Italy’s Osteria Francescana is the World’s Best Restaurant for 2016
IN BETWEEN DEADLINES - Cheryl Tiu (The Philippine Star) - June 16, 2016 - 12:00am

NEW YORK — For the first time, the World’s 50 Best Restaurants awards ceremony was held outside the British capital. On June 13, Cipriani Wall Street was teeming with chefs, journalists and gastronomes for the awards ceremony, organized by William Reed Business Media.

Osteria Francescana from Modena, Italy, was proclaimed the No. 1 restaurant in the world this year, a jump up from No. 2 last year. Chef-owner Massimo Bottura is renowned for his twists on traditional Italian culinary ingredients — his Five Ages of Parmigiano Reggiano sees the region’s cheese served in forms and textures. His menu also includes classics like tagliatelle with hand-chopped ragu and risotto cooked with veal jus. His dishes balance the demands of honoring heritage while embracing modernity.

El Celler de Can Roca (Girona, Spain) took the No. 2 spot this year; Eleven Madison Park (New York, USA) climbed to No. 3. Central (Lima, Peru) retained its No. 4 spot. Noma (Copenhagen, Denmark) dropped to No. 5.

Six restaurants from Asia feature on the list this year. Narisawa in Tokyo remains within the top 10 at No.8. Amber in Hong Kong (No.20) and Restaurant André in Singapore (No.32) are both high-risers, climbing 18 and 14 places respectively. Thailand’s Gaggan sits at No.23 this year with fellow Bangkok restaurant Nahm at No.37. Another Tokyo restaurant, Nihonryori RyuGin, makes the list at No.31. Shanghai’s Ultraviolet by Paul Pairet sits at No.42.

It was also announced that next year’s World’s 50 Best Restaurants Awards will be held in Melbourne, Australia, in partnership with Tourism Australia.

Korea In New York City

The days leading up to the awards ceremony saw several exciting events. KoreaNYC was an initiative by Korean fine-dining magazine La Main to promote Korean cuisine on the world stage. There were two six-hands dinners, at Blanca alongside chef-patron Carlo Mirarchi and at Blue Hill alongside chef-patron Dan Barber. The culminating gala dinner was at Jungsik in Tribeca, where host chef Jungsik Yim cooked alongside top Seoul-based chefs Mingoo Kang (Mingles), Hyunseok-Choi (Elbon), Tony Yoo (24 Seasons), Jinmo Jang (A&ND Dining) —making that a 10-hands dinner.

How were these chefs selected? According to La Main editor in chief Jang Eun Sil, “The leaders of the new Korean food movement are chefs Jungsik and Mingoo (both their restaurants are part of the Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants list). Tony Yoo does traditional Korean cuisine. And with Jingmo and Choi, we wanted to show how Korean food can be transformed into the avant-garde. It was a showcase of the diversity, the variety and of traditional and modern Korean cuisine.”

‘Chef’s Table’ And Netflix

The day before the awards ceremony, the “#50BestTalks: The Tastemaker” was held at the International Culinary Center, where chefs  Dominique Crenn (also this year’s World’s Best Female Chef), Andre Chiang, Mingoo Kang and Yannick Alleno were speakers. There was a special screening of the Gaggan Anand episode from Netflix’s critically acclaimed Chef’s Table series, where director and producer David Gelb (also the man behind Jiro Dreams of Sushi) and Anand were present for a Q&A session. The moving story of Anand’s hardships in his hometown of Kolkata was interspersed with his successes as Asia’s No. 1 restaurant.

“We shoot pretty intensive like a feature film,” shared Gelb. “We do at least two or three interviews early on; the first one we just talk about whatever they want; the second is more targeted.” This particular episode took 10 days to make, a split between Thailand and India.

“It’s a story of my life in 45 minutes,” said Anand. “I’ll show it to my daughter (Tara). It’s the best gift of my life.” He adds, “It’s not about me, but it’s a story on Indian struggle in any industry and it’s a story about the struggle and the passion to survive.”               





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