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World’s 50 Best Restaurants 2018 Announced, But Where’s the Diversity?

2016’s winner Massimo Bottura clinches the top spot this year. Meanwhile, only five women made the list

Photo by Alexis Vergnory via https://www.instagram.com/cuisinaddicte/

The World’s 50 Best Restaurants, an annual awards ceremony perhaps best known for its myopic partiality towards European cuisine and its consistent exclusion of women chefs, has announced its 2018 winner. It’s a list that claims to reflect and celebrate “the diversity of the world’s culinary landscape,” but this year’s results seem more like an unapologetically deliberate perversion of that claim, with just five women on the list and a European male chef yet again clinching the top spot. (Since its debut more than a decade ago, no women or non-Caucasian chefs have ever topped the list).

Massimo Bottura’s Osterica Francescana, an Italian restaurant known for its avant-garde offerings, is this year’s number one restaurant. This is the second time in three years Bottura has won the award, having been unseated last year by New York’s Eleven Madison Park.

Coming in at second place is El Celler de Can Roca in Catalonia, while claiming the number three spot is Mirazur in Southern France. Eleven Madison Park landed in fourth.

That these are this year’s top placers do not really come as a revelation—what was particularly noteworthy had more to do with the exclusion of previous awardees, the most notable of which is Rene Redzepi’s Nona 2.0, a four-time top-placer.

Dominique Crenn, winner of the 2016 “Best Female Chef” award and whose restaurant Atelier Crenn debuted at number 83 on last year’s list, was nowhere to be found in both categories. Crenn herself was also—and understandably so—absent from the ceremony, having opted instead to attend a charity event in New York to raise money for women’s health.

The two-Michelin-starred chef is known to have criticized the female chef award, calling it “stupid” and accusing the annual ceremony as sexist for treating women in food as a kind of “sport.”

It’s hard to tell exactly what those merits are, but they’re most certainly welcome in an industry and an awards ceremony whose idea of celebrating diversity means recognizing five women (out of 50 chefs) at a time becoming increasingly defined by a push towards gender equality and at the height of movements like #MeToo.

Another notable exclusion is Clare Smyth, chef and owner of Core and this year’s winner of the “Best Female Chef” award. Unlike Crenn who was outright in her expression of distaste for the controversial award, Smyth gave a slightly more nuanced take on the whole thing, expressing doubt over the award’s very existence but also pointing out that it nevertheless has its merits.

It’s hard to tell exactly what those merits are, but they’re most certainly welcome in an industry and an awards ceremony whose idea of celebrating diversity means recognizing five women (out of 50 chefs) at a time becoming increasingly defined by a push towards gender equality and at the height of movements like #MeToo.

The five women (a welcome improvement from last year’s three?) on the list include Pia León of Central, Elena Arzak of Arzak, Ana Ros of Hiša Franko, Daniela Soto-Innes of Cosme, and Pim Techamuanvivit (Nahm).

It’s worth noting that three of these restaurants are co-owned by male chefs. Yet Mark Durden-Smith, one of the ceremony’s announcers, still found it necessary to make the following remark during the event: “It’s all about girl power tonight.”

The World’s 50 Best organization, the award-giving body responsible for these awards, publishes this year’s consistently non-inclusive list and remains to be largely silent about sexual harassment cases and discriminatory working conditions in the culinary industry.

Here’s The 2018 World’s 50 Best Restaurant List

  1. Osteria Francescana (Modena, Italy)
  2. El Celler de Can Roca (Girona, Spain)
  3. Mirazur (Menton, France)
  4. Eleven Madison Park (New York City)
  5. Gaggan (Bangkok, Thailand)
  6. Central (Lima, Peru)
  7. Maido (Lima, Peru)
  8. L’Arpege (Paris, France)
  9. Mugaritz (Errenteria, Spain)
  10. Asador Etxebarri (Axpe, Spain)
  11. Quintonil (Mexico City, Mexico)
  12. Blue Hill at Stone Barns (Pocantico Hills, New York, USA)
  13. Pujol (Mexico City, Mexico)
  14. Steirereck (Vienna, Austria)
  15. White Rabbit (Moscow, Russia)
  16. Piazza Duomo (Alba, Italy)
  17. Den (Tokyo, Japan)
  18. Disfrutar (Barcelona, Spain)
  19. Geranium (Copenhagen, Denmark)
  20. Attica (Melbourne, Australia)
  21. Alain Ducasse au Plaza Athénée (Paris, France)
  22. Narisawa (Tokyo, Japan)
  23. Le Calandre (Rubano, Italy)
  24. Ultraviolet by Paul Pairet (Shanghai, China)
  25. Cosme (New York City, USA)
  26. Le Bernardin (New York City, USA)
  27. Boragó (Santiago, Chile)
  28. Odette (Singapore)
  29. Alléno Paris au Pavillon Ledoyen (Paris, France)
  30. D.O.M. (São Paulo, Brazil)
  31. Arzak (San Sebastian, Spain)
  32. Tickets (Barcelona, Spain)
  33. The Clove Club (London, UK)
  34. Alinea (Chicago, USA)
  35. Maaemo (Oslo, Norway)
  36. Reale (Castel Di Sangro, Italy)
  37. Restaurant Tim Raue (Berlin, Germany)
  38. Lyle’s (London, UK)
  39. Astrid y Gastón (Lima, Peru)
  40. Septime (Paris, France)
  41. Nihonryori RyuGin (Tokyo, Japan)
  42. The Ledbury (London, UK)
  43. Azurmendi (Larrabetzu, Spain)
  44. Mikla (Istanbul, Turkey)
  45. Dinner by Heston Blumenthal (London, UK)
  46. Saison (San Francisco, USA)
  47. Schloss Schauenstein (Fürstenau, Switzerland)
  48. Hiša Franko (Kobarid, Slovenia)
  49. Nahm (Bangkok, Thailand)
  50. The Test Kitchen (Cape Town, South Africa)

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