A wholly fun and tasty evening spent in the company of American Express® and top Jozi restaurant Marble, for the Amex fine dining awards.
American Express® has revealed the country’s most coveted culinary list, the American Express Platinum Fine Dining Awards, at a chic event held in Johannesburg.
Johannesburg’s hottest new restaurant, Marble, was the location for South Africa’s premier dining awards ceremony as American Express, paid tribute to the chefs and restaurants that are changing the game in the pursuit of delivering the perfect culinary experience.
The Johannesburg awards follow on from the sumptuous Cape Town awards, held at The Olive Press at Boschendal Estate, Franschhoek last week.
The 18th edition of these esteemed awards marked the introduction of a definitive list of the country’s 100 exceptional restaurants by American Express, the authority on extraordinary experiences and saw the highest number of first time recipient restaurants receive recognition.
Twelve restaurants in the Western Cape, including the much feted Babel at Babylonstoren and Indochine at Delaire Graff Estate in Stellenbosch join the esteemed list. In Gauteng, thirteen restaurants including District Six Eatery in Emmarentia, Bistro Michel, and Level Four are some of the contenders that have made the grade, while four restaurants in Kwazulu Natal such as Abingdon, Thai Café, Parc Café, Esiweni Private Game Reserve are now part of this exclusive culinary club.
This year saw the introduction of six categories nationally for the awards, which are judged on criteria which include quality and creativity of cuisine, service, wine list, décor and ambience as well as overall excellence:
- Chef-Patron restaurants
- Wine Farm restaurants
- Game Lodge restaurants
- Hotel restaurants
- Business Consortium restaurants
- On Trend
American Express drew this illustration to explain the relationship between the chefs and the ingredients as follows; ‘There is a playful dance between a chef and his or her perfect dish – an essential process which demands hundreds of hours spent focusing, experimenting, eliminating, pushing boundaries and refining the culinary experience. Creating the perfect plate in the pursuit of excellence requires an exploration into, and a complete understanding of every element on the plate. Notably, it requires the chef’s choice of the key ingredient as the hero for the dish and how it works in harmony with other elements in the mix, to ultimately create perfect culinary excellence.’
Convenor of the American Express culinary judging panel, Tamsin Snyaman, reflects on the journey ‘The awards now reflect the growth and diversity of new restaurants in our country, along with a tangible elevation of our culinary talent. South Africa is truly owning its place as a foodie nation, and this is manifested by the arrival of a wide variety of new avant-garde and contemporary establishments which have emerged in the past few years. More importantly, our best restaurants are reflecting the dynamic and multicultural nature of our country, encompassing a wide spectrum of styles, ethnicities and ambiences.
Snyman is joined on the judging panel by Anna Trapido, a renowned author, journalist, broadcaster and commentator on food and wine, as well as Jackie Cameron, chef, author and owner of the Jackie Cameron School of Food & Wine.
The judging process focusses on the selected restaurants’ standards which are re-evaluated annually by the judges. As such, the annual nominations for the awards are not renewed automatically as consistent quality is a must.
‘We are delighted to bring this year’s Awards as part of our longstanding partnership with American Express®. As the exclusive issuer and merchant acquirer of American Express-branded cards in South Africa, we are able to offer our clients access to the best restaurants and culinary experience. This also serves as a much needed support for South Africa’s culinary industry which boasts impeccable high gourmet and service standards which we are proud to celebrate through the awards,’ explains Pamela White, Head of Corporate Card for American Express at Nedbank.
The Western Cape awards event saw a total of 53 restaurants in attendance.
Eight restaurants received the prestigious 10 year award:
- Sugar Club
- Mimosa Lodge
- Cleopatra Mountain Farmhouse