The Eat Out Woolworths Restaurant Awards has announced its shortlist of star-winning restaurants for 2022. Comprising 42 restaurants across South Africa, this shortlist epitomises the very best of our local industry.
This year’s awards have seen a shift from the traditional top twenty ranking system to that of a star rating system, making use of a new online rating tool to accurately and objectively capture the vast amount of data produced by the brand’s reviewers and judging team. Each of the original 300 restaurants has been rated accordingly, out of a total score of 100. To earn an Eat Out Star, a restaurant had to score a minimum of 70 points.
All the restaurants on the list receive the accolade of at least a single Eat Out Star, but will have to wait until the gala awards ceremony to be held on Sunday 20 November 2022 at the Grand Arena at GrandWest to find out if they are one, two or three Eat Out Stars winners. One star will be awarded to those restaurants who scored 70 – 80, two stars to those scoring 80 – 90 and three stars to those scoring 90+, with Restaurant of the Year awarded to the establishment with the highest score.
Also announced on the night will be the winners of the special awards, including the coveted Chef and Restaurant of the year awards.
“Back after a two-year Covid-19 induced hiatus, this year’s awards are an opportunity to not only acknowledge the tenacity and perseverance of this industry that we love so much, but also to celebrate and acknowledge the best of the best,” says Aileen Lamb, Eat Out brand custodian and New Media CEO. “The final shortlist is selected from nominations received from the Eat Out reviewer team who ate at over 300 restaurants across the country. All these restaurants have been experienced and rated by the Eat Out Woolworths Restaurant Awards judging panel and its team of 40 reviewers. As they ate their way around the country our reviewers and judges were reminded of just how creative, passionate and talented our restaurant teams are. They saw that behind the remarkable talent and artistry, there is a deep and true care for one another and an unfaltering desire to make our industry sustainable and rewarding for all who work in it. The hard times have made us stronger and better.”
As South Africa’s most comprehensive and respected restaurant awards, celebrating our best restaurants and chefs, the Eat Out Woolworths Restaurant Awards is the most prestigious accolade for the South African restaurant industry. “The new star rating system allows for greater inclusivity and transparency,” says chief judge and award-winning food writer, critic and recipe author, Abigail Donnelly. “The standard is extraordinary. When diners see an Eat Out Star on display, they know they can expect a remarkable experience.”
This change in the judging process has also allowed disclosure of the judging panel upfront, as opposed to its total anonymity in previous years. Says Donnelly “It is an absolute pleasure to work alongside my fellow judges, all of whom bring a valuable and unique level of experience to the table. This has ensured a comprehensive and holistic review of all nominated restaurants, leaving no doubt in my mind that the final shortlist truly does celebrate the most excellent that South Africa has to offer.”
Says Zyda Rylands, Woolworths Food CEO, the title sponsor of this year’s awards: “After the last two and a half years, consumers are hungering for excellent experiences. Excellence, and its delivery, is key to the Woolworths brand. There is also something enormously satisfying about an exceptional dining experience. We believe the chosen shortlist exemplifies this across all areas of delivery and we are proud to associate the Woolworths brand with restaurants of this calibre.”
“As title sponsor, we are thrilled to be able to contribute towards the re-emergence of South Africa’s restaurant industry and the promotion of its excellence,” says Chan Pillay, Woolworths Foods’ Divisional Director: Commercial. “Through our Good Business Journey, we understand that quality and excellence begin long before the final product or consumer experience. We look forward to celebrating with South Africa’s premier restaurant establishments, and chefs, who exemplify these very same principles of respecting raw materials.”
Along with chief judge Abigail Donnelly, this year’s judging panel includes Michelin-starred chef and restaurateur Jan Hendrik van der Westhuizen, chef Karen Dudley, sommelier Moses Magwaza, food activist and cookbook author Mokgadi Itsweng, and food writer and broadcaster Anna Trapido.
Additional awards include – Chef of the Year, Best New Restaurant of the Year, Emerging Chef Award, Lifetime Achievement Award, Service Excellence Award, Wine Service Award, Lockdown Innovation Award, Sustainability Award, Style Award and Icons Award and Best Destination Restaurant.