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World's Top 50 Restaurants 2007


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.... unfortunately i came down with food poisoning and only managed a few courses before i had to bow out and leave it to my fellow gourmands to scoff....

So there is a God afterall :laugh:

Thank You Gary- that made my day.

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2. Voters must have visited the restaurant in the last 18 months

No wonder it's so hard to get a table at elBulli!

This is an interesting point. In 18 months el Bulli is open for a maximum of 12 months, but depending on when the voting takes place, this could be closer to nine. Added to this, there is only one service daily, 5 days a week, and the place seats something like a maximum of 50. 250 covers x 36 weeks = 9000 covers. If only half of the voters placed el Bulli on their lists somewhere then nearly 4% of el Bulli's customers in the past 18 months, or two at every service, were panelists on Restaurant Magazine's juries.

Sounds reasonable,

not.

lol. precisely.

when you start looking below the superficial exterior, there is plenty that does not make sense.

You are missing the point again and not for the first time in your life... To save you having to actually scroll and read earlier posts here's the answer I gave Cortina....

"Although they might not post on egullet, these people do exist and a sizeable number of them voted for el Bulli this year and last year. Just because you can't get a table it doesn't mean that through the networking of our international judging panel we don't know a large number of people that voted this year that ate there in the last 18 months.

On the subject of which the whole idea that it's completely impossible to get a table at el Bulli is completely exaggerated.

There's some common sense tips in the current issue of restaurant magazine (though I'm sure you wouldn't dirty your hands with actually reading it) on how you can get yourself a table if you really, really want one.

It involves manners and patience and the price of an easyjet flight..."

Joe,

Seems as if you have taken my point to be literally about the specific situation of the El Bulli reservations, and not about looking below the surface. You'll understand if If I have a slight chuckle about your "You are missing the point again and not for the first time in your life..." comment. :laugh:

oh, and I have read your magazine numerous times, but unfortunately like a great many others I subscribe to your competitor.

Edited by Scott (log)

A meal without wine is... well, erm, what is that like?

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As an aside, I have to add that for food-related matters Restaurant Magazine kicks the Caterer's arse, IMHO.

One of the mysteries is that in the face of RM's innovation and focus Caterer has never really picked up its game and made itself more user-friendly.

Maybe that's just what its audience demand - also bearing in mind RM can be more food-focuses while Caterers has all these hoteliers to think of too.

Unfortunately I let my RM subscription lapse a few years ago, but I do pick it up when I can - good job Joe

J

PS although I thought the Gary Rhodes piece in Caterer the other week also very interesting. The bespiked one shooting for two stars. Hmmm...

More Cookbooks than Sense - my new Cookbook blog!
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I doubt that the list actually reflects the world's top fifty. The world's best connected fifty perhaps, the most media-friendly fifty, or fashionable fifty.

Having said that, I doubt a 'rating' system like this can actually be any more objective, short of hiring a knowledgable and independent staff with no set agenda, who would visit restaurants, perhaps unannounced, and rate them objectively based on their food and surroundings.

Nah, that would never work. I mean, what would the world be like without PR?

(drifts off into a vision of paradise)

Restaurant Magazine shouldn't be blamed for compiling the list and trumpeting it to all and sundry, but really... it's of no real objective use whatsoever.

Allan Brown

"If you're a chef on a salary, there's usually a very good reason. Never, ever, work out your hourly rate."

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My mother always told me it's easier to criticise than create. Therefore, rather than picking at the inevitable subjectivity of the Restaurant's list, I've decided to create my own.

I can guarantee that everywhere has been visited within the last 18 months by the entire judging panel (ie. myself) and has been ranked on an entirely objective basis (ie. how contented I was feeling after the bill came).

The winners are:

1- El Poblet, Denia

2- Swiss Re's private dining rooms at the top of the Gherkin, London

3- 1728, Paris

4- Little Bay (Farringdon branch), London

5- Hung Shing Yeh beach (third cafe along heading north) on Lamma Island, Hong Kong

The award ceremony will be held tonight, upstairs at the Defectors' Weld, Shepherd's Bush Green from 10pm onwards (invite only). And to all those restaurants that didn't place this time, better luck next year.

Can we give it a rest now?

Hung Shing Yeh, a Hong Kongers secret place................

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I mean, what would the world be like without PR?

a terrifically poorer place actually. What would happen to all those jolly, willing girls and rather louche, but frankly irresistible chaps from England's minor public schools?

It's very easy to make cheap cracks about PR, but nobody seems to want to speak up for the benefits it brings to all of us.

Poor show.

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I don't know the precise funding structure of Restaurant magazine but I can make a point based on experience with other trade publications.

The income streams for a trade magazine are as follows

1. Subscriptions

Trade publications rarely admit it but in many cases more issues are distributed free than are actually sold. It's the nature of a trade audience... press, PRs, major players all expect their copies gratis yet this ever increasing group of freeloaders are the very audience that is needed to attract...

2. Paid advertising

Which, in the current climate, is commanding ever lower rates, leaving...

3. Recruitment advertising

The old standby of trade publications which has been effectively gutted by online recruitment.

An ugly picture if you're trying to keep a magazine afloat.

Then, the trade magazine industry discovered a new stream in the form of awards ceremonies and dinners. These serve to provide good PR for the publication, attract income from the tables bought by nominees, winners and their supporters and, create an event which increases the feeling of industry coherence. As Andy has noticed, they can also be largely funded through sponsorship making them effectively self liquidating.

Organisation of these events is now routinely outsourced by the publication to a small army of specialist suppliers who deal with everything from the depressing rubber chicken repast to the 'entertainment', the DJ, the goody bags and, in some cases, the running of the awards list itself. (Though I'm sure this is not the case where a magazine as prestigious as this is concerned).

It is more common for the magazine to hire a PR agency to compile the list and, though I'm sure the magazines would be furious if they found out, the tedious but unchallenging job of actually dealing with the list of entrants is invariably given to the lowest graduate trainee or a freelancer hired for the occasion.

I have actually seen two appeals on private food boards for assistance in running an awards ceremony recently. Neither offered much more than 'experience'. I'm, of course, positive these had nothing to do with this particular event.

In the sectors I'm involved in - advertising, marketing, PR and new media - awards ceremonies are now the only thing keeping the valuable trade titles afloat.

They are, as Bear pointed out, utterly, utterly useless as an objective ranking of talent.

They are, however funding the trade magazines that we would miss if they expired, they serve to cohere the industry and get the civilian press to talk about it.

Every year there are several awards run by the ad industry. Everybody goes, gets pissed, hangs out, catches up and generally has a great time. Everybody gets a nice gong to go on their desk and the magazine can run for another year even though nobody pays for it. Every year there's nice a little PR blip about 'the most popular ad' which gets into the dailies and then it's all forgotten. The difference is that the ad industry doesn't have large, well organised boards of ad consumers, who sit in judgment on the rest of the cosy, incestuous, little carve-up.

Restaurant is the trade organ of the restaurant industry not of restaurant goers, power eaters or resto-collectors. They may be attempting to reposition themselves to appeal to a larger audience which encompasses more informed consumers, but let's face it, a restaurant goer reading 'Restaurant' is like a plane spotter reading 'Pilot' - actually, scratch that, 'Airline Management Gazette'. If you're a deep resto geek it's fun to peek behind the veil but, basically you're not the audience.

The audience for the Restaurant awards is the restaurant industry. To succeed it should honour those who impress that section of the industry that read the magazine. The reason it needs to have a little bit of extra profile in the national press is to make that audience feel a little better about themselves when their friends and family read it. The 'best' restaurant in the world might well be the third noodle bar on the left outside the railway station in Osaka - run by a wizened old monk who makes a single batch of stock, once a year, from the sweat of Kobe cows scented with the perfume of passing geishas. Unfortunately it has no relevance to the food and bev manager of a country house hotel outside Dudley, an aspiring sous in a one star in Edinburgh or the head of sales for a table linen company in Dublin. Furthermore, he's not going to pay £5K for a table for twelve where he can bring his top five clients and their wives. Hell I'm not sure anyone in Japan has heard of the magazine. The news of a 'prestigious award' would probably have the same relevance to them as a similar offer from the Reader's Digest.

If you want to honour the noodle sensei of old Osaka you need a global forum of informed restaurant goers with no ties to the industry - then they can vote on their favourites.

For the industry, awards like this do nothing but unalloyed good. Ordinary punters aren't going to be remotely affected by this and we should be too wise to care.

Edited by Tim Hayward (log)

Tim Hayward

"Anyone who wants to write about food would do well to stay away from

similes and metaphors, because if you're not careful, expressions like

'light as a feather' make their way into your sentences and then where are you?"

Nora Ephron

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What staggered me was the fact that Heston was on the R4Today programme, being congratulated for coming second....what they failed to mention was that he was second to El Bulli last year and that the year before the Fat Duck was No1 and El Bulli No 2.

Having eaten at four of the six top restaurants (not in the last year or 18 months I hasten to add - oh that I could afford it!) I wouldn't agree with the listing - El Bulli is just the emperor's clothes.

And I've heard of most of the UK panel but who on earth is Maureen Mills? Has anyone ever heard of her? How come she is on the judging panel?

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What staggered me was the fact that Heston was on the R4Today programme, being congratulated for coming second....what they failed to mention was that he was second to El Bulli last year and that the year before the Fat Duck was No1 and El Bulli No 2.

Heston's PR has always been super efficient. As he was likely to be placed either 1st or second this year and as, by his own admission, last year's award gained him more business than his M. stars, they would have arranged a whole raft of interviews and appearances to leverage the publicity.

Then some poor bloody production assistant wakes up and finds that El Bulli is no 1. but that Adria has no time to appear in the UK. Heston's people, OTOH, are still kicking the door down offering his comments everywhere (and I mean everywhere - It's a good thing the poor bloke understands science because I can't comprehend how anyone could appear in so many media without stretching the boundaries of space/time).

Full marks to his team. Heston is runner-up to the crown but consolidates his position as a British culinary hero through fantastic PR management, being nice and making himself available.

Brings a tear to my cynical old eye.

Tim Hayward

"Anyone who wants to write about food would do well to stay away from

similes and metaphors, because if you're not careful, expressions like

'light as a feather' make their way into your sentences and then where are you?"

Nora Ephron

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This is an interesting point. In 18 months el Bulli is open for a maximum of 12 months, but depending on when the voting takes place, this could be closer to nine. Added to this, there is only one service daily, 5 days a week, and the place seats something like a maximum of 50.  250 covers x 36 weeks = 9000 covers. If only half of the voters placed el Bulli on their lists somewhere then nearly 4% of el Bulli's customers in the past 18 months, or two at every service, were panelists on Restaurant Magazine's juries.

Sounds reasonable,

Zoticus, there is a flaw to your calculation. You don't need half of the 651 voters to place El Bulli on their lists in order to make it Number 1. It is not that there are only two restaurants in the whole world such that you need more than half of the total votes to place El Bulli in Number 1. There are actually hundreds of restaurants to spread the votes, so even only 20 voters place El Bulli on their list of five can be enough to make it Number 1!

In conclusion, you definitely don't need two Restaurant Magazine's juries in every El Bulli's service to make it Number 1.

Edited by kkwchan (log)
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Heston's PR has always been super efficient.

No doubt this is true, but they have an awful lot to work with. Imagine the poor old food hacks dilema - "What in hell's name am I going to write about today," they ask themselves. "Your restaurant serves local and seasonal dishes you say? Gosh how um, interes......sorry must have passed into a coma lasting two weeks there. Must dash, I've got a call coming through on the other line. A dish that looks like the sea shore and you get an I Pod with it? When can you send over a picture? Can we schedule a phone interview? Yes, 500 words in tomorrow's edition no problem."

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This is an interesting point. In 18 months el Bulli is open for a maximum of 12 months, but depending on when the voting takes place, this could be closer to nine. Added to this, there is only one service daily, 5 days a week, and the place seats something like a maximum of 50.  250 covers x 36 weeks = 9000 covers. If only half of the voters placed el Bulli on their lists somewhere then nearly 4% of el Bulli's customers in the past 18 months, or two at every service, were panelists on Restaurant Magazine's juries.

Sounds reasonable,

Zoticus, there is a flaw to your calculation...

Next time I'll use a calculator. You never know who might be reading:

But the more I mulled over these figures, the more I began to appreciate quite how small this sample is. El Bulli only seats a maximum of 50 customers a night, only serves dinner, and is only open for six months of the year. This means that it can serve about 9,000 customers during the voting period. Similarly, the Fat Duck only seats 44, although it is open for lunch and dinner all year. El Bulli's customers must surely have included a disproportionate number of Restaurant magazine voters over the past 18 months to have earned its top spot.
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Heston's PR has always been super efficient.

No doubt this is true, but they have an awful lot to work with... A dish that looks like the sea shore and you get an I Pod with it? When can you send over a picture? Can we schedule a phone interview? Yes, 500 words in tomorrow's edition no problem."

Eerie, isn't it? It almost as though HB were conceiving the stuff in order to fulfill this very purpose.

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Heston's PR has always been super efficient.

No doubt this is true, but they have an awful lot to work with... A dish that looks like the sea shore and you get an I Pod with it? When can you send over a picture? Can we schedule a phone interview? Yes, 500 words in tomorrow's edition no problem."

Eerie, isn't it? It almost as though HB were conceiving the stuff in order to fulfill this very purpose.

Now he's inked the deal with Haagen Dazs he won't have to worry about PR ever again. :wink:

Tim Hayward

"Anyone who wants to write about food would do well to stay away from

similes and metaphors, because if you're not careful, expressions like

'light as a feather' make their way into your sentences and then where are you?"

Nora Ephron

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