The World’s 50 Best Restaurants, a list famous for its historic exclusion of top female chefs; for its bias toward expensive, European-leaning tasting menu venues; and for not requiring judges to pay for their meals, has named its 2018 winner. Much to the surprise of no one, the victor is a European male chef who’s already won the prize. Massimo Bottura’s Osteria Francescana, the avant-garde Italian tasting temple that made an appearance on Aziz Ansari’s Master of None, has returned to the top of the rankings.
The three-Michelin-starred venue, famous for quirky preparations like “Autumn in New York” and “Oops, I Dropped the Lemon Tart,” first reached the No. 1 spot two years ago but was unseated by New York’s Eleven Madison Park.
El Celler de Can Roca in Catalonia took the No. 2 spot, while Mirazur in Southern France moved up to No. 3. Eleven Madison Park, which was closed for renovations for four months in 2017, dropped to No. 4.
One of the most prominent developments isn’t who rose to the top of the rankings again, but rather who was left out again: Atelier Crenn. Chef Dominique Crenn was named the list’s “Best Female Chef” in 2016, an odd and offensive award not just for its mere existence, but because Crenn didn’t even appear in the top 100 that year. She debuted on the long list at No. 83 in 2017, but this year she dropped off the list entirely.
Crenn herself has blasted 50 Best for gender inequality, criticized the female chef award as “stupid,” and accused the organization of treating women like “sport.” The two-Michelin-starred chef was not at the ceremony, but rather attended a charity event in Rochester, New York, raising money for women’s health and pediatric services.
Before the awards, Crenn posted the following quote from entertainment attorney Nina Shaw on Instagram: “I don’t need you to include me from what you excluded me from. We are not diversity we are normal. I want you to normalize your side til it looks like our side and recognize we should have been there all along.”
Clare Smyth, who was awarded Best Female Chef this year for her solo debut at Core in London, was also left off the list.
“For the last 10 years of my career I’ve been asked, ‘What is like to be a female chef?’ to which I reply, ‘I’m not sure what you mean, because I’ve never been a male chef,’” Smyth said in a speech that touched on gender equality and improving the work environment in kitchens. She said she was honored to receive the award, but also acknowledged the debate over whether it should exist in the first place.
The number of female chefs (or co-chefs) on the list increased from last year’s three to five: Central by Pia León and Virgilio Martínez, Arzak by Elena and Juan Mari Arzak, Hiša Franko by Ana Ros, Cosme by Daniela Soto-Innes and Enrique Olvera, and Nahm by Pim Techamuanvivit (it should be noted that Techamuanvivit assumed the top chef job this spring, likely after the voting had already ended).
“It’s all about girl power tonight,” said Mark Durden-Smith, one of the announcers. It was an unfortunate comment not just because of his use of the word “girls,” but because only two of the restaurants on the list, Nahm and Hiša Franko, are run without male co-chefs.
Another awkward moment came before the readout of the list. After an announcer presented Jessie Liu, an aspiring chef from Taiwan, with a 50 Best scholarship, he suggested she might become an accountant one day; he walked back those comments quickly.
This is the first year the list has been published since the onset of the #MeToo movement, which has involved accusations of sexual harassment against some of the highest-profile U.S. chefs and restaurateurs. The World’s 50 Best organization has been largely silent on this issue.
Noma 2.0 was left off the list as it didn’t open in time for voting.
The 2018 World’s 50 Best Restaurant List
This post will be updated throughout the afternoon and evening as the list is unveiled.
1. Osteria Francescana (Modena, Italy)
Chef: Massimo Bottura
Last year’s rank: 2
Average cost: €250-€270
2. El Celler de Can Roca (Girona, Spain)
Chef: Joan Roca
Last year’s rank: 3
Average cost: €165-€195 (USD $184-$218)* 2015 pricing.
3. Mirazur (Menton, France)
Chef: Mauro Colagreco
Last year’s rank: 4
Average cost: €110-€210
4. Eleven Madison Park (New York City)
Chef: Daniel Humm
Last year’s rank: 1
Average cost: $315 (service-included)
5. Gaggan (Bangkok, Thailand)
Chef: Gaggan Anand
Last year’s rank: 7
Average cost: THB 6,500
6. Central (Lima, Peru)
7. Maido (Lima, Peru)
8. L’Arpege (Paris, France)
9. Mugaritz (Errenteria, Spain)
10. Asador Etxebarri (Axpe, Spain)
11. Quintonil (Mexico City, Mexico)
12. Blue Hill at Stone Barns (Pocantico Hills, New York, USA)
13. Pujol (Mexico City, Mexico)
14. Steirereck (Vienna, Austria)
15. White Rabbit (Moscow, Russia)
16. Piazza Duomo (Alba, Italy)
17. Den (Tokyo, Japan)
18. Disfrutar (Barcelona, Spain)
19. Geranium (Copenhagen, Denmark)
20. Attica (Melbourne, Australia)
21. Alain Ducasse au Plaza Athénée (Paris, France)
22. Narisawa (Tokyo, Japan)
23. Le Calandre (Rubano, Italy)
24. Ultraviolet by Paul Pairet (Shanghai, China)
25. Cosme (New York City, USA)
26. Le Bernardin (New York City, USA)
27. Boragó (Santiago, Chile)
28. Odette (Singapore)
29. Alléno Paris au Pavillon Ledoyen (Paris, France)
30. D.O.M. (São Paulo, Brazil)
31. Arzak (San Sebastian, Spain)
32. Tickets (Barcelona, Spain)
33. The Clove Club (London, UK)
34. Alinea (Chicago, USA)
35. Maaemo (Oslo, Norway)
36. Reale (Castel Di Sangro, Italy)
37. Restaurant Tim Raue (Berlin, Germany)
38. Lyle’s (London, UK)
39. Astrid y Gastón (Lima, Peru)
40. Septime (Paris, France)
41. Nihonryori RyuGin (Tokyo, Japan)
42. The Ledbury (London, UK)
43. Azurmendi (Larrabetzu, Spain)
44. Mikla (Istanbul, Turkey)
45. Dinner by Heston Blumenthal (London, UK)
46. Saison (San Francisco, USA)
47. Schloss Schauenstein (Fürstenau, Switzerland)
48. Hiša Franko (Kobarid, Slovenia)
49. Nahm (Bangkok, Thailand)
50. The Test Kitchen (Cape Town, South Africa)
Best Female Chef: Clare Smyth (Core by Clare Smyth, London)
Chef’s Choice Award: Dan Barber (Blue Hill at Stone Barns, Pocantico Hills, New York)
Best Pastry Chef: Cédric Grolet
Lifetime Achievement Award: Gastón Acurio
Art of Hospitality Award: Geranium (Copenhagen, Denmark)
One to Watch: Single Thread (Healdsburg, California)
BBVA Scholarship Winner: Jessie Liu (Taipei)
Sustainable Restaurant Award: Azurmendi (Larrabetzu, Spain)
Highest New Entry: Disfrutar (Barcelona, Spain)
Highest Climber Award: Den (Tokyo, Japan)