Big night for Cape Town at 2022 Luxe Restaurant Awards
25 winners were honoured for their outstanding contribution to SA’s fine dining culture
As much as chefs and those in the culinary and hospitality industry are known for their exuberant and sometimes eruptive behaviour, not a single slap was dished out at this year’s fourth annual Luxe Restaurant Awards on March 29 at Ethos restaurant in Johannesburg.
Like Chris Rock and Will Smith memes, awards in various lifestyle categories tend to be a dime a dozen, as any Tom, Dick and Bongani can choose to start handing out accolades.
For example, I have been trying to source sponsors for my own Toasted Ice Top Two Tuckshop Takeaways with little success. Apparently the title is too wordy.
Thankfully, in honouring some of SA’s finest chefs and establishments the Luxe awards are more reputable and easier on the tongue.
For the past two years — thanks to the various Covid-19 lockdowns — going out to fine restaurants and being served by Lovemore were sorely missed, which is why this year’s accolades probably meant a bit more to the winners, the public who voted and the Ninja food critics who voiced their opinions anonymously.
On the night, 25 winners were honoured for their outstanding contribution to SA’s fine dining culture. These catered for a wide variety of palates, ranging from street food to hoity toity offerings.
Les Creatifs owner and chef Wandile Mabaso took home the coveted Chef of the Year award, cementing his status as an artist whose medium is food. This while Capetonians raced up to the top of Table Mountain at the news that the French meets Asian fine dining experience, La Colombe, bagged the Restaurant of the Year.
There must be something in the Cape air, as this year’s New Restaurant winner, Pier, is also based there. Come to think of it, so is Siba Mntongana (Culinary Icon Award), Truth Café (Coffee Shop of the Year), La Petite Colombe (Fine Dining Restaurant) and How Bao Now (Street Food Experience).
If it was not for Joburg’s Zioux taking the Style Award, BGR winning the Burger Joint of the Year and Aurum being the best Hotel Restaurant of the Year, I would have called for a commission of inquiry.
Merit does not mean inclusivity and representation becomes bad boys as awards are in pursuit of not only happiness, but the best of what is on offer. It is encouraging to see Zanele van Zyl win the Culinary Media Personality of the Year, Besele Moloi bag the Culinary Rising Star Award and the Cookbook of the Year going to Hosting with The Lazy Makoti, penned by Mogau Seshoene.
“My cookbook was a labour of love, written during lockdown and it has received so much support. I am even prouder to share that it will be published and available in the UK,” said Seshoene.
The most important question is, when will Durban, Gqeberha and other cities step up to the plate as well?
• The Luxe Restaurant Awards were created by The Hospitality Counsel (Hosco) in partnership with food critics and sponsored by Outsurance.
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