Judging of the Top 10
The winners of the awards are chosen by a team of experts who remain anonymous throughout the judging process. The panel of judges is convened by Margot Janse.
Restaurants do not elect to be judged for the Top 10 restaurants.
With input from the Eat Out community, the judges draw up a list of candidates for nomination. Each restaurant has to adhere to the following guidelines:
- The establishment must have been open with the same highest-ranking chef since November 2017. Changes in décor, closure for winter or other breaks, and staffing changes, other than of the highest-ranking chef, over this time period do not disqualify a restaurant.
- Consistency and excellence must shine through every aspect of the experience.
- The owners and chef should demonstrate total passion for the business.
- They should also be dedicated to uplifting the industry.
- The sourcing of quality produce should be a priority.
The judges dine at each nominated restaurant and score them on the criteria below. Finally, the scorecards are audited and the winners calculated.
The full scorecard for 2018 is below:
– Menu composition: Choice, cooking techniques, variety of ingredients, dietary requirements. (/12)
– Ethical awareness: Sourcing of meat, seafood, dairy, eggs and other produce. (/5)
– Food presentation: Visual appeal, fits description, use of plate, garnishes. (/20)
– Food taste: Execution of dish, balance of flavours and textures. (/30)
– Price value: What's delivered on the plate relative to the price of the dish. Value for money. (/5)
– Wine choice: How many are offered, wine and food pairing, other beverages offered in pairing, knowledge of service staff, value for money. (/8)
Reservations process, arrival, attitude of staff, knowledge of menu and restaurant, specials, wine matching, dietary requirements, extra mile, billing.
Comfort level, atmosphere, clean linen, cutlery, music, bathroom.
As the food score is paramount, counting for 80% of the total score, in the instance of two restaurants having precisely the same overall score and therefore in a tie, the average food score of each restaurant will be used to break the tie.
Judging of the Eat Out Woolworths Sustainability Award
The Sustainability Award is judged by a separate panel of experts including Pavitray Pillay of WWF-SASSI, Sonia Mountford of Eategrity and Karen Welter of Longtable Project. Eat Out has worked with these partners to develop robust criteria for evaluating restaurants for this award. This award will recognise a restaurant that has made great strides towards being sustainable and sustainably aware. Interested South African restaurants complete an entry form to enter, are required to show proof of claims, and receive a site visit if shortlisted. The shortlisted restaurants are not announced, but will be given feedback by the judging panel.
Find out more and download the entry form here.
The panel of critics is made up of a diverse range of individuals – seasoned journalists, bloggers, writers, trained chefs, caterers, food personalities, lecturers and former restaurateurs. Each year, these industry experts rate thousands of candidates (including the most viewed restaurants on the site, those that received reader reviews and those recommended by critics in the know). The highest scoring restaurants are are then reviewed, and the best of that bunch form the Eat Out 500, published in our annual magazine.
Eat Out critics always dine unannounced and pay for their meals in full to ensure fair, unbiased reviewing.
Meet the panel for the 2019 magazine
1. Amy Ebedes
Amy is a digital editor living in Cape Town with a penchant for the outdoors, animals and gardening.
2. Anelde Greeff
Anelde has been working in media and marketing for a million years, and used to head up a restaurant guide. Now she eats just for pleasure. But she will write about it if you ask nicely.
3. Anna Montali
Food editor, blogger, recipe developer and food stylist, Anna is a renowned foodie with numerous awards under her belt including several Caxton awards, LG Home Chef in Dubai Award, and the Galliova Food Writer of the Year award.
4. Annelize Visser
Annelize is a writer, editor, content marketer and cook. After 18 months at chef school, she is about to qualify as a chef and dedicate the rest of her life to finding the perfect recipe for panna cotta.
5. Charlotte Pregnolato
Charlotte is a freelance food and lifestyle writer as well as an enthusiastic cook and an avid traveller.
6. Diane de Beer
Diane is a freelance journalist and a blogger who writes about food, theatre, movies, books, life, the universe and everything else.
7. Geraldine Fröhling
Geraldine is a former entertainment journalist/food writer and now earns her bread-and-butter doing corporate communications. She is a proud Pretorian and believes in good, honest food, done right.
8. Graham Howe
Graham has contributed reviews to fifteen editions of Eat Out since 2005. A seasoned food, wine and travel journalist, he has visited over sixty countries on assignment and broadcast, blogged and recorded his culinary adventures for radio, print and online for over fifty publications in South Africa and the UK.
9. Greg Landman
A long-time Eat Out reviewer, Greg is a contributor to lifestyle publications and eats avidly at restaurants locally and overseas.
10. Hanlie van der Merwe
Hanlie is one of the few positive-pant-wearers left in advertising. (Chasing food memories means these pants can get a bit tight from time to time.) Recently, she found herself standing in front of a pastel de nata asking it how exactly it is related to her mom’s milk tart.
11. Hennie Fisher
Hennie is a culinary arts lecturer, hospitality researcher and wine writer.
12. Hope Malau
A cooking academy graduate and food editor, Hope has won the Galliova Food Writer of the Year award in 2015 and 2016.
13. Ilse van der Merwe
Ilse is also known as The Food Fox, a digital food producer and blogger based in Stellenbosch. When she's not eating croissants, she's drinking proper coffee or opening "the good" wine.
14. Isiguzoro Onyeoziri
Isi is a sensory researcher and consumer insights specialist, who is passionate about finding ways to constantly excite and interest people in experiencing life through interactions between their senses and food.
15. Jackie Cameron
Author of two cookbooks and an award-winning chef, Jackie runs the Jackie Cameron School of Food & Wine in Hilton, KwaZulu-Natal.
16. Jeanette Clark
Jeanette Clark is a communications and governance consultant living in the Koue Bokkeveld. She believes it is an absolute necessity to celebrate life often – around a table with good wine and lovingly prepared food.
17. Jeanne Calitz
Jeanne is a freelance lifestyle editor and writer from Cape Town.
18. Jess Spiro
Jess is a culinary school graduate who made the leap from cooking to writing and is now a freelance food and lifestyle writer based in Cape Town.
19. Jodi-Ann Pearton
A Silwood graduate, Jodi-Ann has experience spanning from working at The French Laundry to owning an agency specialising in food styling, product development, high-end functions, celebrity cheffing and skills upliftment. She has served on the board of the South African Chefs Association and been a regular columnist in food publications.
20. Jody Theodore
Private chef, food artist and TV personality, Jody currently mentors and facilitates life orientation at Leap 2 Philippi. He is also the founder of Flavourza, which allows him to get creatively irresponsible.
21. John Maytham
John is a radio presenter with a special interest in food and wine.
22. Kate Liquorish
Kate is an actress and freelance food and travel writer. When she's not treading the boards or seeking out her next narrative, she's a connoisseur of coffee, a guzzler of good wine and scoffer of all things delicious. She writes for various publications.
23. Kate Wilson
Former editor of SL, House & Leisure, Marie Claire and Women’s Health, Kate is now pursuing her first love (food!) as editor of Woolworths TASTE and content director for all WW food content produced by New Media Publishing.
24. Katharine Pope
Katharine is associate editor of Woolworths TASTE magazine. She’s also written for Eat Out, Visi, the Mail & Guardian and the Sunday Times. Her claim to fame: the ability to eat almost anything, except bananas, which she despises.
25. Kgomotso Moncho-Maripane
Kgomotso is an arts and lifestyle journalist and occasional broadcaster specialising in theatre, music and urban culture.
26. Khanya Mzongwana
Khanya is a chef, food stylist and writer based in Pretoria.
27. Kholeka Kumalo
A content creator and features editor, Kholeka is moved by music, words and food.
28. Lesley Jacobs
Chef Lesley Jacobs is the owner and national program director of the FBI Chef School group. Lesley has been in the industry since 1997 and has been instrumental in the training of chefs and hospitality workers since then.
29. Linda Scarborough
A former teacher and now the editor of Eat Out, Linda spends most of her waking hours talking about, writing about and eating the country’s best cuisine – and Niknaks.
30. Lindsay September
Lindsay is the copy editor of Eat Out and has written features for online and print publications. She prefers baking over cooking but eats indiscriminately.
31. Lynda Ingham-Brown
Lynda is the senior copy editor at Woolworths TASTE.
32. Marie-Lais Emond
Marie-Lais is an editor, writer, food reviewer and radio personality.
33. Martli de Jager
Martli is an occupational therapist by profession and studies creative writing part-time. She has a love for South African food and good wine.
34. Mokgadi Itsweng
Mokgadi has been featured on TV, developed recipes for magazines, participated in food festivals and worked on recipe books in addition to being creative director for a food company. She was awarded a Galliova award for food writing in 2013.
35. Nelleke Elston
Trained pastry chef Nelleke Elston worked as a food stylist while running a health-food focused catering business. Currently she manages her own guest house in George, where she lives out her passion for simple living and a slower lifestyle with her family.
36. Nicola Ashe
Nicola, a proud Durbanite, is a brand consultant and lifestyle blogger.
37. Nicola Jenvey
Nicola is a freelance journalist with a passion for food and wine.
38. Nikita Buxton
Nikita is a Durbanite living in the beautiful Mother City, who believes that every great meal should start with a glass of bubbly.
39. Paddi Clay
Paddi loves to cook, eat out and travel, and is set on doing more of all three now that she has racked up four decades in journalism and news as a foreign correspondent, editor and trainer.
40. Philippa Murray
Philippa is a local food and wine lover living in the Overberg. She loves eating out, shamelessly steals tips and tricks to try to impress her own guests at home, and believes a table is not properly set if it does not have linen napkins.
41. Richard Holmes
Richard is a freelance travel and food journalist.
42. Rupesh Kassen
Rupesh is a chef, freelance writer and food tour guide.
43. Sandiso Ngubane
Sandiso is a freelance writer, trend analyst and performer.
44. Seth Shezi
Seth is a lifestyle brand strategist, writer, photographer and creative director.
45. Siphiwe Mpye
Siphiwe is an entrepreneur, consultant, writer and editor with almost two decades of experience in the media, communications, arts and culture and non-profit industries.
46. Steve Steinfeld
Founder of The Joburg Foodie blog, Steve spends his time exploring the ins and outs of South Africa’s food scene, highlighting and showcasing his finds to his loyal followers.
47. Sylvia McKeown
Sylvia is a futurist and a future pastry chef. This tech and food journo is currently studying at Prue Leith Chef School part time while writing about fine food, booze and robotics. You will most likely find her eating some form of breakfast food (at any given time of day) while staring at the closest plant available.
48. Tayla Foong
Tayla is a marketing and social media manager.
49. Thando Ndabezitha
Thando is a books editor, fashion magazine copy editor and scribe whose interests range from reviewing books and food writing to critical discourse analysis. She holds an MA in journalism from Rhodes University.
50. Thulisa Martins
Thulisa has over 10 years of experience in the food industry as a product developer, food editor, innovation manager and blogger. She has a food and consumer science diploma.
51. Tshepang Molisana
Tshepang is a writer and editor from Johannesburg. She was awarded the Veritas Young Wine Writer of the Year in 2016.
52. Xolisa Phillip
Xolisa is a news editor and writer.
53. Zanele Kumalo
After starting out as a sub-editor and reporter for a newspaper, Zanele has worked as glossy magazine beauty editor, Joburg correspondent, bureau chief and editor. She is also an entrepreneur, DJ and speaker.
54. Zodwa Kumalo-Valentine
Zodwa is a freelance writer and digital director.
55. Zola Nene
Eat Out’s restaurant editor, Zola is a chef, food stylist, award-winning recipe book author and TV show host.