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Why We Continue to Cover the World’s 50 Best Restaurants List

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“If someone releases a listicle and no one in the media covers it, does it even exist?”

artichoke and tuna
Artichoke and tuna (skewered on a tuna bone) with cucumber gelee at Eleven Madison Park
Bill Addison

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How do you cover something you personally think shouldn’t exist? That's the question we face with the World's 50 Best Restaurants list, which debuted in Australia on Wednesday. The list itself is elitist, sexist, and Eurocentric, mostly because its formulation is inherently flawed.

Anonymous, unpaid judges from around the world are asked to choose 10 restaurants to put on the list. Doesn't matter how they got to the restaurant (junket?), whether or not they paid for their meals, or whether or not they tried to dine outside the influence of the powerful restaurant PR network. Judges are not encouraged to diversify their choices (e.g., by cuisine, genre, price, or location), and the people who control the list do not attempt to correct for biases. That way, they can just point to the votes — “this is what was chosen, not our fault” — and ignore the money, the influence, and the gamesmanship that actually control where judges are dining (and thus who they are voting for).

But you probably know all this. And you also know that our covering it aggressively every year — we had reporters up at 3 a.m. PDT and 6 a.m. EDT just so we could be the first to publish — adds to the legitimacy of the list. If someone releases a listicle and no one in the media covers it, does it even exist?

My justification: Our audience wants to know the contents of the list. I want to know. Diners, restaurateurs, chefs, food world hangers-on — they are curious, regardless of their opinion of the list and how it’s made. They want to debate the choices, congratulate their friends, discuss the pitfalls. I would just end up clicking on someone else’s coverage. That justification may not jive with everyone, but that’s the way I see it.

To me, the best thing we can do is show our audience the list, but offer all of the necessary context and caveats: Here is a controversial-but-influential thing, and here's why we believe it to be flawed. (That said, I may have to enact a coverage ban on all things Gelinaz.)

Star Provisions and Bacchanalia
Star Provisions and Bacchanalia
Ryan Fleisher/Eater Atlanta

Opening of the Week: Star Provisions and Bacchanalia

Who is behind this place?: Anne Quatrano, one of the biggest-name chefs in Atlanta, and her partner and husband Clifford Harrison.

What is it?: This is the new 8,717-square-foot location for high-end restaurant Bacchanalia and the attached lunch counter and market Star Provisions. It’s a beauty — wide open, with large windows to let in natural light.

Where is it?: Westside Provisions District, Atlanta.

When did it open?: Wednesday, April 5.

Why should I care?: Quantrano is a big deal, and this restaurant duo is a beloved staple, but was very much in need of a revamp. Plus, it’s pretty.

tuna toast
Tuna toast at Wildair in New York
Bill Addison

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