After years of criticism about the opaque voting system and also issues relating to gender, the World’s 50 Best Restaurants have announced changes as to how voting this year’s awards will take place.
Competition is always healthy and it seems like the new World Restaurant Awards which will be announced in February this year has forced some needed changed at the World’s 50 Best Restaurants list.
For the first time ever, and following in the footsteps of the World Restaurant Awards, they have announced a gender balanced voting panel with 50% of the 1,000 voting panel comprising of female voters.
Probably the greatest change is the introduction of a Best of the Best group which is made up of former no 1 restaurants on the list who will no longer be eligible in the annual ranking. The restaurants that will be promoted to the Best of the Best group from June 2019 include the now-closed el Bulli, The French Laundry, The Fat Duck, El Celler de Can Roca, Eleven Madison Park, current No.1 Osteria Francescana and the original Noma which means the new Noma is eligible for this year.
This effectively means that there will be a new restaurant heading the list each year.
“To ensure The World’s 50 Best Restaurants list and awards retain their relevance and excitement, we must evolve,” said William Drew, group editor of 50 Best. “Just as with the restaurants themselves, stagnation is the enemy. In 2019 and beyond, the 50 Best organisation needs not only to champion excellence, but also to promote humanity, inclusivity and opportunity.”
The World’s 50 Best Restaurants list and awards are organised and compiled by William Reed Business Media. The list is created from the votes of the World’s 50 Best Restaurants Academy, comprising over 1,000 international restaurant industry experts split into 26 separate regions around the world. Each region has its own voting panel of 40 members including a chairperson to head it up. 25 per cent of the voting panel will change each year.
Voting rules have, however, remained the same in the sense that academy members have to submit their 10 choices in order of preference. Of these 4, must be for restaurants outside their home region and they must have eaten there in the last 18 months before the nominations.
Writer Tim Hayward described them as interesting policy changes from ’50 Best’ on Twitter while The Times food critic Marina O’Loughlin said it sounded like Joe Warwick’s new awards has rattled someone.
In Italy, La Repubblica billed these changes as important and said that Bottura will no longer be in competition and will enter the hall of fame.
The Guardian food critic and writer Jay Rayner said it’s clear The World’s 50 Best has attempted to clean up its act significantly. But they still don’t distinguish between a comped meal and one that’s paid for, perhaps making a vote for a restaurant reviewed on a comp, worth less than one paid for. He said it was one of the reasons he quit the voting panel.
50 Best is also launching a new platform later in 2019, mapping the world with the best dining and drinking destinations that have been nominated by the 50 Best voters, inspiring and shaping gourmets’ and cocktail aficionados’ travels and discoveries.