Food + Passion + Abigail Donnelly = Eat Out Awards

I was fortunate enough to attend the Eat_Out Award 2010 ceremony last night and for me it is quite difficult to explain in words what an amazing experience that was. To arrive in a room filled with such talented and passionate people, all celebrities in their own way was just so awe-inspiring.
People that I would normally read about in magazines or on the Internet were there standing but an arm length away from me. They most probably have never heard of me or my little kingdom here at My Easy Cooking, but I definitely know about them, I read about them, research them and aspire to be or cook like them often.….
Since last night, the Internet, Face book and Twitter have been buzzing with posts and Tweets about this prestigious event, but just in case you have missed the buzz, here they are, the winners of the 2010 Eat Out  Awards

1. Rust en Vrede, Stellenbosch,  Chef David Higgs

2. The Tasting Room, Le Quartier Francais, Franschhoek, Chef Margot Janse
3. Jordan Restaurant with George Jardine, Stellenbosch, Chef George Jardine
4.  Bosman’s ,Grand Roche, Paarl, Chef Roland Gorgosilich
5.  DW Eleven-13, Johannesburg, Chef Marthinus Ferreira
6.  Terroir, Stellenbosch, Chef Michael Broughton
7.  Aubergine, Cape Town, Chef Harald Bresselschmidt
8.  Roots, Johannesburg,Chef Allistaire Lawrence
9.  Overture, Stellenbosch,Chef Bertus Basson
10. Hartford House, Mooi River, Chef Jackie Cameron

Chef of the Year, David Higgs and Service Award both went to Rust and Vrede. Looks like the place to be this year! Well done.
Back to my experience, I arrived a tad early(as usual) and felt a bit  unsure of what to do next. The first friendly smile to greet me was that of  Nadia Padayachi and after a little chit chat, I soon felt at ease. More and more guests arrived and I could just scan the the room, marvelling at the glitz and the glamor as the elite of the SA food scene arrived in their tuxes and “little black numbers”. As I gazed at all the chefs, restaurateurs and food critics, I had the urge to walk up to them, asking them if they knew what admiration I have for their work and talent….but I didn’t!

…and then she walked in! The queen, her majesty, the diva of all things culinary… foodie hero, Abigail Donnelly! I’m sorry chefs if you thought that I would pick one of you. I do admire your dedication and craft, but I believe she is the master of words, food styling and images that has me drooling profusely every month as Taste Magazine hits the shelves. I remember buying my first Taste Magazine, I was so in awe of what I read and as I went through the magazine, the name that repeatedly jumped out at me was “Abigail Donnely”. My admiration grew every time I picked up a Taste or  Eat Out magazine, reading every word from her pen as if it was written just for me. I had the privilege to sit at the same table as some of her staff, Anelde and Malu and it was wonderful to see just how proud they were of her and their admiration was truly heartfelt. I heard them say that Eat Out and Eat In are the best magazines to work for! Quite frankly, I don’t blame them, after all who can complain about a job where you get paid to eat and drink at the country’s finest establishments. I dream of a job like that, where the little talent I have can be moulded and nurtured to bring out the best in me….ahhhh, I can dream can’t I?)

Abigail, I don’t know if you will ever read this, but I hope to be there again next year and the next so that when the day comes for you to be the recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award, I will be there clapping and cheering in the wings, content to know that my foodie icon got every bit of recognition  she deserved!
 So in conclusion, I have to ask myself: “Is it normal for someone on the wrong side of forty to have an idol?” My answer to that is simple! In a world where Blue Cheese Magnums, Smoked Ice-cream and Salmon Candies are considered to be normal, I think the answer to my question is ” Absolutely Yes!”
BTW Abigail,  you looked simply fabulous!!

PS. Photos of this prestigious event, can be viewed here!!