Occupy 50 Best is the name of a movement that was launched a few days ago calling for more transparency in the selection of the World’s 50 Best Restaurants.
A few days before the announcement of this year’s top 50 list (it will take place in London on 1 June), the petition has been signed by a number of well known chefs including three Michelin starred Georges Blanc, Thierry Marx two Michelin starred chef of Sur Mesure, Giancarlo Perbellini chef of Casa Perbellini in Italy and Joel Robuchon holder of 25 Michelin stars and chef of the century. Other chefs who have signed the petition include, among others, Pascal Aussignac, Jean-Andre Charial, William Frachot, Nicolas Gautier, Rocco Iannone, Eric Jambon and Patrick Jeffroy. It has also been signed by Will Jansen, editor-in-chief of Boillon Magazine, Guy Job, director of Gourmet TV.
The list of the World’s 50 Best Restaurants has grown in importance over the past years and can make or break a restaurant. Restaurants are known to have had reversals of fortune once they make it to the list.
But it has also been marred by controversy and criticised particularly by many, particularly because some countries like France are seriously under-represented in the list.
The Occupy 50 Best movement was co-created by Marie Eatsider of www.eatsider.com, Hind Meddeb and Zoe Reyners. Eatsider is the creator of a blog. Meddeb is a culture journalist and a social and political documentary film maker while Reyners has had stints at Le Fooding and created her own communication agency.
The petition calls on the public and private sponsors of The World’s 50 Best restaurants to stop financing and supporting this opaque, sexist and self-pleasing ranking which puts culinary nationalism before quality and allows the chefs to supersede health issues and customer satisfaction.
They say that the ranking is not built on any gastronomic, deontological or even sanitary criteria and that the abuse of the 50 Best system, which has been creating a buzz every year since 2002, is no secret to no one.
They argue that the voters of the rankings include, among others, chefs and agents, who are, consequently judge and jury. They say that no one knows how the 50 Best’s jury members are chosen, it does not give any criteria grid to its jury. No justification or comment on a vote is required from the 50 Best’s jury, the jury members are not asked for any restaurant bill, it is not representative, and only 6 women have been in the list in the past four years.
Despite the controversy, the World’s 50 Best Restaurants list still remains one of the most awaited events in the culinary world.