A Hollywood-style version of the academy awards for restaurants takes place tonight as the world’s top chefs and restaurateurs discover their restaurant ranking in this year’s S. Pellegrino World’s 50 Best 2009 awards in London. A host of other accolades will be awarded including the Lifetime Achievement Award, the Chef’s Choice Award, and Acqua Panna Best Continental Awards. Restaurants from three new countries will be named at the awards this year: Japan, Singapore and Austria.
With over five hundred on the guest list, the Who’s Who in the Foodie world will fly in from around the world to be in attendance. Legendary icons like “Chef of the Century,” Joël Robuchon, (winner of this year’s Lifetime Achievement Award) will share the gala-drenched evening with the likes of New York’s Daniel Boulud, named Chef of the Year by Bon Appetit; Boulud’s restaurant, Daniel, received Gourmet’s Top Table Award, a four-star rating from the New York Times, Wine Spectator’s Grand Award, and New York City’s top ratings for cuisine, service and decor in the Zagat Survey. Ferran Adria, famed head chef of the El Bulli restaurant in Roses on the Costa Brava will attend, coming all the way from Barcelona. Japanese-born Australian chef Tetsuya Wakuda will fly in from Sydney.
The famed British chefs attending will include Heston Blumenthal, chef of The Fat Duck, one of only three restaurants in the UK with three Michelin stars and donned by Restaurant Magazine as “the best place to eat on Earth”. Also attending are Marcus Wareing, head chef of “Marcus Wareing at The Berkeley Hotel” in Knightsbridge, along with Rick Stein, owner of four restaurants, a delicatessen, a patisserie, and a seafood cookery school. Fergus Henderson, whose restaurants were reportedly the unofficial London clubhouse for gatherings of the world’s great chefs, will join in as well.
If you remember, The Fat Duck, known for chef Blumenthal’s wildly creative entrees such snail porridge and bacon-and-egg ice cream, was closed at the end of February for two weeks by environmental health officers after more than 40 people became ill ” some 400 in all complained of the same symptoms. And this weekend, Gordon Ramsay was “criticised after it was revealed he has been serving customers ready meals that are prepared in bulk and transported to several of his London restaurants. He will not be attending the ceremony this year”
First published by Restaurant magazine in 2002, and now in its eighth year, The S. Pellegrino World’s 50 Best Restaurants is recognized around the world, “as the most credible indicator of the best places to eat on Earth. The list is compiled by The Nespresso World’s 50 Best Academy, a group of prominent food writers, critics, publishers and commentators, who each represent a different global region and chair a carefully selected voting panel for that region. This ensures a truly authoritative list and one which is becoming more and more globally representative each year”
“The public,”says Rebecca White, head of marketing at Nestle Waters UK, “looks to the awards as an indicator of dining excellence and as lead sponsor, awareness of S. Pellegrino as the fine dining water peaks around this time thanks to the wealth of publicity the awards generate”
According to website and press release information:
“The S. Pellegrino World’s 50 Best Restaurants list is compiled from the votes of The Nespresso World’s 50 Best Restaurants Academy. We divide the world into regions, with a chairperson in each region appointed for their knowledge of their part of the restaurant world. These chairs each selected a voting panel, who cast a total of 4.030 votes. This year we have fine-tuned the system and added another region taking the total to 26, to ensure The S. Pellegrino World’s 50 Best Restaurants list is as reflective of the world restaurant industry as possible. There is no list of nominees; each member of our international voting panel votes for their personal choice of five restaurants. They may vote for up to two restaurants in their own region, the remaining votes must be cast outside their home region. Nobody is allowed to vote for their own restaurant and voters must have eaten in the restaurants they nominate within the past 18 months”
For three years in the running the top three spots have gone to El Bulli, the Fat Duck and Pierre Gagnaire. Spain’s El Bulli was voted number one in 2008, and is poised to win for a fourth successive year despite the restaurant having operated at a loss for the past nine years. BigHospitality, an industry website, will be reporting the event live and will post the results on their site as soon as they are announced. They’ll also be sending out Tweets from their Twitter account.