British critic Giles Coren weaseled his way out of going to the newly anointed Best Restaurant in the World, El Celler de Can Roca, and wrote about why he didn't want to go in The Times. So why not go to such an acclaimed restaurant? His wife was about to give birth to their child, so that's one reason, but also because "I have been to the Best Restaurant in the World before." What follows is a tirade against the "Fat French No Bull Cellar[s]" of the world, complete with rules. You want to be number one? Here's what you do.
Coren tears into a good number of admittedly common World's 50 Best restaurant tropes, including "unexpected locations," minimalist decor, Japanese tourists taking iPhone photos of each dish, and dishes called things like "'smoke and water,' 'egg painting,' 'forest leaves' and 'swamp thing.'" He rails against the seemingly endless parade of plates:
"By course 32 you can eat no more, you are sweating, pissed and bilious from the insanely expensive "flight" of wines that was pressed upon you at the beginning. Your back aches, you've been here nearly four hours, you dream of bed (which will come only after a 90-minute taxi ride to a gruesome little business hotel on the outskirts of the only airport town for miles), but you haven't even had the mains yet."
He also takes some time to call out journalists "on freebies, which are granted by the house with much apparent faff, but are in fact crucial to the PR bubble that ensures that no normal person can ever get in." Chefs like Martín Berasategui have criticized the World's 50 Best organization in the past for not having a budget, demanding "Show me the receipts from the restaurants they have eaten in."
· Best Restaurant in the World? Be My Guest [The Times]
· All World's 50 Best Coverage on Eater [-E-]
· All Giles Coren Coverage on Eater [-E-]