HomeStandard PeopleZim on a Plate contest kicks off next month

Zim on a Plate contest kicks off next month

And, in the manner of our city’s vicious rumour mill, some even had it that the competition had disappeared — regardless of clear explanations in the December issues of this fine paper, that there would simply be a three-month pause!


Zim on a Plate is very much alive, well, and will very soon announce our 2010 Award Winners! Our reviewing season for 2011 kicks off on April 1 — so the gastronomes and gourmands among you can get your teeth into our next series of reviews — with some new entrants, a new entry category, and entered restaurants nationwide up to be assessed by eagle eyes and critically discerning palates once again.

As ever, the restaurant trade of our resilient country, continues to pull out the stops, thrive, is actually growing too, and competition is fierce. The 2010 season saw several previously averagely rated and unremarkable restaurants, suddenly leap onto the awards finalist list with the coveted five plate rating. What an excellent development this is — proving that such establishments are now striving for the highest standards and so, putting themselves in the running for accolades. It also reflects their patent recovery, after many difficult years upon which there’s no need to elaborate.

While all businesses continue in that recovery mode, and challenges remain, our vibrant restaurant trade is made of tough stuff, and through the darkest times, have continued to serve up great meals. Who will be our winners this time around? Watch these pages and find out!


Who are the reviewers?

This oft asked question is surrounded by speculation. There are many interesting theories circulating round Rumour City about the identity of Le Connoisseur — the nom de plume originally bestowed upon the collective Review Team by then The Standard Editor Davison Maruziva.


Most diners, however, who avidly follow the competition, have grasped that Le Connoisseur is not one, but around 25 individuals, across the country!

The review team is currently being selected for 2011, and comprises people from all walks of life, sectors of society and age groups, who dine out regularly and are discriminating and exacting in their appraisal of eating establishments.

While there are several well-established members of the review team, some changes are made every year, to bring in fresh blood. Reviewers are regularly briefed and updated.

They participate in the judging process for annual awards, to which process they bring not just their experiences at restaurants they are sent to review, but also at other entrants’ establishments, all of which information goes into the melting pot to inform the choices of the ultimate winners in each category.

They are also on the lookout year round for excellent service personalities whom they then propose for Service Personality of the Month and Year Awards. They work to a set of guidelines and detailed score sheets, which are used to calculate the Zim on a Plate ratings.

Effectively, they are never off duty when dining out, and their experiences, good and bad, in restaurants who have entered, are not forgotten.

It’s good for entrants to bear this in mind, as should they be up for an award, the panel of around 25 regular diners out would bring such personal anecdotal experiences at any entrant’s restaurant to the mix of information that goes into final decision-making!

Reviewers are not “foodies”. They are ordinary people who like to eat out often. Accordingly, the whole process assists the dining public in restaurant choices appropriate to their needs.

It also assists the trade in aspiring for, then consistently maintaining, highest standards in all facets of the dining experience they offer the public.

By entering the competition, they consent to an anonymous reviewer being dispatched at some unknown time during that reviewing year, to partake of that experience. It requires courage and a conviction that standards are high enough to meet the expectations of a high profile national competition.

Occasionally an entrant has been advised to withdraw from the competition when standards are found by the reviewer to be unacceptably low. Zim on a Plate would rather advise a restaurant accordingly and encourage them to re-enter when they have addressed the issues, than publish a damning review that could ruin their reputation.

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