Margot Janse is crowned Chef of the Year and The Tasting Room claims the number two spot in the Top Ten Restaurants of the 2012 Eat Out DSTV Food Network Restaurant Awards
South Africa’s most prestigious restaurant awards are also known as ‘the foodie Oscars’ and the country’s top chefs came dressed accordingly—trading their whites for evening wear and celebrated with the cream of the fine dining restaurant crop.
Not only did The Tasting Room claim the number two spot in the Eat Out Top 10, but in a culinary coup, Margot Janse, the executive chef, was crowned Chef of the Year 2012. The preceding day the golden chef was also invited to be a speaker at the Eat Out Conference in Cape Town, and shared the stage with internationally acclaimed chef Massimo Buttaro.
Bruce Palling, Eat Out’s international judge had this to say: “Here is a chef with superb classical training, yet with a sense of playfulness. I would rank my dinner here with the best I have had anywhere in the past year. I was blown away by the playfulness and the complete self-assurance of a professional.”
Eat Out’s editor, Abigail Donnelly praised Margot’s ‘vibrant flavours and polished dishes’ she said: “Cleverness and confidence shine on the plate. Margot is simply extraordinary.”
The Tasting Room has made it into the Eat Out Top 10 an unprecedented 11 times, and Margot was also Chef of the Year in 2002.
Margot is delighted with the result: “It’s a fantastic honour, especially after the year we’ve had—we’ve achieved this accolade with a completely new team of chefs. The awards are thanks to them—I wouldn’t be carrying this title without my team.”
The Tasting Room has been one of the only South African restaurants to appear consistently on the S. Pellegrino World’s 50 Best Restaurants list year after year, to date, eight years in a row. Plus, Margot is an accredited Relais & Châteaux Grande Chef, one of only two in South Africa.
Margot’s food explores Southern Africa on a plate and is a celebration of regional produce; a parade of timeless African ingredients like baobab, buchu, and sorghum are made completely new—each course tells its own story. In fact the whole experience is geared towards story-telling. The chef is continuously inspired by the people and produce around her, and this vision comes through on the plate as a vibrant tribute.
Margot had this to say to Eat Out: “The guests that come to dine are not just there for dinner. The whole experience is about celebrating our country and region. Our service style is based on storytelling, instead of factual information sharing. We tell you about the winemakers and his dog, the things granny did with buchu and why the baobab is called the upside down tree. When, at the end of the evening I get thanked for a special experience and for all our guests learned about this amazing country, its culture and indigenous produce – that’s when I know we got it right.”
We’re in great company too:
The Top 10 restaurants
1. The Test Kitchen
2. The Tasting Room
3. Jordan Restaurant
5. Rust en Vrede
6. DW Eleven-13
7. La Colombe
8. The Greenhouse
10. Hartford House