Mirazur named the World’s Best Restaurant

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Mauro Colagreco’s restaurant in the south of France beat the “new Noma” to the top spot

The 2019 edition of The World’s 50 Best Restaurants has been unveiled in Singapore. For the first time in the 18 years of the list’s existence, the top spot went to a French restaurant as Mauro Colagreco’s Mirazur took the prize for the World’s Best Restaurant.

For Argentine Colagreco it comes in a spectacular year, which has also seen him awarded three stars by the Michelin Guide.

He came on stage to accept the award carrying a patchwork of flags, representing the four countries that have led him to his success: his home country Argentina, Brazil where his wife comes from, France which welcomed him as a young chef and he said “allowed me to express myself”, and finally Italy, the country of many of his staff.

He said he wanted to acknowledge all the countries that have “opened their doors for me, inspired me, allowed me to discover the women and men and most importantly that cuisine is able to cross all borders,” he said. “Borders, I have never seen them, but I know they exist for some people.”

Mirazur made its debut on the list in 35th place in 2009 and has steadily worked its way to the top in the decade since. William Drew, director of content for The World’s 50 Best Restaurants said it has been brilliant to witness its progress.

“This has been a wonderful, progressive year for the list as a whole, with so many new entries from all corners of the globe,” he said.

New rules

In a much-publicised move The World’s 50 Best has rung the changes for the 2019 edition of the list. To encourage more diversity in the top end of the rankings, it has been decided that previous winners are no longer eligible for the main list, but will instead sit in a separate grouping titled the ‘Best of the Best’.

Noma in Copenhagen, though previously the four-time winner of this award, is again eligible for the main list. Having located to a new site and effectively opened as a new restaurant, it came second on its return to the list, thus clinching the award for the highest new entry.

Spain leads the way with seven entries, three of them in the top 10: Asador Etxebarri (3); Mugaritz (7); and Disfrutar (9). Just outside the top 10, Azurmendi climbed 29 places to take the 14th place, picking up to the Highest Climber Award.

Among the special awards, Best Pastry Chef went to Jessica Préalpato of Alain Ducasse au PlazaAthénée in Paris. The One to Watch prize was awarded to Lido 84 in Italy, while the most sustainable restaurant was Schloss Schauenstein in Switzerland. The Art of Hospitality award for outstanding service went to Den in Tokyo; the Chef’s Choice award was awarded to Alain Passard and Anderson lee received the BBVA Scholarship.

Joy and happiness

Daniela Soto-Innes, chef partner of Cosme in New York City is the 2019 recipient of the much debated Best Female Chef award. Accepting the prize, Soto-Innes explained her motivation to spread happiness in her kitchen. Having grown up in her grandmother’s kitchen she linked joy with cooking, but as she entered the professional kitchens the experience was different. Hospitality, she said, was the least hospitable place to work in.

“I decided that if I ever ran my own kitchen it would be like the kitchens I grew up in – full of joy, happiness and community. The fact I stand here today proves that this is the right way,” she said. “As a Mexican woman leading a diverse team every day and with every meal and every guest we can fight the ignorance and prejudice that tells us our happiness doesn’t matter.”

Creating a better world

The inaugural American Express Icon award went to chef, humanitarian and activist José Andrés who with his World Central Kitchen has brought food to people in need across the world in the last ten years.

Originally from Spain, Andrés who moved to the US as a young man and went on to create a restaurant empire before he embarked on his great humanitarian adventure, said that as an immigrant he felt the need to speak up for the voiceless. “This award is for the women and men that, without being recognised, do their best every day to create a better world,” he said.

“We need to cook for the many, honouring the men and especially the women who every single day in every city across the world feed the world. This award goes out to them.”

Tina Nielsen