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Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Restaurant magazine announces the list of The S.Pellegrino World's 50 Best Restaurants 2009

Ferran Adrià holds on to number one spot whilst witnessing a host of young talent racing up the list

For the fourth year in a row Ferran Adrià has topped a worldwide poll of 806 chefs, critics and other industry experts, whilst Heston Blumenthal’s The Fat Duck retains second place. Below these perennial favourites however it’s all change in the eighth annual listing of the S.Pellegrino World’s 50 Best Restaurants.

Copenhagen’s Noma restaurant with its youthful head chef Rene Redzepi ranks third, making an exciting addition to the world’s greatest chefs trinity. Noma, which rises 7 places, also takes this year’s Chef’s Choice Award. Last month after all of the votes had been counted and the top 50 restaurants established, the head chefs of these extraordinary establishments were asked to nominate the restaurant which they considered to be the best in the world. It is the ultimate honour Redzepi’s peers can bestow.

Last year’s Chef’s Choice, Mugaritz, retains it’s highest ever position at number 4, whilst another Spanish restaurant, El Celler de Can Roca, rises a staggering 21 places to the fifth place making it 2009’s highest climber. With the eponymous restaurant Arzak in the 8th position, Spain can claim more restaurants at the very top echelons of the list than any other country.

Thomas Keller’s New York restaurant Per Se strikes the 6th position and with The French Laundry also well placed on the list, this year, Keller is the only restaurateur with two restaurants in the top 50. Perhaps it’s his eagle eye trained on the live video streamed from the kitchen on the east coast to the kitchen in the west that enables such unparalleled excellence to be maintained.

Family business, Bras, headed by chef Michel Bras is the highest placed French restaurant at 7. France’s culinary heritage and mastery continues to draw in a wealth of admirers from across the globe as it ties with the USA to score the highest number of restaurants on the list, each has 8 establishments in the top 50.

A young star, who refused to let a life threatening illness stall his progress, continues to rise through the ranks. Grant Achatz of Alinea who was the highest new entry in 2007 rose 15 places in 2008 and this year rises a further 11 places to join the top 10.

The highest new entry swoops in from Italy settling at position 13. At Osteria Francescana chef Massimo Bottura introduces Italy’s old guard to Spain’s new wave by taking traditional Italian flavours and boldly toying with them. Meanwhile last year’s highest new entry Vendôme with Joachim Wissler at its helm keeps the momentum going by rising a very respectable 9 places to 25th position.

2009 sees more new talent making its mark on the list than in previous years. Such rising stars, all of which are new entries, include Steirereck of Austria (30), New York’s Momofuku Ssam Bar (31), Mirazur in the South of France (35), Iggy’s in Singapore (45) and Quay in Australia (46).

The growing influence of Japanese chefs on the global restaurant scene has also been recognised by the voters in the Nespresso Worlds 50 Best Restaurants Academy. Les Créations de Narisawa in Tokyo is a new entry at 20.

Restaurant Mathias Dahlgren which opened less than two years ago, has won a clutch of awards for its interior design however the “natural cuisine” served by this renowned Swedish chef resonates just as powerfully with critics and fellow chefs the world over. Already it has gathered enough admirers to find itself awarded a position on the S.Pellegrino World’s 50 Best Restaurants list (50th).

The final new entry, charting at 40, are the rock star chefs from Paris, Le Chateaubriand. Undoubtedly, the coolest of chefs in France, Inaki Aizpitarte and his team were accurately tipped for the top last year when they were awarded “Breakthrough Restaurant” of the Year.

The restaurant tipped to breakthrough into the top 50 in 2010 is Marcus Wareing at The Berkeley. The newly “released” Marcus Wareing has impressed the world with his skill as a restaurateur as well as a chef. He so narrowly missed charting in the top 50 that Restaurant magazine are confident that out of all of the new restaurants ranking 51 - 100, his is the one guaranteed to breakthrough on to the list next year.

One of only two new restaurants to chart in 2008, the “primitive cooking” of former fire fighter Victor Arguinzoniz sees Asador Etxebarri in Spain continuing to impress chefs and critics alike. In complete contrast to the high tech gadget loving maestros that dominate the top of the chart, this self-taught chef has elevated cooking over an open flame to new heights.

The Acqua Panna Best Continental Awards are bestowed upon the highest-ranking restaurant in Europe, Asia, The Middle East and Africa, The Americas, and Australasia. This year those awards went to El Bulli (Europe), Les Créations de Narisawa (Asia), Per Se (The Americas), Tetsuya’s (Australasia) and Le Quartier Français (The Middle East and Africa).

Compassionate food lovers across the globe can secure a reservation at many of the restaurants on the list by biding on e-Bay for a meal, with all proceeds going to humanitarian organisation Action Against Hunger, official charity partner of the 2009 awards. Bidding begins 21st April. myworld.ebay.co.uk/actionagainsthungeruk

A restaurant’s ranking on the S.Pellegrino World’s 50 Best Restaurants list is decided purely on the votes of a large panel of well respected international judges collectively called the Nespresso World’s 50 Best Restaurants Academy. The Academy comprises of 806 chefs, restaurateurs, food writers and restaurant critics, a third of whom did not vote in the previous year.

Announced a week prior to the event the Lifetime Achievement award went to Joël Robuchon.


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