The World's 50 Best Restaurants 2020 has been postponed to 2021 due to the worldwide coronavirus pandemic.
The World's 50 Best Restaurants list is based on the meals that a panel of chefs, writers and 'taste hunters' have eaten within the past 18 months. The list is released every summer, with numbers 51-120 published ahead of time and the top 50 announced at a ceremony similar to the Michelin Guide Revelation. The ceremony is held in a different city every year and the 2020 list was set to be announced in Antwerp on June 2nd of this year.
However, due to the ongoing pandemic, the revelation of this year's list has been postponed until 2021, circumstances permitting, but will still be held in Antwerp.
Instead, 50 Best, the company behind the list, will team up with its partners, which include S. Pellegrino and Acqua Panna, and focus its resources on "supporting, connecting and uniting the global gastronomic community".
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A plan to help
According to The World's 50 Best Restaurants, the company will focus on helping the sector by taking "further steps to help effect recovery in the future, to reformat its content and to look at innovative digital happenings for its support and event programme. It will seek to bring together its community of high-profile chefs and restaurateurs, brand partners and leaders in gastronomy, as well as food-focused media, to share fresh ideas and best practice."
What this actually means has not been confirmed, as plans have not yet been released. Apparently, they will be "communicated in the coming weeks and months".
“We stand united with the restaurant sector at this unprecedented time,” announced William Drew, director of content for The World's 50 Best Restaurants. “Today we make a pledge that even though there will be no celebration of The World’s 50 Best Restaurants this year, we will act to support and defend restaurants today and in the future. We ask for the community to join us in the initiatives that will take the place of our planned event programme in Antwerp, Flanders this year.
“Our heartfelt thanks go to the restaurant sector and all those who have stepped up to support the community. From offering meals and delivery services to those liaising with government officials to protect restaurants and their future, we stand with you all.”
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#BREAKINGNEWS: The World’s 50 Best Restaurants 2020 to be remodelled to focus on supporting and connecting the global gastronomic community. Today 50 Best announces that it is postponing The World’s 50 Best Restaurants 2020, sponsored by S.Pellegrino & Acqua Panna. The on-the-ground event programme in Antwerp, Flanders will take place in 2021, circumstances permitting. In place of the global gastronomic gathering, 50 Best will design and develop impactful initiatives that will help the world work together in this time of need. It will also use its network to support and amplify programmes that will bolster businesses, while continuing its editorial campaign to support restaurants, restaurant workers and chefs. For more information, please follow the link in our bio. #Worlds50Best #Awards #Flanders #Antwerp #Belgium #Travel #Gastronomy #Restaurant #Chefs#VisitFlanders #VisitAntwerp #TastefulMoments #SanPellegrino #sponsored @visitflanders @antwerpen @sanpellegrino_official @acquapanna
Controversy and problems
While we're happy to see that this prestigious listing has fallen in line with advice from worldwide governments and the World Health Organisation, we are interested to see how The World's 50 Best Restaurants implements its scheme to help restaurants.
The listing has been criticised in the past for favouritism, lack of diversity and more. Among the complaints, the most prominent by far has been the issue of diversity. Notoriously, these awards seem to favour restaurants run by American and European men over those led by women and people of colour, with Michelin-starred chef Dominique Crenn once accusing The World's 50 Best Restaurants listing of treating women like “sport".
Theses issues became so prominent last year that a new rule was implemented to disallow former number one restaurants – like Eleven Madison Park, Osteria Francescana and El Cellar de Can Roca – from taking the top spot again. While this rule was introduced as part of a so-called diversity initiative, many speculated that it was actually implemented to ensure that past winners don't suffer financially if their rankings slip.
While it's admirable that The World's 50 Best Restaurants has committed to helping the gastronomic community, we will wait to see what processes are implemented before getting our hopes too high.
In the meantime, with this list postponed, we are turning our attention towards other awards ceremonies like the Michelin Revelation and La List – could they be postponed too? Stay tuned to FOOD AND WINE Ireland and we will keep you posted on any developments.