The suspense has ended with the announcement of the World's 50 Best Restaurants List for 2014 at a ceremony in London a short while ago. London has been buzzing with food related chatter and the presence of some of the most celebrated chefs in the world for the past few days. All these luminaries are in town for one thing only: the U.K based Restaurant Magazine's announcement of the latest reshuffling of the 50 Best Restaurants of the World list.
The Crypt of the Guildhall, the location of the announcement of this list that originated as an attempt to boost sales of the fledgling magazine in 2001, was for the past couple of hours packed with notable chefs from around the world. The great camaraderie and back slapping had undertones of anxiety and tension. Fergus Henderson was seated right behind Joan Roca, while Thomas Keller and Daniel Patterson were seen hugging in the aisle. Massimo Bottura, sporting a new bearded look, was schmoozing with friends. The business at their restaurants, the reservation books, and the sales of their cookbooks are all tied to this annual list, which has become almost a parallel rating system to the Michelin. Ferguson Henderson of U.K., winner of the Diner's Club Lifetime Achievement Award, and Helena Rizzo, the Brazilian chef from Mani in São Paulo, the Veuve Cliquot Top Female Chef of 2014, were the only two who knew their status when they walked in.
The Top 50 restaurants were tipped off to send representatives to the event, so they knew they had made the list, but not their placing. These awards have gained momentum in the last few years, gaining sponsorships like Aqua Panna and San Pellegrino and establishing a panel of 900 international jury members who are subjected to intense lobbying. (No surprise there!)
As for the others, last year's Top 50, and especially the Top Ten, is where these restaurants wished to be placed, or at least retain their previous rankings. Well, the results are out! El Cellar de Can Roca dropped from the first spot to the second putting Noma once again at the the top of the list! Rene Redzepi very emotionally read the speech he wrote back in 2010 when Noma won the #1 spot for the first time.
The evening began well for the US with with Saison in San Fransisco and Chef Joshua Skeenes as the one to watch in 2014. Daniel Patterson of Coi placed an exciting 49th and Thomas Keller's Per Se dropped to 30th, while Alinea in Chicago made it to the 9th position, a very sweet spot.
Azurmendi, Chef Eneko Atxa's restaurant, won the Most Sustainable Restaurant in the World award. Juan Mari Arzak turned around to affectionately congratulate the young chef whose restaurant placed 26th as a new entry this year. Virgillio Martnez's Central jumped from 50th last year to 15th this year. It's one to watch in the coming years, but Mauro Colegreco of Mirazur, France is nudging up to the top ten having placed 11th this year. Alex Atala of Brazil was named Chef's Choice of the Year, and Jordi Roca of Spain won the first award for Pastry that was instituted this year.
The list of Top 10 Restaurants for 2014:
1. Noma, Copenhagen (Denmark)
2. El Celler de Can Roca, Girona (Spain)
3. Osteria Francescana, Modena (Italy)
4. Eleven Madison, New York City (USA)
5. Dinner by Heston Blumenthal, London (UK)
6. Mugaritz, San Sebastian (Spain)
7. D.O.M., São Paulo (Brazil)
8. Arzak, San Sebastian (Spain)
9. Alinea, Chicago (USA)
10. Ledbury, London (UK)