The 2023 JHP Gourmet Guide™ won the Best in the World in the digital category at the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards, in Umeå Food Symposium in Sweden on 28 May. Handley accepted the award on behalf of the Plated restaurants in South Africa, their chefs, photographers and teams, and her team. The award stated, ‘a very special, caring and curious guide, whose selection allows gourmets and travellers around the globe to appreciate the immense culinary diversity of South Africa.
“It is a privilege to tell the stories of our top restaurants and chefs, and expose the world to the culture of South African food. In a country where we have 12 different languages, there is no definitive cuisine, rather a melting pot of tastes and traditions that illustrate our rainbow nation. I would like to extend my profound gratitude to the chefs and their teams, and the professionals who created the guide, our partners like Wesgro, for their input. It’s their stories, not mine. It’s yours too, free to enjoy – visit gourmetguide.co.za,” says Handley.
SOUTH AFRICA ON DISPLAY
Gourmand presented the statistics of winning cookbooks since 2009 when Africa held 2%, in 2019 Africa represented 3% of the wins and in 2023 Africa won 9% of the awards. Handley was proud to congratulate fellow Best in the World winning authors from South Africa.
- Zola Nene – Seven Rainbow Colours – Celebrity Chef category.
- Mogau Seshoene – Hosting with the Lazy Makoti – Entertaining category.
- Nicole Jennings and Afzal Dhansay – Dash – Corporate Brand category.
- Leslie van der Merwe – Everyday Venison – Game Meat category.
- Isabella Niehaus and Louis Jansen van Vuuren – There’s a Vegan on my Verandah – Self Published category.
- Neo Nontso – @dinewithneo – First Book category.
- Oddo Vins and Domaines – The Harvest Table – International category.
Founded by Edouard Cointreau in 1995, the awards recognize the best food and wine culture books, printed and digital, as well as food television, in the last year. Over 100 000 books and publications were evaluated from 230 countries and regions. The event was organized by the International Gourmand and Hallbars Awards and Umeå municipality, hosting 400 international leaders from around 71 countries.
UMEÅ FOOD SYMPOSIUM
This conference allowed for authors, publishers, chefs and journalists within the food and drink industry to meet and connect. Handley addressed the delegated and introduced the JHP Gourmet Guide™ and its Plate rating for restaurants to them. Her topic was ‘The role of restaurants in food culture’. “The most important meal served in a restaurant is the one before service, to the staff. It’s an opportunity for people of different cultures to communicate through food, to tell their stories of how food has played a role in their culture and upbringing. It’s a wise chef who taps into this melting pot of diversity for inspiration on indigenous ingredients,” said Handley.
REWARDING CULINARY EXCELLENCE
The JHP Gourmet Guide™ showcases and rewards excellence in the fine-dining industry and is highly respected for its authenticity and credibility. Its prestigious Plate Rating system equates to global assessment standards. One plate highlights excellent cuisine, two plates acknowledge exceptional dining that deserves a detour, and three plates applauds world-class dining that is worthy of a flight. The 2023 JHP Gourmet Guide™ featured 36 Plated Restaurants, awarded for their high standards of excellence and commitment to innovation and creativity. The free and digital guide, produced by Jenny Handley Performance Management, is a curation of the best restaurants in the country to present South Africa as a culinary destination.
In addition to the Plate Ratings, in 2023 six Haute Performance awards were presented to chefs, restaurants and teams who showed great resilience, resourcefulness, reinvention and professionalism. Through a partnership with Wesgro, the official tourism, trade and investment promotion agency for the Western Cape, the annual guide has presented their inaugural Purpose and Passion award to Sense of Taste Chef School. Wesgro is committed to developing the vast potential and unique opportunities that exist, with a focus on culinary travel and wine.