This yearâs Asiaâs 50 Best Restaurants will be an online awards ceremony
The winners of the 2019 Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants, held in Macau: This year, due to the ongoing spread of the coronavirus, it will switch to an online ceremony.
Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants
This year’s Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants will be an online awards ceremony
IN BETWEEN DEADLINES - Cheryl Tiu (The Philippine Star) - March 5, 2020 - 12:00am

Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants — the annual celebration of gastronomy around the region, often compared to the Oscars of Food and Wine — was scheduled to take place on the island of Kyushu in Japan this month.

But this year, it has switched to an online ceremony. This decision was made by the 50 Best organizers and host destination Saga Prefecture in light of the ongoing spread of the coronavirus (Covid-19), which has led to restricted travel policies across parts of Asia, in response to the Japanese government’s advice to limit large-scale events.

Instead, on March 24, a live “virtual” awards ceremony will be held, to ensure the health and safety of all guests. “This is an extremely difficult decision for us, as we very much wanted to support the restaurant industry across Asia, which has suffered from the side-effects of the coronavirus situation in recent weeks,” said Charles Reed, CEO of William Reed, the company behind 50 Best. “However, it has become clear that, despite our best endeavors, it would not be responsible to stage our events as planned. However, we remain committed to announcing the new list of Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants on March 24. We will continue working to support and promote great restaurants and great chefs in Asia, as we have done since the launch of Asia’s 50 Best in 2013.”

Most everyone in the community was saddened by the news but totally respect and understand the decision. I have attended the ceremony every year — from Singapore to Bangkok to Macau — and, apart from celebrating the best of the region, as voted by the 318 members of the Academy, it’s also that time of the year when all of us in the food world get together to catch up, share meals and drinks, and explore the host city together. This is the first year it’s not happening.

I’ve been in North America since before the virus broke out and have been watching the effects of Covid-19 on the Southeast Asian landscape from a distance. And while the Philippines remains relatively unscathed, friends in Hong Kong and Singapore have been telling me that there’s been a significant drop in the restaurant and hospitality industries. I’ve heard that a couple of fine-dining restaurants in Hong Kong are primed to close for this reason.

Last year, the well-loved Toyo Eatery led by husband-and-wife Jordy and May Navarra was the sole Philippine restaurant on the list, entering at No. 43. It was named the Best Restaurant in the Philippines for 2019. The questions on Filipinos’ minds are: Will they remain on the list? Will they go up the charts? Will there be another Philippine restaurant on the list?

No doubt we will all be tuned in to the “premium-level streamed awards ceremony, which chefs and restaurateurs, media, partners and other food-lovers will be able to experience simultaneously online.”

Full details will be announced on the World’s 50 Best Restaurants at  www.theworlds50best.com/asia soon.

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You can reach the author at cheryl@cheryltiu.com, on her blog www.cheryltiu.com, on Twitter at www.twitter.com/cheryltiu or on Instagram at www.instagram.com/chertiu.

50 BEST ORGANIZERS SAGA
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