Contemporary New York eatery, Eleven Madison Park, was crowned the world’s best restaurant of 2017 at a glitzy ceremony in Melbourne on April 5, edging out last year’s winner,Italy’s Osteria Francescana. Run by Swiss-born chef Daniel Humm, the Manhattan institution came out on top at the World’s 50 Best Restaurants awards, widely seen as the Oscars of the food world. Spain’s El Celler De Can Roca was third.
Organizers said Eleven Madison Park, housed in an art deco building and which came third last year, enhanced the dining experience “with a sense of fun, blurring the line between the kitchen and the dining room”. The top 10 were rounded out by restaurants in France, Peru, Thailand, Austria and Spain. France, Spain, and the United States, each had six restaurants in the top 50, while eateries from China, Chile, Hong Kong, and Singapore also made the grade. The awards this year were held outside of London or New York for the first time, with Australia fast earning a reputation as a serious food destination and attracting some of the world’s top chefs to open restaurants Down Under. The move to Melbourne was part of an ongoing strategy to make the event more global, organizers said.
In other awards, the Spanish eatery The Disfrutar in Barcelona, was picked as the One to Watch while Ana Ros of Hisa Franko in Slovenia was named the world’s best female chef. Top pastry chef was Frenchborn Dominique Ansel -- known as king of the cronuts -- with his bakery in New York, while a nod for sustainability went to France’s restaurant, Septime. Virgilio Martinez of Central in Lima won the Chefs’ Choice Award, voted for by his peers. Acclaimed British chef Heston Blumenthal, whose restaurant The Fat Duck is a former winner of the top award, was handed a lifetime achievement gong. Organizers said it was hard to think of another chef who had more of an impact on the way the world cooks.Blumenthal, who has brought his recipes to millions through TV shows that are broadcast across the world, said he was honored by the accolade and had no plans to slow down. The awards, run by trade magazine Restaurant, began in 2002 and have become a reference for the world’s foodies, but were hit in 2015 by allegations of cozy deals between eateries and jury members. The jury is now made up of just over 1,000 “independent experts,” including food writers, chefs, restaurant owners, and gourmets. Members list their choices in order of preference, based on where they have eaten in the past 18 months.