Saturday, April 28, 2007

the 50 best restaurants in the "world"

UK based Restaurant Magazine has released a list of what a reader survey has decided are the world's 50 best restaurants. And surprise, surprise, not one of them is in Asia. Of course I'm happy for all the hard working people whose businesses made the list and hope that money pours into their pockets like water over Victoria Falls. But this list is about as comprehensive of world wide culinary excellence as the World Series is of excellence in baseball-ery.

So, kudos to you from El Bulli (no. 1) through Les Ambassadeurs (no. 50), but shame on you Restaurant Magazine for your embarrassing attempt to raise your profile with a bogus global test of excellence.

Oh and another thing.

This bit from the Bloomberg piece (linked below):

``Ferran Adria is often talked about as the most influential chef since Escoffier,'' Restaurant [Magazine] Editor Joe Warwick said in a telephone interview.

1) Who is saying that Adria is the most influential chef since Escoffier? I'm guessing no one other than Warwick himself.

2) Does Warwick believe this or is he just pumping up his interlouctor?

3) Isn't it a bit early in the game to even imply that Adria has been this influential?

4) Doesn't Alice Waters deserve that honor? Adria is amazing, and certainly influential, but from where I sit his reach into the kitchens of the western world does not go nearly as deep as Waters' does.

I picked up this topic and the Bloomberg link from a comment left by RI Swampyankee at Michael Ruhlman's blog. Thanks Swampyankee! Muse


Simon said...

I would say that no other chef in the world brings as much fascination as Adria does. Adria brought a lot of techniques and new ways to treat flavours and food but being influential, as you imply is having followers, and Adria has very little of that.

Waters on the other hand, has followers all over the place. The philosophy she brought to the forefront in the past 30 years is found in many restaurants in every major city in the US, Canada, Australia and other countries. My one knock against thinking she is that influential is that the philosophy she brought in, is a given in most European countries. I mean, most French, Italian and Spanish chefs, to name a few, were always about the local and freshest food.

I don't know who's more influential. But I wouldn't bet against somebody like Robuchon, and others, when looking at it coldly...

kristin said...

I have not been able to wrap my head around the whole molecular gastronomy thing as I have said on Ruhlman's blog, although Adria's ,influence cannot be diminished. Like Waters, Thomas Keller has many followers from all over. It was nice to see that both restaraunts made it in the top ten. I think it is fair to s ay that like Adria and Robuchon, Keller is just as influential. He does this with a philosophy of not only using the best ingredients,best techniques and the best purveyors,but having the best standards.

The Foodist said...

To say that any chef alive today is more influential then another is a tough thing to do.

I guess the question Id pose is "Influential how? and to who?"

If were talking general public, I dare say we'd have to sadly look toward the beast that is the food network and look at Emeril.

If were talking about inside the industry and influencing fellow chefs and restaurantures Im not sure I could point a finger in the right direction (Mostly due to age and less experience then most).

From a culinary student standpoint I have to be honest and say if you were to say the name Ferran Adria to any culinary student in America today I think youd be hard pressed to find a student who knows who your talking about. But thats a whole other subject.

I guess if I were to look at Waters vs Adria Im not sure I could decide whos been more influential. Waters has spearheaded the local and organic food movement in this country and has most surely made a very strong impact doing so, while Adria has pioneered new thoughts and ideas about food that have most of us racing to keep pace.

I guess you said it best when you said "Isn't it a bit early in the game".

tscape said...

The term "most influential" can become almost meaningless after a while. Most influential where? In what type of cuisine? Someone who could have shaped the culinary landscape of one country could be a mere blip elsewhere (or, like simon mentioned, they could be spearheading what is innovative on one place but has been in place for ages elsewhere). I can see a group of people being considered influential, because they have each brought something important to the food world as a whole, but focusing on one person just doesn't work for me, personally.