All-woman lineup of chefs to cook for annual restaurant awards bash

All-woman lineup of chefs to cook for annual restaurant awards bash
From left: Charné Sampson, Jackie Cameron, Megin Meikle, Carla Schulze, Ronel de Jager, Motheba Makhetha and Eleanor Coetzee will cook at the 2023 Eat Out Woolworths Restaurant Awards. (Photo: Shavan Rahim)

Meet the all-female lineup of chefs who’ll be cooking at the 2023 Eat Out Woolworths Restaurant Awards.

Chefs Jackie Cameron, Eleanor Coetzee, Ronel de Jager, Megin Meikle, Motheba Makhetha, Charné Sampson and Carla Schulze will be cooking for hundreds of guests at the 2023 Eat Out Woolworths Restaurant Awards at GrandWest Grand Arena in Cape Town on Sunday 19 November.

The menu for the Eat Out Woolworths Restaurant Awards draws inspiration from the rustic textures and flavours of earthy grains, say the organisers. Each course is “a testament to the extraordinary quality of the ingredients”, many of which will be supplied by the headline sponsor, Woolworths.

The food at the annual gala event reflects South Africa’s dynamic dining scene.

“Each chef in this year’s all-female star lineup has reached the top of their game in the competitive restaurant industry,” says Melissa Cumming, head of Eat Out.

Setting the scene with a bread course of her beautifully decorated artisanal sourdough is Baard & Co mastermind Ronel de Jager.

With her second course dish, Eleanor Coetzee, executive chef at Creation Wines Tasting Room, promises “a culinary journey to engage guests’ senses” that’s driven by her deep love and passion for food and people.

Charné Sampson, head chef at the La Colombe Group’s Epice at Le Quartier Français in Franschhoek, is creating the third course.

“Spices to a chef are like colours to an artist,” Sampson said. “To be cooking at the 2023 Eat Out Woolworths Restaurant Awards is an amazing opportunity for myself and Epice to showcase our passion for spices.” 

Carla Schulze, executive chef at Salon, is creating the fourth course. “It is a great privilege to be cooking alongside fellow chefs who I admire in a room filled with industry legends who I look up to,” she said.

Schulze is an alumnus of the Jackie Cameron School of Food & Wine, and Cameron herself will be creating the canapé course with her current students.

“It’s a huge privilege to give my students a glimpse into the awards, showing them that with hard work and determination, they too can get to the top,” Cameron said. 

Motheba Makhetha, the pastry chef at The Jordan Restaurant, is co-creating the dessert course with Megin Meikle, the head pastry chef at the Marble Group of restaurants.

“I feel extremely proud to be cooking on a platform as large as the Eat Out Woolworths Restaurant Awards,” said Makhetha. “To be sharing this space with a group of strong, ambitious, and creative like-minded women is a massive win.

Meikle says she aspires to foster a nurturing and creative kitchen environment and be a role model for aspiring female chefs.

“I have had the privilege of working in various restaurants celebrated at the Eat Out Awards over many years. It’s a pinch-me moment to move from the dining room to the kitchen, serving the dessert to a gathering of some of the most esteemed chefs in the country. I create, teach and live pastry; cooking at the awards is an accolade all on its own.”   

Eat Out Editor Abigail Donnelly chose each of these chefs for their passion and for how they are helping to develop the South African food industry and inspiring more women to rise through the ranks. DM


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