My night at the World’s 50 Best Restaurants

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. 

Media scrum as the chefs celebrate

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 room was decorated with produce including this bounty of figs.

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.  

Brae enters the list at number 44.

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.

The Rockpool chefs get Blackmore Wagyu ready

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!

Winners are grinners: The Eleven Madison Park team

For a few hours Melbourne was at the culinary centre of the world. For food tragics like me it was a pinch me moment.

Chef Neil Perry and his Rockpool team carving up lobsters for our eating pleasure

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

14. Restaurant Andre, Singapore

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

27. The Ledbury, London, UK

28. Nahm, Bangkok, Thailand

29. Le Calandre, Rubano, Italy

30. Arzak, San Sebastian, Spain

31. Alleno Paris au Pavillon Ledoyen, Paris, France*

32. Attica, Melbourne, Australia

33. Astrid y Gaston, Lima, Peru

34. De Librije, Zwolle, Netherlands

35. Septime, Paris, France

36. Dinner by Heston Blumenthal, London, UK

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*

44. Brae, Birregurra, Australia*

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

Getting my World’s 50 Best on with Joyce of Mel Hot or Not

Gourmet Chick was a guest of Aspire Lifestyles.   

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