On Monday 12th September, American Express® revealed the country’s most coveted culinary list, the American Express Platinum Fine Dining Awards, at a chic event held in Johannesburg. I was extremely proud to collect the Londolozi Game Reserve award on behalf of the Londolozi Kitchen Team.
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.
This year saw the introduction of Game Lodge restaurants, nationally for the awards, which are judged on criteria such as quality and creativity of cuisine, service, wine list, décor and ambience as well as overall excellence.
Tamsin Snyman was 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 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.
I would like to dedicate this award to each and every chef that works in the Londolozi Kitchen team, in honour of the never-ending commitment, passion and dedication they give each and every day – come hell or high water, rain or full sun! In the true meaning of Ubuntu – I am because of each of you.
When I first arrived at Londolozi in 2012, I thought to myself, “how on earth do we get all this food out to 5 camps every day 4 times a day?” Still to this day, this thought runs through my mind, yet when I look up all I see are the constant smiles and reassurance from these great chefs who support me unconditionally throughout the year, and then I breathe and thank them again!
Thank you to my Sous Chefs – Thoko Ngobeni, Eric Sithole, Wistance Sibuyi, Sipho Khosa, Virginia Mthabini, Connie Mthabini and my Executive Sous Chef – Eric Ubisi.