Is there any victory sweeter than a comeback? One year after his restaurant Noma lost the title of best in the world, chef René Redzepi regained the title tonight at London’s Guildhall, where the World’s 50 Best Restaurants awards were announced.
For weeks leading up to tonight’s ceremony, Redzepi had been trying to ward off a repeat of last year’s disappointment by warning his staff that they weren't going to win. Even as late as lunch today, he was making cryptic comments about what goes up having to come down. Losing in 2013 after three years on top came as a psychological blow to Redzepi and his staff, making Monday's win all the more gratifying.
Held annually since 2002, the World’s 50 Best Restaurants awards are the Oscars of the food world. Run by London-based Restaurant magazine, they have become tremendously influential in their twelve-year history. Part of that influence is financial; last year's winner and this year's number two, Spain’s Celler de Can Roca, received over 121,000 reservations in the past twelve months. But just as important is the way in which the awards are decided.
Over 900 chefs, food writers, and gourmands around the world vote each year, which transforms the 50 Best into a rare form of peer recognition. That may explain why Redezpi’s voice shook so much when, on stage to accept the award, he turned to acknowledge his team. “Guys,” he said, “We did it.”
The top five restaurants were:
1. Noma (Copenhagen, Denmark)
2. El Celler de Can Roca (Girona, Spain)
3. Osteria Francescana (Modena, Italy)
4. Eleven Madison Park (New York City, U.S.)
5. Dinner By Heston Blumenthal (London, U.K.)