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In a lavish ceremony in Bilbao, Spain, chefs from all over the world gathered to find out who’s restaurant has been named the best in the world by the World’s 50 Best organization.
Italy’s Osteria Francescana, helmed by chef Massimo Bottura, took home the prestigious award, replacing Daniel Humm’s Eleven Madison Park. Known for his artful and imaginative take on traditional Italian dishes, Bottura has made regular appearances at the top of this list, taking home the title of “World’s Best Restaurant” in 2016.
Those that made up the top tier are all regulars on the list, with Joan Roca’s El Celler de Can Roca—a two-time winner of the “World’s Best Restaurant” award—at number two, Mauro Colagreco’s Mirazur at number three, Eleven Madison Park at number four, and Gaggan, co-owned by Gaggan Anand and Rydo Anton, at number five. Eleven Madison Park closed for renovations for a number of months in 2017, contributing to the restaurant’s lower placement.
According to organizers, results are compiled by an independent panel of 1,000 judges that vote on the most innovative and creative chefs across the globe.
However, the ceremony isn’t without its controversy. Since its inception in 2002, the World’s 50 Best organization has come under fire for their male-dominated focus, lacking representation of female chefs and those of color. This year, five women chefs (and co-chefs) made the list, including Central’s Pia León (co-owned with her husband, Virgilio Martinez), Elena Arzak at Arzak (with Juan Mari Arzak), Ana Ros at Hiša Franko, Daniela Soto-Innes at Cosme (with Enrique Olvera), and Pim Techamuanvivit at Nahm.
In an attempt to address this issue, the organization also gives out an award to the “World’s Best Female Chef”—a designation that itself has been met with protest. This year, Clare Smyth of London’s Core restaurant took home the award. During her acceptance speech at the event, Smyth took time to address the controversy while also highlighting the overall lack of diversity in the industry.
"I'm constantly being asked why we have a lack of female chefs, why we don't see more women represented at the top level ... and why don't we have more diversity," she said. "I don't have the answers."
She continued, “we must make it a more pleasant working environment; we must make a conscious effort to remove gender barriers."
The event closed out with recognition of celebrated chefs who passed the preceding year, including Italian chef Gualtiero Marchesi, Paul Bocuse—known as the “Pope of gastronomes”—and celebrity chef and CNN host, Anthony Bourdain.
The full list of the World’s 50 Best Restaurants is below:
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)