A big congratulations to all winners!
Follow Me Foodie to The World’s 50 Best Restaurants in London!
The (do not) tell all recap of the pre-party, winners, behind the scenes & epic after party…
Gah! I can barely contain myself and it already happened! Definitely a highlight in my Follow Me Foodie journey, and to be honest, I’m actually jealous of myself right now. I know, it sounds ridiculous, but it was one of those “do before you die” moments.
Last year I watched S.Pellegrino’s The World’s 50 Best Restaurants online. I streamed it live rooting for my favourite restaurants and chefs from my home in Vancouver, and this year I finally lived the dream of attending it. Sick. Totally and utterly sick.
The World’s 50 Best Restaurants was on April 28th at Guildhall in London and it is more or less the culinary Oscars. The results have already been published so no point reiterating them here, but I’ll share all the juicy bits and details I know you’re really interested in… no, I’m kidding. I don’t want to get blacklisted, but a little sneak peek is always fun.
And so it begins…
Once upon a time, in a land far, far away, one of the most significant awards for the fine dining industry happened. I guess in London events like this happen more regularly and I was surprised there wasn’t a mob of people and fans in the courtyard. It’s an open and public space and you can see all the renowned chefs check-in and register at the “red carpet” entrance.
The ever-so-classy chef-owner Éric Ripert (left) of Le Bernardin in New York (No. 21 on this year’s World’s Best 50) and also my top priority next time in New York. Chef-owner Daniel Humm (top right) of Eleven Madison Park in New York (No. 4 on this year’s World’s Best 50), the highest ranked American restaurant on the list, and chef-owner Grant Achatz (bottom right) of Alinea (No. 9 on this year’s World’s Best 50), which is still one of my top 5 fine dining experiences to date.
With chef-owner Brett Graham (top left) of The Ledbury (No. 10 on The World’s 50 Best Restaurants), chef-owner Gastón Acurio (top right) of Astrid y Gastón (No. 1 on Latin America’s The World’s 50 Best Restaurants and no. 18 on The World’s 50 Best Restaurants), and the culinary godfather who needs no introduction, but must get one: Thomas Keller (bottom right).
A warm congratulations to the humble chef-owner, Virgilio Martinez, of Central Restaurante in Lima, Peru for winning the “Highest Climber” award. Last year he slipped in at No. 50 and this year he rose to No. 15. I had the pleasure of meeting him and trying his food at the 2nd Annual First Harvest dinner at The Willows Inn on Lummi Island last year.
No. 2 this year was El Celler de Can Roca, who was No. 1 last year.
Chef and owner René Redzepi of Noma who regained his position as The World’s Best Restaurant. He has had three consecutive wins in 2010, 2011 and 2012, dropped to No. 2 last year and took it home again this year. He dedicated the award to his staff and chefs who helped make it happen.
Major Award Winners:
René Redzepi celebrates Noma’s return to the No.1 spot
Jordi Roca of El Celler de Can Roca is World’s Best Pastry Chef, sponsored by Cacao Barry®
Central in Lima is Highest Climber, sponsored by Lavazza
D.O.M.’s Alex Atala wins Chefs’ Choice Award, sponsored by Gaggenau
Gaggan in Bangkok named Highest New Entry, sponsored by LesConcierges
San Francisco’s Saison scoops One To Watch, sponsored by Dekton® by Cosentino
Azurmendi, near Bilbao, takes the Sustainable Restaurant Award, sponsored by Zacapa
Yup… it was kind of crazy walking down the chefs reserved seating area.
The post-awards food and drink reception in The Crypt of Guildhall. Some of the dishes included a crispy polenta crusted deep fried gnocchi with wild mushrooms and cream sauce, croquettes with white beans and tomato sauce, and a chicken pad-thai. Drinks were S.Pellegrino & Acqua Panna of course, wine and champagne sponsor Veuve Clicquot.
The After Party
It was my first time attending the awards, but the after party was hosted at The Clove Club last year as well. It was on my dining itinerary for London, but I unfortunately ran out of time. I’d definitely make it happen next time.
The Clove Club munchies: House made sausage with mustard, signature Buttermilk Fried Chicken & Pine Salt, and an unassuming and sinfully delicious ham and cheese bun. The cheese was an ultra rich and creamy cheddar cheese sauce and the ham was super fatty and fantastic jamon… dear god.
I would put The Clove Club’s signature Buttermilk Fried Chicken & Pine Salt on my top 10 favourite things I tried in Follow Me Foodie to London. Chef was kind enough to share the recipe. The boneless chunks of dark meat chicken are marinated in buttermilk for 24 hours.
The batter is made from 2 parts polenta to 1 part tapioca starch and the chicken is fried for 2.5 minutes or until fully cooked.
To finish, they are sprinkled with pine salt. Simple, brilliant and addicting.
My favourite moment of the night… definitely having chef-owner Massimo Bottura of Osteria Francescana in Italy (No. 3 on this year’s World’s Best 50 Restaurants) make midnight pasta, which apparently happened last year as well. Look at that Italian passion when he cooks!
He was one of the most down-to-earth, fun and friendly chefs I’ve met. Someone told me No. 3 was the best position because it’s not No. 2 (which kind of sucks) and it’s not No. 1 (where you get slammed with reservations, lots of hype, and have nowhere to go but down)… and I actually kind of agree.
He was cooking spontaneously with whatever was on hand. He was giving directions, teaching, explaining, cooking, serving and getting his hands dirty.
The result was Pasta with Pancetta and Pecorino. I don’t know if it was the context or what, but I loved it, although chef Bottura thought he added too much Pecorino. He told me he was going to be in Vancouver later this year as well, so stay tuned for details! Whatever it is, I’m hoping to go!
The memories were enough of a “souvenir”, but I also got this sweet gift at Cacao Barry‘s World’s Best Pastry Chef reception at The Ritz. It is a Limited Edition bar of Cacao Barry‘s nearly ready to launch Tocantins chocolate signed by World Best Pastry Chef winner, Jordi Roca of El Celler de Can Roca (No. 2 at The World’s Best 50 Restaurants this year).