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The World on a Plate

June 15th 2018
Santiago and Shanghai, Melbourne and Menton, Shoreditch and even Slovenia – in each of these scattered destinations you can find one of The World's 50 Best Restaurants. Such geographical diversity is testament to the fact that this annual gourmet ranking has transformed the world of fine dining, by shining a spotlight on extraordinary restaurants you might otherwise never have heard of. Of course, it also reflects and helps drive diners' growing appetite for food-focused travel – whether it be to experience the street food culture of Cambodia, or land in Copenhagen specifically for that fabled Noma reservation.Back in 2002, a brilliantly simple idea to rank the best restaurants in the world turned into a feature in a specialist magazine in the UK. It soon morphed into an awards ceremony (the first was hosted in London by the late Roger Moore, no less) and proceeded to grow into a genuine giant of the gastronomic world. The World's 50 Best Restaurants list is now created through the votes of more than 1,000 experts worldwide, and the awards events programme runs over five days, in a different international destination every year.

The list's publication generates a media storm across all continents, and remains a source of endless discussion and debate. Who doesn't enjoy showing off about where they have recently eaten or how far they have travelled to do so? And that's before you even start on whether Eleven Madison Park is a better restaurant than The Fat Duck, or if you prefer natural wines or classic clarets.

Importantly, '50 Best' as it's colloquially known, celebrates the unusual, the innovative and – very often – the far-flung. By including the likes of Fäviken in the wilds of northern Sweden, or Brae in rural Australia in its recent lists, it reminds business travellers and globe-trotting gourmets alike that the restaurant scene is not limited to London, New York and Paris. By extension, it helps open up our palates and our minds to new ingredients and new experiences: live ants in Mexico, emu eggs in Melbourne, cow's heart in Scandinavia…

Next week, the greatest chefs, restaurateurs and sommeliers from every corner of the planet will gather in Bilbao in northern Spain, for a series of events culminating in The World's 50 Best Restaurants awards 2018. Chefs come to eat and drink together, exchange war stories, compare notes and insights, set up collaborations, eat and drink some more, and celebrate each other's success. On 19th June, they will be joined by some 1,000 guests to hear the new list revealed, and to establish where we should all be eating in the coming year. Passport and booking apps at the ready, the race for reservations will shortly begin.

The World's 50 Best Restaurants awards, sponsored by S. Pellegrino & Acqua Panna, takes place on 19th June, 2018 in Bilbao, Spain. You can follow the ceremony live on the 50 Best Facebook page (50BestRestaurants) and see the results via social media (TheWorlds50Best).

Words: William Drew

William Drew is the Group Editor of The World's 50 Best Restaurants.

For information and reservations at these and other top-class restaurants around the world, please contact your Lifestyle Manager.

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