The judging panel for future Eat Out Mercedes-Benz Restaurant Awards will be completely anonymous, revealed New Media Publishing.
The change was made after Abigail Donnelly announced she will be stepping down as Eat Out editor and chief judge on 31 January 2018, after 12 years on the brand. Donnelly will remain at New Media Publishing as food editor of Woolworths TASTE, with a greater focus on her career in food styling and recipe development as she takes on a larger role with Woolworths as Foods Marketing Creative Manager.
“Eat Out means the world to me. I will miss the chefs and their brigades, and, of course, the Eat Out team, but I cannot wait to see the next chapter unfold and take this industry, which I am so passionate about, to new levels,” says Donnelly.
Aileen Lamb, managing director of New Media Publishing adds, “Abigail has played an integral role over the past 12 years in entrenching Eat Out’s position in the market, and we are going to miss having her input and guidance on the brand. We are delighted that she will be remaining in the New Media family in her role on TASTE magazine, and wish her all the best in her new ventures with Woolworths.”
Eat Out says the move is in line with international trends, which see regular anonymous judging panels. Members of the panel will be selected by the Eat Out team and will have experience and expertise as chefs, educators in the food or hospitality industry, expert patrons with international dining experience, food critics, hoteliers and/or winemakers. The results will be adjudicated by Eat Out and verified by auditing firm A S Pocock to ensure consistency.
Eat Out editor-in-chief Anelde Greeff comments, “Our brand has always evolved to keep up with international trends and the demands of both consumers and the restaurant industry. This change will position us as a truly world-class brand within the food space.”