Restaurant awards season continues apace, with the World’s 50 Best Restaurants ceremony taking place tomorrow.
When it comes to the No. 1 slot, the biggest question is who will fill the void left by a new regulation that stipulates previous winners are no longer eligible for the list at all. In theory this rule only impacts seven restaurants, but practically speaking, we’re talking about five: elBulli is closed and Noma closed and then reopened in a new location, thus wiping itself clean off its four previous wins in the eyes of the organization. And with Noma 2.0 in the mix, having spent the past year and a half earning rave reviews for its seasonally rotating menu, it’s hard to imagine René Redzepi’s restaurant not clinching the No. 1 spot again. But anything is possible, so the other most likely list-toppers are restaurants that have placed high on the list the past few years: Mauro Colagreco’s Mirazur in Menton, France; Gaggan Anand’s Gaggan in Bangkok; or Virgilio Martinez and Pia Leon’s Central in Lima.
The question of who will take the top spot has an added intrigue this year, following new reporting from Lisa Abend in Time revealing that the rule change, touted by the organization earlier this year as a diversity initiative, was in part due to pressure from previous winners who felt earning the top spot set them up for reputation damage when they inevitably fell down the list. The cynicism of passing off chef-coddling change as a step towards making a more inclusive last is especially galling considering just how far from diverse the list truly is.
Along with disqualifying previous No. 1 restaurants that have not relocated, the organization also pledged to gender-balance its voting academy. But so far there’s no indication that there will be more women included on the list. Last week, the organization released its “back 50,” or the restaurants that rank from 51 to 100. This being the 120th anniversary of the list’s namesake sponsor San Pellegrino, the organization extended its long list to 120 restaurants. Despite the fact that only six restaurants on that list have women at the helm in their kitchens, the organization celebrated the long list as “female forward” in a press release. Notably present on the long list: London restaurant Core by Clare Smyth, whose eponymous chef’s was last year’s Best Female Chef. Notably absent from the long list: 2016’s Best Female Chef Dominique Crenn, who was shut out from the list entirely last year, and may well be again this year. If six chefs out of 70 represent a female-forward long list, I wonder how many women will even make the short list.
Some long-time entries have fallen off the short list this year, too: Alex Atala’s D.O.M. in Sao Paulo has fallen from 30 to 54; the Ledbury in London has fallen from 42 to 64; Nihonryori RyuGin in Tokyo from 41 to 62.
Now, onto logistics:
When and where will the World’s 50 Best Restaurants be announced?
The 2018 World’s 50 Best Restaurants will be revealed in an awards ceremony in Singapore on June 25. The event will kick off at 8:45 p.m. local time, with the livestream coming in at 9:30 p.m..
Start times around the world:
9:45 p.m. if you are in Tokyo
1:45 p.m. if you are in London
8:45 a.m. if you are in New York City
7:45 a.m. if you are in Chicago
5:45 a.m. if you are in Los Angeles (like I am, RIP me)
Where’s the livestream?
The organization usually livetweets, too.