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SAN PELLEGRINO: World’s 50 Best Restaurants 2011
THE GREAT DANE… NOMA NAMED THE S.PELLEGRINO WORLD’S BEST RESTAURANT 2011 AS A NEW GENERATION OF CHEFS CHALLENGE FOR THE TOP
• Chefs under the age of 40 dominate the list
• European restaurants populate the top 10 but the list features new entries from Peru, China, Russia and Mexico
• Twenty countries represented in the list including Japan and Brazil
Danish restaurant Noma has been named the S.Pellegrino World’s Best Restaurant 2011 in the annual list of the S.Pellegrino World’s 50 Best Restaurants. For the second consecutive year Rene Redzepi’s restaurant topped the voting in the annual awards – widely considered to be the ‘Oscars’ of the restaurant world - reflecting the continued excitement around its unique treatment of local and regional ingredients.
It has been a momentous year for Noma and chef Rene Redzepi’s name has become synonymous with the ‘new guard’ of global cuisine; a shorthand for young, exciting, destination led dining.
William Drew, editor of Restaurant magazine, said
“This year showcases an exciting list of restaurants that span an even greater geographical spread than previous years and recognises the influence of fledgling culinary nations such as Peru and Russia. We heartily congratulate René Redzepi for the difficult task of maintaining his position as the number one restaurant on our list which underscores his commitment to redefining Nordic cuisine.”
With the legendary El Bulli closing this year and therefore not included on this year’s list, Spanish restaurants El Celler de Can Roca and Mugaritz, at numbers two and three respectively, are lining up behind Noma. El Celler de Can Roca, run by three brothers, the youngest of whom is just 33 years old, has risen two places up the list this year to number 2. Also up two places is the restaurant placed third, Mugaritz, which has recovered following a devastating fire in 2010.
One of the most coveted awards of the night is the Chefs’ Choice award. Voted for by the chefs on the World’s 50 Best list,this year’s winner is Massimo Bottura whose restaurant, Osteria Francescana, is one of the most talked about it Italy. Massimo is rapidly gaining an international reputation for his avant-garde cuisine which although unashamedly modern, reflects traditional techniques and always pushes the boundaries of what’s new.
Beyond the dominance of Spanish and Italian restaurants at the very top of the list, Brazilian restaurant D.O.M has made one of the most exciting advances - 11 places up the list to number 7. The critics have recognised its growing influence on global cuisine by voting for it in significant numbers and the country’s rising profile has been recognised by the 50 Best Academy which now has a dedicated panel for Brazil. Known for his use of ingredients from the Amazon, chef Alex Atala is bringing a new sustainable Brazilian cuisine to the world’s attention.
Peru’s first ever restaurant on the list is Astrid Y Gaston at number 42. Based in Lima, the restaurant is known for serving Peruvian haute cuisine including traditional cerviches and chupes (fish stews). The Electrolux World’s 50 Best Academy has also recognised the growing importance of South American cuisine and reflected this in a new Academy panel of judges for South America and one for Brazil specifically.
The best restaurant in North America for the second year is Chicago’s Alinea, seeing off competition from other US favourites such as Thomas Keller’s Per Se (no change at 10) and Daniel (number 11).
Despite the extraordinary competition from around the world, UK’s The Fat Duck is at number five and this year is joined by The Ledbury which has been named as the list’s highest new entry at number 34. Brett Graham, the Australian-born head chef is widely recognised for his excellent French-inspired cuisine and as a result of his placing on the list, critics would expect his West London eatery to move from local star to global ‘must go’ restaurant. Claude Bosi’s Hibiscus and Fergus Henderson’s St John also feature on the list at numbers 43 (up 6 on last year) and 41 (up 2) respectively.
France’s Le Chateaubriand also continues its rise up the list at number 9 this year, up two places. It is joined by L’Astrance and L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon at numbers 13 and 14 respectively. L’Astrance is a remarkable place to eat as it may be the only restaurant on the list that doesn’t have a menu. Diners choose how many courses they want to eat and what emerges from the kitchen is entirely the chef’s choice.
The award for the highest climber goes to Nihonryori RyuGin restaurant in Japan which is up 28 spaces on the list. Seiji Yamamoto’s cooking pushes the boundaries of Japanese cuisine without upsetting traditionalists. Also in Tokyo and named as the best restaurant in Asia for the third year in a row is Les Creations de Narisawa. Its unorthodox French cuisine is heralded for the use of organic soil and charcoal in its dishes.
Quay is named as the best in Australasia for the second year in a row. This year Peter Gilmore’s restaurant is ranked at No 26, up one place on last year and is the only Australian restaurant on the Worlds’ 50 Best Restaurants list.
Beyond the top half of the S.Pellegrino World’s 50 Best Restaurants list there are restaurants from countries that are new to the list but which nonetheless have excellent reputations locally and are just breaking onto the international stage of fine dining. One such restaurant is Russia’s Varvary which appears at 48. Serving traditional cuisine but with a European influence, it is currently one of the most famous restaurants in Russia.
The Best Restaurant in Africa award goes to Cape Town’s Le Quartier Francais, a favourite on the list for many years now. Its head chef, Dutchwoman Margot Janse has run the kitchen there for 16 years and is regularly named as the best chef in Africa.
Every year one restaurant in the 51 to 100 list is named as the ‘One to Watch’. This year a Swedish restaurant Frantzen/Lindeberg receives that accolade. One of the smallest restaurants on the list with just 16 seats, it was set up in 2008 and dinner here been described as a ‘spectacular show’ with escargots and caviar d’escargot, served on a plate along with a music box, cat grass, violets, pollen and rapeseed.
William Drew, editor of Restaurant magazine, said:
“What makes this Stockholm restaurant so exciting is that there’s no traditional menu – instead they cook ‘free-form’ based on what comes in that day – with many dishes feature intriguing ingredients. The result is a truly magnificent dining experience.”
For the first time in 2011 and as announced previously, Anne-Sophie Pic (Maison Pic, France) was named as the inaugural Veuve Clicquot World’s Best Female Chef. Acknowledging this award, Anne-Sophie Pic said “I am so honoured to have received this acknowledgement and to be in such talented company.” Also shortlisted for the award were Elena Arzak (Arzak, Spain) and Nadia Santini (Dal Pescatore, Italy).
The S.Pellegrino list of the World’s 50 Best Restaurants, organised by Restaurant magazine, is an annual snapshot of the opinions and experiences of over 800 international restaurant industry experts. There is no pre-determined check-list of criteria and the results are a simple computation of votes. Voters must have visited the restaurants they vote for in the previous 18 months and have to vote for restaurants both within and outside of their region.
Sponsored by S.Pellegrino, the worldwide famous sparkling mineral water representing Italian style all over the world, this year’s awards took place at London’s Guildhall and were attended by the majority of the World’s 50 Best Restaurants.