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2014 Galliova Food and Health Writers’ Awards winners announced The 25th annual Galliova Food and Health Writers’ Awards drew to a close on Friday with the official awards ceremony honouring the cream of the crop of South African culinary and health writers. Hosted at the gorgeous Waterkloof Wine Estate in Somerset West, known for its own culinary distinction, the awards honoured four outstanding food writers for their excellence in food writing, food styling and the overall promotion of South Africa’s food culture, and one health writer for writing excellence and balanced reporting on health and nutrition issues. The two main award winners were Carmen Niehaus of You/Huisgenoot for Galliova Food Writer of the Year 2014 (newspapers and weeklies), and Diane Heierli of Good Taste and Winestyle for Galliova Food Writer of the Year 2014 (magazines). In the three affiliated awards, the winners were Hannah Lewry of Taste & House and Leisure for Galliova Up-and-coming Writer of the Year 2014; Anna Rich of Fairlady for Galliova Health Writer of the Year 2014; and Anke Roux of FreshLiving for Galliova Egg Champion of the Year 2014. This year’s judging panel included well-known SA food writer and television personality, Ina Paarman; award-winning local chef, Luke Dale-Roberts; cook book author and travel, nutrition and food writer and stylist, Dorah Sitole; renowned foodie stylist and writer, Anna Montali; registered dietitian Madeleine de Villiers; and emeritus associate professor in nutrition and dietetics and part-time consultant, Martinette Stretch.

In reflecting on the judging process, Ina Paarman told guests South African readers were discerning and as such writers had to develop a sixth sense when it came to determining what new concepts might be trending or relevant for readers. “Based on this, the key points that entries were judged on were connection to the reader, sensitivity and awareness of trends, technical professionalism (were recipes tested etc.), creativity and artistic flair, and most importantly, the use of eggs,” she said.

Luke Dale-Roberts said he was delighted to have been part of this year’s judging panel. “I was blown away by the standard of the entries received. So much effort and attention to detail go into food media, and the amount of work and evident passion among the entrants was amazing,” he said.

Marthinette Stretch has assisted with the judging in the health category since its inception eight years ago and says she would love to see the category grow, with health writers interrogating more topical issues. “It would be great to see health writers tackling subjects to correct public opinion on certain health matters. Articles should include research, which is important, as well as a few different views on the issue and then provide a conclusion for readers. The media has a major impact on the public’s general health behaviour, and writers must keep this in mind when doing features,” Marthinette explained.

In his address, Kevin Lovell, CEO of the SA Poultry Association, highlighted the history of the Galliova Awards, saying that over the past 25 years, it had grown into South Africa’s largest and most prestigious food and health journalism awards.

“We as the SA Poultry Association and the broader South African egg industry have proudly sponsored these respected awards for the past 25 years with the objective of maintaining the vital relationship between the egg industry and the food and health media. The awards have no external sponsors and are completely funded by a group of local egg producers that believes in promoting food excellence among this niche media group. We remain committed to ensuring the prominence of the awards as a coveted honour among our country’s food and health writers in the future,” he said. The awards organisers made available R95 000 in cash prizes for the 2014 winners: R25 000 each for the two main food writer awards, and R15 000 each for the three affiliated awards.