I’ve been obsessed with the World’s 50 Best Restaurants List for years now but never thought I would actually get the chance to attend the awards ceremony. The stars aligned though with Melbourne hosting the ceremony this year (only the second time it’s been outside London) and the lovely people at Aspire Lifestyles getting me a media ticket.
I’ve written about the problems with a list of the World’s 50 Best restaurants on here before but for a spectacle alone it was hard to resist. The ceremony was held at the Royal Exhibition Buildings which sparkled with purple lights around a long red carpet. Waiters hovered with Ferrari champagne and the canapés included caviar from Calia. All conversations were conducted with half an eye over one shoulder looking for the rock stars of this awards ceremony, the top 50 chefs (handily kitted out by Aspire in red scarves for identification purposes).
The awards ceremony itself was as swift as a count down ceremony can be (take note the Oscars, the Logies and the Brownlow). Chefs just stood up from their seats to receive their round of applause and speeches were limited to award winners rather than the entire top 50. Highlights included the down to earth speech by the World’s Best Female Chef, Ana Ros, and the winners plea “don’t trash our restaurant without us!”. The most random moment was Heston Blumenthal’s speech accepting the lifetime achievement award where he touched on the origins of the human species amongst other things. It was along the lines of his Project appearance.
The home town crowd provided a big round of applause for Brae making the top 50 for the first time at number 44 while Attica moved up again to 32. The Aussie contingent is likely to soar even higher next year now even more of the World’s 50 Best Restaurant chairs have had a chance to eat there. The big winners though were the lovely Daniel Humm and William Guidara of Eleven Madison Park who were ranked as number one. I was lucky enough to get to interview Humm for work early in the week and he was a very thoughtful and down to earth guy. Now that Eleven Madison Park has topped the list my chances of getting a booking at Humm’s restaurant are now officially zero.
All the chefs grouped together on stage and then it was party time with more champagne, Australian wines and gin from the Melbourne Gin company. Chef Neil Perry led his Rockpool team in shucking oysters, searing lobster and grilling sides of Blackmore Wagyu beef. The food was amazing but weirdly there were not really any plates, forks, skewers or other eating devices so most guests were hoovering down hunks of meat and seafood with their fingers. The international chefs probably now think it’s how we roll in Oz!
For a few hours Melbourne was at the culinary centre of the world. For food tragics like me it was a pinch me moment.
Here’s the full list with links to the restaurants I’ve reviewed:
1. Eleven Madison Park, New York, US
2. Osteria Francescana, Modena, Italy
3. El Celler de Can Roca, Girona, Spain
4. Mirazur, Menton, France
5. Central, Lima, Peru
6. Asador Etxebarri, Axpe, Spain
7. Gaggan, Bangkok, Thailand
8. Maido, Lima, Peru
9. Mugaritz Errenteria, Spain
10. Steirereck Vienna, Austria
11. Blue Hill at Stone Barns, Pocantico Hills, US
12. L’Arpege, Paris, France
13. Alain Ducasse au Plaza Athenee, Paris, France
15. Piazza Duomo, Alba, Italy
16. D.O.M., Sao Paulo, Brazil
17. Le Bernardin, New York City, US
18. Narisawa, Tokyo, Japan
19. Geranium, Copenhagen, Denmark
20. Pujol, Mexico City, Mexico
21. Alinea, Chicago, US
22. Quintonil, Mexico City, Mexico
23. White Rabbit, Moscow, Russia
24. Amber, Hong Kong
25. Tickets, Barcelona, Spain
26. The Clove Club, London, UK
28. Nahm, Bangkok, Thailand
29. Le Calandre, Rubano, Italy
30. Arzak, San Sebastian, Spain
31. Alleno Paris au Pavillon Ledoyen, Paris, France*
33. Astrid y Gaston, Lima, Peru
34. De Librije, Zwolle, Netherlands
35. Septime, Paris, France
37. Saison, San Francisco, US
38. Azurmendi, Larrabetzu, Spain
39. Relae, Copenhagen, Denmark
40. Cosme, New York City, US*
41. Ultraviolet by Paul Pairet, Shanghai, China
42. Borago, Santiago, Chile
43. Reale, Castel Di Sangro, Italy*
45. Den, Tokyo, Japan*
46. L’Astrance, Paris, France
47. Vendome, Cologne, Germany
48. Restaurant Tim Raue, Berlin, Germany
49. Tegui, Buenos Aires, Argentina*
50. Hof Van Cleve, Kruishoutem, Belgium
Gourmet Chick was a guest of Aspire Lifestyles.