Top chefs from around the world – including Australia – are expected to hit London over the next few days for Monday’s prestigious S. Pellegrino World’s 50 Best Restaurants awards.
Top restaurants to take out No.1 spot in the awards over the years are El Bulli (five times); US restaurant The French Laundry (2); Copenhagen’s Noma (1); and Heston Blumenthal’s UK restaurant The Fat Duck (1).
Australian restaurants that have been included in the top 50 list in the past include Tetsuya Wakuda’s (left) restaurant Tetsuya; Neil Perry’s (right) Rockpool in Sydney’s The Rocks; and Quay, home of executive chef Peter Gilmore’s (below) beloved Guava and Custard Apple Snow Egg, which featured on MasterChef.
The Lifetime Achievement and the inaugural World’s Best Female Chef awards will be the most eagerly anticipated announcements from the annual list, according to S. Pellegrino.
“The Spanish chef is the third generation of his family to have occupied the site of restaurant Arzak in San Sebastian since 1897,” S. Pellegrino said.
“Since taking over the restaurant in 1966, he has received continuous praise for having turned Arzak into a point of reference in both national and international gastronomy.
“Of those who champion their particular countries of birth on the plate, Juan Mari Arzak ranks as a pioneer.
“Arzak is a stalwart champion not just of his city but, indeed, of Basque cuisine as a whole. His efforts to promote the culinary legacy of the Basque region eventually led to what many now refer to as ‘New Basque Cuisine’.”
Juan Mari Arzak had joined a prestigious group of chefs, with past winners of the S. Pellegrino award including Joel Robuchon, Gualtiero Marchesi, Paul Bocuse and Alice Waters.
Arzak had remained a family affair with Juan Mari working with his daughter Elena, who is a finalist in the World’s Best Female Chef Award.
The world’s top female chef, Ann-Sophie Pic from French restaurant Maison Pic, was chosen from a shortlist including Nadia Santini of Dal Pescatore in Italy and Elena Arzak.
“Having taken over from her distinguished father and grandfather in the kitchen, and at just 41 years old, she is one of the most distinguished chefs in France today.”
The mother of one studied in the US and Japan before returning to Valence to devote herself to the family restaurant.
“The only woman in France to have obtained three Michelin stars, Anne-Sophie Pic will celebrate this year 120 years of her family’s cooking dynasty,” Maison Pic said.
“Starting with Sophie, her great-grandmother, then Andre and his son Jacques, they have never stopped putting on the table the refined excellence and warmth that characterise this establishment.”
William Drew, the editor of Restaurant magazine, which organises the S. Pellegrino awards, said Arzak and Pic were two of the world’s greatest chefs.
“Both awards . . . recognise those who have reached the top in what must be one of the world’s toughest trades,” Drew said.
Nearly 840 voters make up the World’s 50 Best Restaurants Academy, which is divided into 27 regions, each with a panel of 31 of the most renowned food critics, journalists, chefs and restaurateurs.
Each panel is headed by an influential and highly experienced chairperson, who then votes in the Lifetime Achievement Award.
Rene Redzepi, from Denmark’s Noma restaurant, was voted the world’s best restaurant in 2010, taking the top spot from Ferran Adria’s El Bulli restaurant in Spain, which has been among the top three since the awards started in 2002.
El Bulli will close on July 30 and Adria is not expected to attend this year’s awards ceremony.
Adria, one of the world’s most celebrated chefs, said he would close his restaurant for at least two years and might hang up his chef’s hat permanently.
“It is tremendously stressful working 15 hours a day while still being creative,” he said at the time.
The West Australian 15th April