La Colombe - Winners of the 2016 Eat out Nespresso Service Excellence Award. Photo by Jan Ras.

La Colombe - Winners of the 2016 Eat out Nespresso Service Excellence Award. Photo by Jan Ras.

2016 Eat Out Nespresso Service Excellence Award

By : Linda Scarborough, Eat Out. 

La Colombe surpassed all the other contenders to win the Nespresso Service Excellence Award at the Eat Out Mercedes-Benz Restaurant Awards.

Perhaps it’s to do with the location, a short distance from the bustling city, or the slow and steady drive up to the restaurant, perched on the side of a mountain, or maybe even the way soft, silvery light illuminates the space, but arrival at La Colombe is always punctuated by a sigh, as you breathe out and open yourself up to the experience.

The service here, ably led by front-of-house manager Jennifer Hugé, is all about sustaining that feeling – eagerness as each course arrives, the thrill of the first bite, but always with an underlying feeling of having all the time in the world, of being at your most relaxed and receptive to pleasure.

It is this team effort that made La Colombe the sure winner of the Eat Out Nespresso Service Excellence Award for 2016. While numerous faces will come into focus during the course of your meal, discreetly clearing dishes and replacing cutlery, your dedicated waiter will be just that, looking after your glasses and keeping you entertained. Impeccably trained yet natural-seeming waiters are generous with their time, but also perceptive enough to sense their cue to leave you to it.

“You are always made to feel really welcome, and never forced,” says judge David Higgs. “La Colombe has always been associated with great service, headed up by Jennifer, but now they truly are hard to beat.”

Chief judge Abigail Donnelly agrees: “Highly professional slick waiters know their stuff. You are entertained with thorough explanations, down to every devoted detail. The service is impeccable with a kind of care that is infectious – nothing is lost in translation from the menu to the plate.”

Jennifer Hugé - La Colombe

Jennifer Hugé - La Colombe

The 2016 Eat Out John Psillos Award for Outstanding Contribution to Service

By : Katharine Jacobs, Eat Out

Jennifer Hugé, the winner of the inaugural Eat Out John Psillos Award for Outstanding Contribution to Service, keeps La Colombe running with passion and pride.

With this new award, named for the founder of Eat Out, we honour an individual who has made a significant impact on service standards in the restaurant industry. Our first-ever winner, Jennifer Hugé, is a front-of-house manager whose sincerity and passion touch everyone who visits La Colombe.

Jennifer studied finance and marketing in France before moving to SA 15 years ago. She began working at La Colombe as a waitress under Franck Dangereux, but quickly moved into a relief maître d’ position, and from there, front-of-house manager, a position she has held ever since.

Hearing her talk, it’s impossible not to notice her passion: “There’s nothing better than, in the middle of a crazy service, to look around and see how everything just falls into motion,” says Jennifer. “There’s a certain magic that forms in the air.” Jennifer is also quick to credit her team: “The serving staff are incredibly proud of what they do and of what they serve, and this is passed onto the guests.”

Chief judge Abigail Donnelly says, “She is unique in every way, from her lovely bubbly personality, which overflows to the waitrons and guests, to her sincerity and passion. She is a huge part of the restaurant; I can’t think of anyone who deserves this accolade as much as her.”