From the winner of the controversial ‘Best Female Chef award’ to the hottest London restaurants to make the list, Abbie Moulton has the lowdown from Bilbao
The World’s 50 Best Restaurant Awards took place last night in Bilbao, Spain, seeing top chefs fly in from all across the globe.
From Tokyo to New York, Mexico to Shanghai, industry leaders and masterminds gathered to attend three days of talks, events and feasting, culminating in the glitzy ceremony at Bilbao’s Euskalduna Palace.
Now in it’s sixteenth year, the awards, dubbed the ‘Oscars of the food world’, rank the world’s finest restaurants from 50 – 1 (with an extended list covering the 51-100 released in the run up) as well as highlighting global gastronomic trends via the #50besttalks in the preceding days.
Not surprisingly, sustainability was a huge topic on this year’s agenda, with chefs of Farm Africa: Joan Roca (El Celler de Can Roca, Spain), Gaggan Anand (Gaggan, Bangkok), Eneko Atxa (Azurmendi, Spain) discussing efforts to reduce poverty through sustainable agriculture, while New York’s Chef Dan Barber (Blue Hill at Stone Barns) took to the stage to give thought-provoking insight on how breeding vegetables to be tastier could be a way to reduce waste and encourage people away from meat-based diets, in order to be kinder to the environment.
Dan said: “In the last two decades the best chefs have turned fine dining on its head. We’re no longer serving steak and foie gras, we’re serving vegetables and foraged and fermented things. We’re about sense of place – that thing that can only come from that forest in that country.”
The globally recognised awards are judged by a panel of over 1000 food critics, chefs and industry experts and saw chef Massimo Bottura’s Osteria Francescana in Modena crowned number one, with last year’s champion, Daniel Humm’s Eleven Madison Park, coming off the top spot to land at number 3.
London’s Clove Club was the UK’s highest entry at 33, while James Lowe and John Ogier’s Lyle’s arrived as a new entry into the top 50 at number 38. Both restaurants champion modern British cuisine.
London’s own Clare Smyth of Core restaurant was crowned ‘Best Female Chef’ – the award not being without its controversy, having received substantial criticism for its position of separating the sexes.
As Clare herself said: “The role of chef is not gender specific.” Clare delivered a short but powerful speech on gender equality and what we need to do to make kitchens a more welcoming environment to women. She added: We all must encourage people from all backgrounds to achieve success. We must be more supportive, tolerant, understanding, kind. We must make a conscious effort to remove barriers and support a healthy gender balance to make a more workplace for both men and women.”
The awards have in the past received some criticism for a lack of diversity across different areas, from gender and racial diversity, to price points of the winning restaurants. It seems that this year some efforts have been made to address this, however there’s still some way to go.
All in the all, the awards were a joyous celebration of the brilliant culinary talents all across the globe, and highlighted some of the great progress being made in efforts of sustainability and environmental issues. A huge congratulations to all the winners. Until 2019!
The World’s 50 Best Restaurants 2018: the full list of winners
1. Osteria Francescana, Modena, Italy
2. El Celler de Can Roca, Girona, Spain
3. Mirazur, Menton, France
4. Eleven Madison Park, New York, USA
5. Gaggan, Bangkok, Thailand
6. Central, Lima, Peru
7. Maido, Lima, Peru
8. Arpège, Paris, France
9. Mugaritz, San Sebastián, Spain
10. Asador Etxebarri, Axpe, Spain
11. Quintonil, Mexico City, Mexico
12. Blue Hill at Stone Barns, Pocatino Hills, New York, USA
13. Pujol, Mexico City, Mexico
14. Steirereck, Vienna, Austria
15. White Rabbit, Moscow, Russia
16. Piazza Duomo, Alba, Italy
17. Den, Tokyo, Japan
18. Disfrutar, Barcelona, Spain
19. Geranium, Copenhagen, Denmark
20. Attica, Melbourne, Australia
21. Alain Ducasse au Plaza Athénée, Paris, France
22. Narisawa, Tokyo, Japan
23. Le Calandre, Rubano, Italy
24. Ultraviolet by Paul Pairet, Shanghai, China
25. Cosme, New York, USA
26. Le Bernardin, New York, USA
27. Boragó, Santiago, Chile
28. Odette, Singapore
29. Alléno Paris au Pavillon Ledoyen, Paris, France
30. D.O.M., São Paulo, Brazil
31. Arzak, San Sebastián, Spain
32. Tickets, Barcelona, Spain
33. The Clove Club, London, UK
34. Alinea, Chicago, USA
35. Maaemo, Oslo, Norway
36. Reale, Castel Di Sangro, Italy
37. Restaurant Tim Raue, Berlin, Germany
38. Lyle’s, London, UK
39. Astrid y Gastón, Lima, Peru
40. Septime, Paris, France
41. Nihonryori RyuGin, Tokyo, Japan
42. The Ledbury, London, UK
43. Azurmendi, Larrabetzu, Spain
44. Mikla, Istanbul, Turkey
45. Dinner by Heston Blumenthal, London, UK
46. Saison, San Francisco, USA
47. Schloss Schauenstein, Fürstenau, Switzerland
48. Hiša Franko, Kobarid, Slovenia
49. Nahm, Bangkok, Thailand
50. The Test Kitchen, Cape Town, South Africa
Abbie Moulton was a guest of The Dalmore, The Official Whisky Partner to the World’s 50 Best Restaurants.