Dubbed the “Oscars of Food”, The World Restaurant Awards have awarded their highest gong, Restaurant Of The Year, to Wolfgat in Paternoster, South Africa.
Wolfgat is located within a 130-year old fisherman’s Ocean-side cottage, with just twenty seats and six members of staff. “Our team of six have had no formal training – we just have a passion for food,” says owner Kobus Van der Merwe.
The restaurant was commended by the judging panel for its menu, which is ‘perfectly balanced between creativity and accessibility’ and ‘hyper-local’ approach to sourcing ingredients. “Just being here among so many legendary chefs is amazing. I’ve had so many fan moments since arriving that winning the Restaurant Of The Year Award is just the strangest thing to comprehend. I am overwhelmed and speechless,” says Van der Merwe.
Cecile Rebbot, Director of The World Restaurant Awards, IMG, added, “We are proud to have given a global stage to a diverse spectrum of incredibly deserving restaurants, teams, experiences, and initiatives. We set out to create a truly international awards with a fresh approach, recognizing the full breadth and depth of the industry, but this is only the beginning in terms of the restaurant experiences around the world that we want to explore and discover.”
Other winners at the star-studded ceremony at Palais Brongniart, Paris included Bo.Lan of Bangkok and Lido 84 of Italy. Representing 36 different countries, from Australia to Zimbabwe, the panel includes stars of the culinary world: chefs, journalists, and industry influencers.
“I think that South Africa is a melting pot of cultures and this really helps put us on the map.” Asked if he is prepared for an international stampede, Van der Merwe shrugs, “That would be amazing, though it might be tough, as we only have twenty seats!”