In an annual celebration of culinary prowess, the historic town of Stellenbosch has emerged as a gastronomic powerhouse in the 2024 JHP Gourmet Guide™ awards. Recognised for its viticulture and oak-lined avenues, Stellenbosch is now equally synonymous with culinary excellence, having scooped a quarter of the prestigious plate ratings awarded to South Africa’s top dining establishments.
On the evening of Monday 30 October, the crème de la crème of the culinary world gathered to witness the unveiling of the latest JHP Gourmet Guide™, which announced 45 Plated restaurants, along with the much-anticipated Haute Performance awards for chefs and restaurants. Out of these, an impressive 10 restaurants in Stellenbosch secured their places, underscoring the region’s commitment to fine dining.
The plate system is meticulous and exacting:
– One Plate is the assurance of excellent cuisine,
– Two Plates signify exceptional dining experiences that justify a detour, and
– Three Plates are the hallmark of world-class destination dining, meriting a special journey.
In this year’s guide, which has garnered global recognition as the ‘Best in the World’ in the digital category at the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards in 2023, Stellenbosch’s restaurants stood out for their quality and innovation. The Gourmet Guide is renowned for its rigorous standards and has been a trailblazer since its inception in 2016, being the first restaurant rating system in South Africa to match international benchmarks.
A poignant note from Handley, a respected figure in the culinary scene, resonated with attendees: “The most important meal served in a restaurant is the one with your team before service, when you come together as a family. You begin to understand one another’s history and heritage and culture, and only then can you showcase our diverse cuisine.”
Adding to Stellenbosch’s accolades, celebrated chef Bertus Basson was honoured with a Haute Provenance award, acknowledging not just the quality of his culinary creations but also his dedication to showcasing local flavours and ingredients.
One Plate honours were bestowed upon a diverse range of Stellenbosch’s restaurants, illustrating the breadth of excellent cuisine available in the town. The recipients included Cavalli, Chorus, Clara’s Barn, Delaire Graff Restaurant, Eike, Post & Pepper, and The Jordan Restaurant. Each establishment has consistently demonstrated a commitment to high-quality food and service, securing their spot in this prestigious guide.
Two Plates were awarded to Dusk, Gåte, and Rust en Vrede, recognising them as exceptional dining destinations that demand a detour. These restaurants have carved a niche by providing not just a meal but an immersive experience that combines culinary innovation with an atmosphere that speaks to the discerning diner.
The Gourmet Guide’s focus on consistency and excellence in the culinary industry is not only a boon for the local economy but also positions South Africa, and Stellenbosch in particular, as a significant contender on the international gastronomic stage. The accolades reflect the dedication to quality and passion for local heritage that these restaurants embody, ensuring that a journey to Stellenbosch is a veritable feast for the senses.
As South Africa’s wine and culinary landscapes continue to evolve, the prominence of Stellenbosch in this year’s Gourmet Guide awards is a testament to its vibrant and innovative culinary scene. With a quarter of this year’s awards, Stellenbosch is not just on the map but a bright beacon on the global gastronomic radar.