Last year, the World’s 50 Best Restaurants list seemingly decided that it wanted to do better. Through a September statement from director Hélène Pietrini, the international restaurant-ranking organization announced that it would have a 50/50 gender balance on its voting academy and would urge those voters to “explore a diverse mix of restaurants.” Now they’re putting another measure in place to ensure that last part happens: As of 2019, no restaurant that has earned the title of best restaurant in the world will be eligible for voting.
The World’s 50 Best Restaurants announced today that former no. 1 winners will make up a group they’re calling the “Best of the Best.” Not only will the restaurants in this category no longer be able to earn the title of best restaurant in the world, they won’t be eligible for placement on the annual list of 50 restaurants at all.
Since the list debuted in 2002, just seven restaurants have held the number one spot, and most of these restaurants were no. 1 for more than one year. René Redzepi’s Noma was the best restaurant in the world on four occasions, and Spanish restaurant elBulli, the list’s first winner, was no. 1 five different years. In fact, the entire top five tends to includes the same names year after year. The change would force voters to consider other, newer restaurants (a restaurant doesn’t need to be open for any length of time to be eligible). And maybe, just maybe, voters will have to take a look at restaurants that don’t fit into the usual World’s 50 Best Restaurants rubric of expensive, European-leaning tasting menu venues.
But old habits die hard, and given the list’s historic fine dining favoritism, it’s likely that the no. 1 restaurant in 2019 will be one that’s been inching its way forward over the past few years. Judging from the 2018 list, Mauro Colagreco’s Mirazur, in Menton, France, or Gaggan Anand’s Bangkok tasting menu restaurant Gaggan are next in line for first place — they’re the only two restaurants in that top five that have never been no. 1. However, it’s worth noting that it’s only the original Noma that’s precluded from ever appearing on the list again, meaning that awards goldenchef Redzepi could once again appear on the World’s 50 Best Restaurants stage for Noma’s latest incarnation. Stay tuned.
• The Voting System [World’s 50 Best Restaurants]
• The World’s 50 Best List Will at Least Try to Include Women in 2019 [E]
• The World’s 50 Best Restaurants 2018: The Full List of Winners [E]