Big news for South Africa’s biggest restaurant awards – after 12 years at the helm of Eat Out as editor and chief judge, Abigail Donnelly will be stepping down on the 31st of January 2018. She will remain at New Media Publishing, the publishers of Eat Out, as food editor of Woolworths’ TASTE magazine, with a greater focus on food styling and recipe development in her larger role with Woolworths as Food Marketing Creative Manager.

This move allows Eat Out the opportunity to follow international trends by appointing a judging panel that is completely anonymous. 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 judges’ identities will not be revealed while they remain on the panel, and the results will be adjudicated by Eat Out and verified by auditing firm A S Pocock to ensure consistency.

Says Abigail Donnelly, “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 Anelde Greeff, editor-in-chief of Eat Out, “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.”

Aileen Lamb, Managing Director of New Media Publishing concludes, “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.”