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World's Top 50 Restaurants 2007


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I preferred the earlier, funnier lists.

Last night ceremony was, um, long. Highlights were Sally Clarke's affectionate tribute to lifetime achievement award winner Alice Waters (who looks about 20 years younger than her actual age of 59) and Ferran Adria calling the Spanish culinary mafia including Andoni Aduriz and Juan Mari Arzak to join him on stage as he accepted the award for best restaurant in the world.

Only "special" award winners got invited to the stage which meant that Pierre Gagnaire was the only chef in the top 5 who didn't get his moment in the spotlight -all the others received gongs for being best restaurant in their region or in The Fat Duck's case "Chef's Choice" award.

Compare Mark Durden-Smith did his best to jolly things along but was unfortunately saddled with the job of reading out the 120 word long restaurant descriptions as printed in the current issue of Restaurant magazine for every one of the 50 best, which meant he'd read out the equivilent of a 6,000 word essay by the end of the evening. Thrilling stuff.

The usual suspects were in attendance including Thomas Keller, Neil Perry from Rockpool and Tetsuya Wakuda but Ducasse, Bras, Robuchon, Vongerichten, Boulud, Trotter and Restaurant magazine editor Joe Warwick's chum Mr Ramsay were conspicuous by their absence.

I tottered along to the after show party at Bouji and arrived just in time to see some European food journalists being treated with utter contempt by a clipboard witch and her gorillas who claimed to know nothing whatsoever about the awards. I enjoyed being ignored for five minutes as Ms Clipboard air kissed some trust fund scum then got the message and went home with my goodie bag full of shallots (I kid you not) and bottles of delicious, refreshing San Pellegrino (I wasn't paid to say that - I'm just brainwashed after 90 minutes of relentless product placement).

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What does everyone think?

Lee

Yes, quite surprised that River Cafe is back, but even more surprised at Le Bernardin. I've been to 35 restaurants on that list in the past 12 mth, Le Bernardin was not even comparable with others. All seafood dishes were quite ordinary. The langoustine that they served wasn't even fresh that I had to complain to the manager.

I think the list is starting to stabilize as they have not changed their voting method that much from last year's: Same Top10 restaurants, and no change at all in top 6.

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Dear Joe,

I fully understand the need for sponsorship in order to mount such an event as the World's Fifty Best. All I would say is that there is a balance to be struck so that people don't feel they have been corralled into a room to be put in front of logos for an hour and a half. I personally preferred the more free wheeling nature of the earlier events at Hush and the Royal Exchange where things seemed to zip along nicely, you were free to continue to mingle and you could absorb the sponsor's messages more "organically" as it were,

yours,

Just Another Jaded Hack (the Laurent Perrier was lovely by the way, thank you)

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Can anyone explain why Hakkasan is considered among the top-20 restaurants in the world? I concede that the room's very glam but, based on what comes out of the kitchen, it's not even in the top 20 near Tottenham Court Road.

Also, Nobu is the best restaurant in London, while Japan doesn't merit a single place in the top 100?

Edit: oh, and The River Cafe is only interesting because it's in Hammersmith. If it were in Tuscany it'd be anonymous. Why should that give it a ranking when the competition is international? Would A Salt & Battery in New York be considered a world-beater for accurately apeing the British chippie?

Warning: this list contains nuts.

Edited by naebody (log)
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The list surprises me!

Why still a Bocuse on the list? But also: I had quite disappointing meals at Jean-Georges, Noma, Le Bernardin, Le Calandre, Nobu London...

I was recently both at Can Roca as well Can Fabes: the latter much better than the first but even Berasategui I find more interesting than the three brothers.

But when I looked at the voting panel of e.g. Benelux, I did understand why this list is not that interesting. I know several of them quite well (not personally though) and I wondered how they were chosen. No one from the Netherlands or Luxembourg for example, all seem friends of the chairman.

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Complete fucking drivel, as usual; except that every year it takes itself more seriously.

P.S. I hope Heston Blumenthal wins next year. He's in serious danger of turning into Uriah Heep.

Edited by Zoticus (log)
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1) Before we have the same debate again and again please note YES list is subjective, NO its not definitive and YES its frequently wrong. As has been endlessly debated last year. And the year before. And the year before etc.

2) Top six the same name tells its own story. The list is losing its impact, a natural outcome given there simply isn't that much haute change in the top establishments. More prosaically it probably needs a rethink for next year. Maybe spring another high-publicity surprise (cf making FD #1 a few years back) e.g. by naming a derivative me-too (but well executed) posh french tapas place "Breakthrough Restaurant". Ooops, done that already.

3) End of the day remember its primarily a marketing exercise for Restaurant Magazine (and can I say Joe a very successful one too - I bet the guys at Caterer are green with envy; did you send them an invite this year? :raz: ).

One thing though Joe - how did you get away with papering over the leak of results the other week by whoever the muppet was running your website? * I'd have thought someone would have run with it, but the press didn't seem to notice.... Got away with that one!

ta

J

EDIT: * For the benefit of those who were turned to another channel at the time, the file with the top 50 (and the top 51-100) went up on the official website a week or two ago, but was not linked to the front-page. However it was discovered, deep-linked and the full list was published and discussed on this website and on other food forums, although I think the thread here was taken down.

Edited by Jon Tseng (log)
More Cookbooks than Sense - my new Cookbook blog!
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Complete fucking drivel, as usual; except that every year it takes itself more seriously.

P.S. I hope Heston Blumenthal wins next year. He's in serious danger of turning into Uriah Heep.

HEll Yes. Spain spain go away come back another day. Last should not be last by any stretch and what about La Pergola. Senseless gastro-fad drivel.

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Also, Nobu is the best restaurant in London, while Japan doesn't merit a single place in the top 100?

Quite right ! I've had more memorable meals in tiny 12 seater neighbourhood restaurants in Japan than in Nobu.

www.diariesofadomesticatedgoddess.blogspot.com

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1) Before we have the same debate again and again please note YES list is subjective, NO its not definitive and YES its frequently wrong.  As has been endlessly debated last year.  And the year before.  And the year before etc.

Having read all the previous debates, I set out not to get wound up this year. List-making exercises such as this are always so futile and so structurally flawed that they are beyond any rational criticism -- almost.

But Hakkasan? Hakkasan!?!

With the top 50 getting blanket coverage in the press today, it will become the basis for a lot of opinion forming. That suggests to me that it is still worth highlighting where the lineup strays from its subjective remit into the territory of tinfoil-hat mental. Frankly, with a list as absurdly wrong as the one seen this year, it can only reflect badly on the magazine and the imported fizzy water that are attempting to gain associated fame.

(Incidentally, does anyone still buy imported fizzy water? Bit of an anathema in these carbon-neutral times, I'd have thought.)

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But to be fair though and to give credit where credit is due, for all its faults the Resto Mag 50 has more than anyone to put haute cuisine into the mainstream (and it is, of course an unashamedly haute list).

The national papers have been talking not only about Blumenthal but about Pierre Gagnaire, the French Laundry, and Bras. I was enormously gratified to read the Indy today (a viewspaper alas, not a newspaper) and see Celler de Can Roca name-checked.

Imagine ten or fifeen years ago. You would never, NEVER have had such coverage of the comparable haute stars in their day. Mainstream press in the early 90s would probably have thought a Robuchon was a kind of root vegetable, and Chez Panisse located somewhere south of Bruges. We've got the Resto mag to thank for that (and for the fact that with all that fame its a right pain to get into the Fat Quack nowadays).

Cheers Joe!

J

PS But yes, you do wanna find yourself a new webmaster... :raz:

Edited by Jon Tseng (log)
More Cookbooks than Sense - my new Cookbook blog!
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PS But yes, you do wanna find yourself a new webmaster...  :raz:

Amen...Paul Bocuse, past lifetime achievement award winner, is described thus:

"Having put their fraternal bond to the ultimate test for four decades and come through with flying colours, the Roux brothers, Albert and Michel, can truly claim to be lifetime achievers..."

I love lists. Can't wait to read the blurb for each place. Noma has flown straight into my radar.

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I preferred the earlier, funnier lists.

Last night ceremony was, um, long. Highlights were Sally Clarke's affectionate tribute to lifetime achievement award winner Alice Waters (who looks about 20 years younger than her actual age of 59) and Ferran Adria calling the Spanish culinary mafia including Andoni Aduriz and Juan Mari Arzak to join him on stage as he accepted the award for best restaurant in the world.

Only "special" award winners got invited to the stage which meant that Pierre Gagnaire was the only chef in the top 5 who didn't get his moment in the spotlight -all the others received gongs for being best restaurant in their region or in The Fat Duck's case "Chef's Choice" award. 

Compare Mark Durden-Smith did his best to jolly things along but was unfortunately saddled with the job of reading out the 120 word long restaurant descriptions as printed in the current issue of Restaurant magazine for every one of the 50 best, which meant he'd read out the equivilent of a 6,000 word essay by the end of the evening. Thrilling stuff. 

The usual suspects were in attendance including Thomas Keller, Neil Perry from Rockpool and Tetsuya Wakuda but Ducasse, Bras, Robuchon, Vongerichten, Boulud, Trotter and Restaurant magazine editor Joe Warwick's chum Mr Ramsay were conspicuous by their absence.

I tottered along to the after show party at Bouji and arrived just in time to see some European food journalists being treated with utter contempt by a clipboard witch and her gorillas who claimed to know nothing whatsoever about the awards. I enjoyed being ignored for five minutes as Ms Clipboard air kissed some trust fund scum then got the message and went home with my goodie bag full of shallots (I kid you not) and bottles of delicious, refreshing San Pellegrino (I wasn't paid to say that - I'm just brainwashed after 90 minutes of relentless product placement).

sounds like they need moorfield media to sort it out :laugh:

you don't win friends with salad

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But to be fair though and to give credit where credit is due, for all its faults the Resto Mag 50 has more than anyone to put haute cuisine into the mainstream (and it is, of course an unashamedly haute list).

I don't see this as a good thing Jon. A sloppily put together and , frankly, disingenuous, list like this getting so much mainstream coverage is not a postive thing. The average punter will read this list like this and accept it as gospel (or at least a well researched attempt at an admittedly subjective target). This annual travesty merely spreads misconceptions and lazily held untruths.

Every year year well-informed members of this and other food fora point outs the list's many deficencies (which go rather far beyond subjective differences of opinion...) At this stage, I'd love to just ignore it but thats impossible given the coverage it gets.

Egon Ronay's letter in today's Telegraph covers it quite nicely:

Sir - "The world's" best 50 restaurants (report, April 24)? Warm congratulations to the organisers for having found some 500 highly experienced international restaurant critics to inspect anonymously 50,000 to 60,000 good restaurants all over the world.

They must know about food if not about the existence of China, Japan, Pakistan, Russia and most of South America and Scandinavia.

But they did miss a trick: the ideal date for revealing their monumental efforts would have been April 1.

Egon Ronay, Reading, Berkshire

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Dear Joe,

I fully understand the need for sponsorship in order to mount such an event as the World's Fifty Best. All I would say is that there is a balance to be struck so that people don't feel they have been corralled into a room to be put in front of logos for an hour and a half. I personally preferred the more free wheeling nature of the earlier events at Hush and the Royal Exchange where things seemed to zip along nicely, you were free to continue to mingle and you could absorb the sponsor's messages more "organically" as it were,

yours,

Just Another Jaded Hack (the Laurent Perrier was lovely by the way, thank you)

Andy Baby

I too enjoyed the early days at Hush and the Royal Exchange but while it might have been nicer to mingle and talk at those particular events the actual awards didn't work because the acoustics were terrible and nobody would shut the f*** up.

In 2005, for example, we had a situation where Paul Bocuse came up to accept his lifetime achievement award and everybody was talking over the top of him.

We don't run this event just to throw a party for a load of hacks - it's about rewarding the chefs, restaurateurs and establishments that the voting panel have put onto the list and - in case of the lifetime achievment award - to big up someone who has inspired over the length of their career.

To make these talented people travel long distances and then just have the awards as the backdrop to a lot of people drinking and talking is just not what we want the event to be anymore.

Sponsorship pays for the event and sponsors make demands before they agree to pay for things. You try telling somebody that's shelling out big bucks for an event that they can't have their logo on things and that their message will be absorbed 'organically'.

Like I said before come up with a way to pay for everything without sponsors or failing that find sponsor that wants nothing in return and I'll happily take their money and throw a fine logo-free event. Have you the email addresses of any philanthropic millionaires that you'd like to share me?

The awards and the list have grown a lot since the early days but - and I would say this - I don't think they have lost their soul in the process. The lunch we had a St John yesterday with all the winners in honour of Alice W was a totally logoless pleasure but the event itself - if it's to continue to grow - needs the support of the sponsors.

I'm not getting into arguing about the list itself right now because that way madness lies but what the list and the event does very well is promote the quality end of the restaurant industry which was always what the magazine was meant to be about.

J

PS You still haven't told me in light of your acute logo-sensitivity whether or not you want me to withdraw your invite for next year?

Edited by smokinjoe (log)
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But to be fair though and to give credit where credit is due, for all its faults the Resto Mag 50 has more than anyone to put haute cuisine into the mainstream (and it is, of course an unashamedly haute list).

The national papers have been talking not only about Blumenthal but about Pierre Gagnaire, the French Laundry, and Bras.  I was enormously gratified to read the Indy today (a viewspaper alas, not a newspaper) and see Celler de Can Roca name-checked.

Imagine ten or fifeen years ago.  You would never, NEVER have had such coverage of the comparable haute stars in their day.  Mainstream press in the early 90s would probably have thought a Robuchon was a kind of root vegetable, and Chez Panisse located somewhere south of Bruges.  We've got the Resto mag to thank for that (and for the fact that with all that fame its a right pain to get into the Fat Quack nowadays).

Cheers Joe!

PS But yes, you do wanna find yourself a new webmaster...  :raz:

I totally disagree that Restaurant magazine had anything to do with putting haute cuisine into the mainstream. It was fortuitous for Restaurant Magazine that it launched during the expansion of all things food and drink, something akin to the way fashion changed on the high streets. Haute cuisine is still very far from the mainstream but what you have are lots of media, retailers and producers hawking the idea of "haute simple" to sell their products. Restaurant Magazine is part of this process as is clear by having Nespresso as a sponsor.

J

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But to be fair though and to give credit where credit is due, for all its faults the Resto Mag 50 has more than anyone to put haute cuisine into the mainstream (and it is, of course an unashamedly haute list).

I don't see this as a good thing Jon. A sloppily put together and , frankly, disingenuous, list like this getting so much mainstream coverage is not a postive thing. The average punter will read this list like this and accept it as gospel (or at least a well researched attempt at an admittedly subjective target). This annual travesty merely spreads misconceptions and lazily held untruths.

Every year year well-informed members of this and other food fora point outs the list's many deficencies (which go rather far beyond subjective differences of opinion...) At this stage, I'd love to just ignore it but thats impossible given the coverage it gets.

Egon Ronay's letter in today's Telegraph covers it quite nicely:

Sir - "The world's" best 50 restaurants (report, April 24)? Warm congratulations to the organisers for having found some 500 highly experienced international restaurant critics to inspect anonymously 50,000 to 60,000 good restaurants all over the world.

They must know about food if not about the existence of China, Japan, Pakistan, Russia and most of South America and Scandinavia.

But they did miss a trick: the ideal date for revealing their monumental efforts would have been April 1.

Egon Ronay, Reading, Berkshire

It's a survey. A survey of experts worldwide the names of whom are on the website and there is total transparency in the way it's compiled and it does not involve us claiming that anyone on the panel has eaten in all of the restaurants in the world or even all of the restaurants in the list... it doesn't work like that.

That Egon Ronay can't get his head around the concept is no great surprise, a great man but he's

hardly got his finger on the pulse these days as for the Torygraph...

The list started as a throw away magazine feature and by accident rather than by design became really important to a lot of people.

For that reason, as of last year, we introduced a very involved, democratic, fully international voting process that takes a lot of time and hard work by an academy of 22 different voting regions and - this year - 651 panelists around the world.

No one - myself included - is claiming that the list is perfect but every year we're working very hard to make it better and more representative. This year we introduced two new voting regions in Asia to address the lack of Japanese restaurants and - as that didn't work - we are going to continue to look at that particular issue and many others that were raised by the meeting we had on Sunday night with all of the regional chairmen and women that were over for the awards.

To say that the list is sloppily put together, disingenuous and a travesty is frankly ignorant and an insult to all the people that work very hard on putting it together every year.

You, I'm afraid, are the one responsible for spreading misconceptions and lazily held untruths.

Joe Warwick, Editor, Restaurant Magazine.

Edited by smokinjoe (log)
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I preferred the earlier, funnier lists.

Last night ceremony was, um, long. Highlights were Sally Clarke's affectionate tribute to lifetime achievement award winner Alice Waters (who looks about 20 years younger than her actual age of 59) and Ferran Adria calling the Spanish culinary mafia including Andoni Aduriz and Juan Mari Arzak to join him on stage as he accepted the award for best restaurant in the world.

Only "special" award winners got invited to the stage which meant that Pierre Gagnaire was the only chef in the top 5 who didn't get his moment in the spotlight -all the others received gongs for being best restaurant in their region or in The Fat Duck's case "Chef's Choice" award. 

Compare Mark Durden-Smith did his best to jolly things along but was unfortunately saddled with the job of reading out the 120 word long restaurant descriptions as printed in the current issue of Restaurant magazine for every one of the 50 best, which meant he'd read out the equivilent of a 6,000 word essay by the end of the evening. Thrilling stuff. 

The usual suspects were in attendance including Thomas Keller, Neil Perry from Rockpool and Tetsuya Wakuda but Ducasse, Bras, Robuchon, Vongerichten, Boulud, Trotter and Restaurant magazine editor Joe Warwick's chum Mr Ramsay were conspicuous by their absence.

I tottered along to the after show party at Bouji and arrived just in time to see some European food journalists being treated with utter contempt by a clipboard witch and her gorillas who claimed to know nothing whatsoever about the awards. I enjoyed being ignored for five minutes as Ms Clipboard air kissed some trust fund scum then got the message and went home with my goodie bag full of shallots (I kid you not) and bottles of delicious, refreshing San Pellegrino (I wasn't paid to say that - I'm just brainwashed after 90 minutes of relentless product placement).

sounds like they need moorfield media to sort it out :laugh:

Yeah don't know how we've somehow got by without Thom's input these last four years...

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PS You still haven't told me in light of your acute logo-sensitivity whether or not you want me to withdraw your invite for next year?

I'd be delighted to attend next year's ceremony and I take your point about honouring the chefs and restaurateurs properly. I think the format you used at the Delfina Cafe for UK Best Dishes would work very well for World's 50 Best.

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"The average punter will read this list like this and accept it as gospel "

these kind of comments (and I only quote this as an example) sound horribly patrionising to average punters like myself...

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