over 130 countries around the world in Africa, Europe, Asia, Middle East, Australia and the USA - in over 60 million homes in America alone. She’s the first South African to achieve this. She’s also one of the main judges for Chopped SA and currently contributes on a monthly basis to the award-winning Woolworths TASTE magazine. She is a former food editor of Drum magazine, and her previous cooking show, Cooking with Siba won a South African Film and Television Award (SAFTA) award in 2013 for best lifestyle and variety show in its first season. She’s been invited to international food festivals to share her knowledge of food and to conduct cooking masterclasses. Her latest invitation is for the Taste of Abu Dhabi in the Middle East beginning of November this year. Siba is an ambassador for Foodbank South Africa and is very passionate with helping the less privileged, especially children.