The awards are regarded as the “Oscars” of the restaurant industry - and are judged by an esteemed panel that includes Eat Out's award-winning editor Abigail Donnelly as well as restaurateur Dario De Angeli, director of the SA Chefs Association, Arnold Tanzer, and food alchemist Peter Goffe-Wood.
Topping a shortlist of 20 nominees, La Colombe was applauded by Donnelly. “La Colombe excelled on all levels of an award-winning restaurant. It's the complete and ultimate dining experience. Luke Dale-Roberts cooks the finest cuisine using the very best ingredients and has superb technical skills, ambition and individuality - he has the ‘wow' factor.”
The glamorous award ceremony was held at the Westin Grand in Cape Town on Sunday, 30 November. Guests were treated to a spectacular, once-in-a-lifetime culinary experience, created by four award-winning chefs - Bertus Basson (Overture), Franck Dangereux (The Foodbarn), George Jardine (Jardine) and Phillippe Wagenfuhrer (Roots at The Forum Homini). The meal was a symphony of balanced tastes and textures that featured seasonal ingredients sourced from South Africa's finest producers.
Chef of the Year, Luke Dale-Roberts.
The 2008 Prudential Eat Out Service Award went to Terroir in Stellenbosch. “We celebrated Terroir as the winner for service since this year. All the judges experienced a great attitude from the service staff at Terroir - from the reservation and menu knowledge to matching wine with food. It's about hiring the right people, training them in the chef's methods and philosophies and then keeping them happy and developing their skills,” Donnelly explains.
The Prudential Eat Out Lifetime Achievement Award was posthumously awarded to Frank Swainston, former chef patron at Constantia Uitsig. During his 12 year tenure, Swainston became known for his generosity: with his staff, his guests and on his plates.
Nerita Bharuth is the recipient of the third annual Woolworths Taste Bursary Award. The talented 22-year-old is currently a junior chef for Fedics at GrandWest Casino in Cape Town. This award recognises and nurtures young talent in the culinary industry.
The Prudential Eat Out Top 10 Restaurants were announced on the night. With seven new restaurants making the list, fine diners are sure to map an exciting new gastronomic route through South Africa's best eateries.
Also launched on the evening was the 2009 gold issue of Eat Out magazine, published by New Media. The new directory reveals the Prudential Eat Out Awards winners and showcases the 1 000 best places to eat in South Africa.
Prudential Portfolio Managers are the title sponsors of the Eat Out Restaurant Awards. According to Bernard Fick, Director of Institutional Business at Prudential, the company is proud to be associated with these leading awards, that recognise excellence in the restaurant industry in South Africa. Says Fick, "Prudential salutes the passion for excellence by South Africa's top chefs, and the focus on top customer service. The restaurant industry in South Africa is a major creator of employment opportunities, and makes a huge contribution towards attracting foreign tourists to our country."
The 2008 Prudential Eat Out Top 10 Restaurants in order from one to 10 are:
- La Colombe (Cape Town) - Chef: Luke Dale-Roberts
- Jardine (Cape Town) - Chef: George Jardine
- Terroir (Stellenbosch) - Chef: Michael Broughton
- Overture (Stellenbosch) - Chef: Bertus Basson
- Restaurant Mosaic at the Orient (Pretoria) - Chef: Chantel Dartnall
- Rust en Vrede (Stellenbosch) - Chef: David Higgs
- The Tasting Room at Le Quartier Français (Franschhoek) - Chef: Margot Janse
- Roots at the Forum Homini Boutique Hotel (Johannesburg) - Chef: Philippe Wagenfuhrer
- Bizerca (Cape Town) - Chef: Laurent Deslandes
- Hartford House (Kwa-Zulu Natal Midlands) - Chef: Jackie Cameron