No two ways about it. It doesn’t get any better than this. It’s the annual awards ceremony that foodies the world over wait with bated breath for. The Worlds 50 best restaurant awards celebrate extraordinary culinary talent providing an annual barometer of the greatest gastronomic experiences across the globe. As for the past 15 years, once again this year, London’s historic guildhall in London saw the worlds superstar chefs and the whos who of the culinary world flying in to receive their awards. Mind-blowing geniuses from Peru to Japan, Australia to Russia sit shoulder to shoulder as the glittering awards ceremony gets underway. I attend as chairperson of the Indian subcontinent. Over the past two decades, having eaten in their fabulous restaurants, it’s a sheer delight to meet my heroes.
MY PHOTO COLLAGE
It’s impossible to crunch the magnificence and significance of the Worlds 50 best awards into this short space I put together a collage of photos shot by me. As they say a photo is worth a thousand words. Excuse the amateur quality of the collage and read on for many a surprise.
OUR INDIANS SHINE
In this rarefied gastronomic galaxy of superstars our very own Kolkatta boy Gaggan Anand shot up to number 10 in the world list. His “Progressive Indian” restaurant, was judged Asias best restaurant 2015 this February. Ive has the most mind-blowingly delicious and mindbending meal in his trail blazing Bangkok restaurant. The ponytailed genius reinvents regional indian cuisine using modern cooking methods.
Our very own Delhi based Rohit Khattar and Manish Mehrotra’s “Indian Accent” clambered up to number 77, being the only Indian restaurant on the list. The brilliant and gifted Manish’s progressive Indian cuisine coaxes amazing flavors and marries them with surprising textures. Therein lies the magic.
LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARDEE
I have luxuriated in almost all of Michelin starred Daniels restaurants, be it NYCs jewelbox Daniel with it’s rituals synonymous with the haute French style or the casual sexily glamorous London Mandarin Oriental’s Bar Boulud ( I was lucky enough to be part of it’s 5th anniversary celebratory brunch with the legendary maître de Paulo de Tarso ).
Well deserved Lifetime achievement awardee Daniel continues to expand his empire with his Award-winning restaurants, Feast & Fêtes catering company, best selling cookbooks and television series. except that (as he says) he is still young and has many more achievements to accomplish.
AMERICAS BEST/ CHEFS CHOICE
Dynamic Will Guidara and Daniel Humm’s ElevenMadison Park
is the best of the best. Its not about gimmickry, (even though fresh carrots are ground on the table, and the cheese course is served in a picnic basket) but about teasing and revealing as the 16 course meal progress, including the outstandingly creative vegetarian courses. Every now and then, Chef Humm injects our meal with shots from his heady molecular gastronomy. There are card tricks at the table, but the real magic is in the food, in the fun and fascinating meal which Chef Daniel Humm and Will Guidara deliver and ace in the grandiose, large room.
THE WORLDS BEST
I begin my pilgtimage in the 2000-year-old city of Girona ( and it is on the outskirts that the three brothers Joan, Josep and Jordi’s trail-blazing, worlds best restaurant is housed in a country house, a hybrid of modernist and colonial styles.
‘Techno-emotion cuisine’ best describes my five hour, 22-course experience. The depth, intensity, technique, science, complexity, flavour, fantasy, and humour in the Mediterannean-inspired food powerfully evoke memories.
There are liquid explosions of caviar omlette and bonbons in my mouth! ‘Perfume cooking’ at its finest.
Masterminding this gutsy, gigantic global awards series is a dreamteam which not only continues to raise the bar for the Worlds 50 best but has also spun off the magnificent Asias 50 best, latin Americs’s 50 best and counting.
Fifth generation owner of William Reed, the dynamic and low-profile Charles Reed Group Managing Director continues to run his global business empire of which the Worlds 50 best is only a small portion. Working shoulder to shoulder with him is the dashing and formidably competent Tim Brooke-Webb
Managing Director (with several portfolios but with overall responsibility for The World’s 50 Best. His love for fast cars and food has me fascinated. Then there is the ever dynamic former-lawyer, diploma holder at Le Cordon Bleu Rachel Quigley the Associate Director of The World’s 50 Best Restaurants global portfolio.
Masterfully steering this magnificent academy is William Drew, the Group Editor of The World’s 50 Best Restaurants and Restaurant magazine. A highly respected journalist and editor for two decades, he continues to write and comment on food and restaurants in the UK and international media.
THE TOP 10
— 1: El Celler de Can Roca (Spain)
— 2: Osteria Francescana (Italy)
— 3: Noma (Denmark)
— 4: Central (Peru)
— 5: Eleven Madison Park (NYC)
— 6: Mugaritz (Spain)
— 7: Dinner by Heston Blumenthal (London)
— 8: Narisawa (Tokyo)
— 9: D.O.M. (Brazil)
— 10: Gaggan (Bangkok)