The World’s 50 Best Restaurants - what it takes for a chef to make the list

The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 9th May 2017

Earlier today The World’s 50 Best Restaurants announced they would be returning to Europe for the 2018 awards which will take place in the Basque region of Spain, with its flagship ceremony hosted in the city of Bilbao.

The announcement was made at an exclusive Basque brunch hosted at Eneko at One Aldwych in London, on Tuesday, May 9, 2017 attended by award-winning chefs including Elena Arzak, Brett Graham, Isaac McHale and Eneko Atxa. Charles Reed, Group Managing Director of William Reed Business Media, the company that owns The World’s 50 Best Restaurants, was joined at the event by the President of the Government of Biscay, Unai Rementeria Maiz.

The Staff Canteen took a closer look to find out what it takes to make the list, how it has helped chef’s rise to stardom and what it makes of being criticised for being biased and ‘down playing’ French gastronomy.

Brett Graham, The Ledbury
Brett Graham

It’s tricky making the cut in the first place but how does it feel once you’ve made it? Brett Graham is the chef patron of The Ledbury which holds two stars in the Michelin Guide UK. In 2012 The Ledbury was the highest climber on the World’s Best 50 Best Restaurants list and currently sits at no 27.

“The 50 Best has been an amazing event for us in terms of customers and exposure but I’ve also had some amazing experiences through it like the last two years going to New York and then Australia where I got to do things I wouldn’t normally do even if I went to those countries.”

He continued: “It’s a really amazing way of bringing chefs together, it’s developed a community of people celebrating and talking and eating and it’s really nice so I think that’s what I like about it.”

Despite being highly regarded by chefs and restaurateurs alike, the World’s 50 Best hasn’t come without its criticisms. Late in 2015 a new list appeared as if from nowhere, simply called La Liste which charts the very best restaurants from around the globe, much like the World’s 50 Best. La Liste was created by Philippe Faure, a French diplomat in charge of tourism promotion who thought the World’s 50 Best wasn’t giving French gastronomy the recognition is deserved. That year only five French restaurants made the poll with the highest charting French restaurant, Mirazur in Menton just missing out on a place in the top 10. Florian Escudie, a French foreign ministry tourism advisor accused the World’s 50 Best of ‘playing down’ French gastronomy, a remark rebuffed by William Drew, editor of The World’s 50 Best Restaurants who said: "We have no inherent British bias, nor any bias towards any other country – least of all France.”

The World's 50 Best Restaurants

The World's 50

Best Restaurants

Embraced by the gastronomical community, La Liste unveiled its second official offering in December of last year but only time will tell whether it will develop the elite status of other sought after lists such as the Michelin Guide or just be another flash in the pan.

When asked about the claims that the World’s 50 Best down play French restaurants at the 2018 launch event held at Eneko Axta’s Eneko at One Aldwych, William Drew said: “We certainly have more French restaurants on this year’s list than last year which is great, France remains hugely strong gastronomically and continues to influence restaurants around the world.”

Speaking more specifically about La Liste William simply said: “As for La Liste there is room for plenty of other lists, we’re not too worried about that, we’re more interested in what we’re doing.”

>>> Related: Michelin starred chef Guy Savoy tops La Liste 2017 and Gordon Ramsay remains the highest British restaurant to be featured

So what do restaurants have to do to make it an appearance on the prestigious World’s 50 Best list? It’s simple, just look after your customers.

William said: “You have to look after your guests and if you look after them and wow them to give them an experience that out does their expectations then you have a chance at creating a buzz about you and then people will want to come to your restaurant and vote for you.”

This is something echoed by Brett Graham who thinks a lot of the time restaurants try too hard. “I think the most important thing is to look after your customers,” adding, “focus on wat you do, focus on your customers, look after them well and then everything else will just follow.”

The World’s 50 Best Restaurants list is created from the votes of The World’s 50 Best Restaurants Academy, an influential group of over 1,000 international leaders in the restaurant community made up of food writers and critics, chefs, restaurateurs and highly regarded ‘gastronomes’. First established in 2002, the list has become one of the more sought after compilations for chefs and restaurateurs alike, and is highly regarded as one of the best in the world alongside the likes of the Michelin Guide.

>>> Read more about the World's 50 Best Restaurants here

By Michael Parker


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The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 9th May 2017

The World’s 50 Best Restaurants - what it takes for a chef to make the list