El Celler de Can Roca in Girona, Spain, with head chef Joan Roca and his brothers, Josep and Jordi, at the helm, took home top honors at the S.Pellegrino World’s 50 Best Restaurants ceremony, known in some circles as the “Oscars of Fine Dining,” knocking out multiple-time winner René Redzepi’s Noma (which came in at No. 3 this year). The Rocas held the top spot in 2013, but were displaced by Noma the following year. The second spot went to Osteria Francescana in Modena, Italy. Fourth and fith places, after Noma, went to Central in Lima, Peru, and New York’s Eleven Madison Park. Daniel Boulud won the Lifetime Achievement award, even though his signature restaurant, Daniel, was knocked out of the top 50 this year, dropping to No. 80 on the list.
Other notables include Thomas Keller’s The French Laundry at No. 50; S.Pellegrino newcomer Blue Hill at Stone Barns, from executive chef Dan Barber, at No. 49; Keller’s Per Se at No. 40; Grant Achatz’s Alinea at No. 26, dropping from the number 9 spot; and Le Bernardin at No. 18. Star Mexican chef Enrique Olvera, whose Cosme has been one of the big New York City restaurant hits of recent months, scored the No. 16 slot for his Pujol in Mexico City. The Chef’s Choice Award went to Daniel Humm at Eleven Madison Park.
Established in 2002, the World’s 50 Best Restaurants list, organized by William Reed Business Media and sponsored by S.Pellegrino and Acqua Panna, is a relative newcomer to the world of culinary accolades (Michelin stars were first awarded to restaurants nearly a century ago), and was first founded by the trade publication Restaurant Magazine. While it is considered by many international culinary professionals to be one of the most influential restaurant rankings, and was described by The New York Times as “the go-to food guide for globe-trotting gastronomes,” there has recently been a spate of criticism of the way the voting is conducted and the fact that female chefs are woefully underrepresented in the rankings.
Since the beginning, the World’s 50 Best Restaurants ceremony has always been held in London (and for many years at Guildhall in the City of London), but next year the awards will move to New York City. This represents a second big recent geographic shift for major culinary awards: This year, Chicago hosted the James Beard awards for the first time.
The World’s 50 Best Restaurants from both the 2014 and 2015 rankings are all participating in a charity auction of exclusive meals at each of these establishments. Funds raised at the auction, which launched this week, will go to Farm Africa, a charity working to end hunger in eastern Africa.
The final list is on the next page.