London Lantern

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The S.Pellegrino World's 50 Best Restaurants 2008

18/04/2008, By

Reader Rating: 2.8 from 1339 votes

Ferran Adria

The S.Pellegrino World's 50 Best Restaurants awards, now in its seventh year, has established itself internationally as the most credible guide to the best places to eat on earth. A restaurant's ranking is decided purely on the votes of a large panel of well respected international judges collectively called The Nespresso World’s 50 Best Restaurants Academy. The Academy comprises just fewer than 700 chefs, restaurateurs, food writers and restaurant critics, 200 of whom are voting for the first time.

For the third year in a row Ferran Adrià of El Bulli in Spain has topped the world-wide poll. Similarly stalwart are Heston Blumenthal’s The Fat Duck in second place and Pierre Gagnaire’s eponymous Parisian restaurant, third. Chefs’ Choice Mugaritz attains its highest ever position, finding itself at number 4 this year. Mugaritz first charted in 2006 at an impressive 10th place. Last year it climbed to 7th position. This year shows its reputation is increasing internationally and now Andoni Luis Aduriz is clearly snapping at the heels of the three culinary legends ahead of him.

El Bulli

Thirty six year old Aduriz is just one of the young chefs who has gained the respect of his former masters. Another is Grant Achatz of Alinea who at thirty three was not only the highest new entry last year but has risen 15 places to 21st position. Highest new entry Vendome has Joachim Wissler at its formidable helm. Considered Germany’s foremost culinary pioneer, Wissler appears on the list alongside fellow countrymen Hans Haas of Tantris and Harald Wohlfahrt of Die Schwarzwaldstube.

The other new, hallowed, restaurant is Asador Etxebarri in Spain owned by chef Victor Arguinzoniz. In complete contrast to the high tech gadget loving maestros that dominate the top of the chart, this self-taught chef has elevated cooking over an open flame to new heights. He calls it “primitive cooking”.

Heston Blumenthal

Perennially popular (it has appeared on the past 6 lists) Fergus Henderson’s St John, is this year’s highest climber and the must-visit restaurant for the “50 Best” chefs attending the event. Last year Sydney chef Tetsuya, Thomas Keller of the French Laundry and Per Se and Fulvio Pierangelini of Gambero Rosso were amongst those who heartily tucked into a “chefs only” feast of boiled ham, whole carrots and doughnuts.

The restaurant tipped to break through into the top 50 in 2009 is the Parisian neo-bistro Le Chateaubriand owned by young Basque chef Inaki Aizpitarte. Is it something in the water that makes the Basque region such fertile culinary ground? Perhaps the Lake District will be the next culinary spawning ground, for it is on the southern edge of this picturesque English region that Simon Rogan’s contemporary restaurant L’Enclume, winner of the 2008 Readers’ Choice award, can be found.

Fat Duck

Gualtiero Marchesi was presented with his award by the UK’s favourite and most feted Italian chef Giorgio Locatelli in the magnificent surroundings of the Freemasons’ Hall in London’s Covent Garden. Ask any chef how important Gualtiero Marchesi has been to their career and you are likely to be given the same response as Locatelli’s.

"Gualtiero Marchesi was the biggest creative and revolutionary force during the early days in my career. He transformed Italian cuisine and serves as an example for all young chefs in Italy and worldwide. Through his deep knowledge of classic Italian cuisine he transformed it into an international product. Undoubtedly, I would never be where I am now without his inspirational originality." - Giorgio Locatelli, chef-patron, Locanda Locatelli, London.

French Laundry

On Monday 21st April Gualtiero Marchesi was surrounded by his peers, all fellow members of the restaurant nobility, to hear the annual roll call of the World’s 50 Best Restaurants. Also present was the chef-patron of La Maison Troisgros, Michel Troisgros who has known Gualtiero Marchesi all his life. Gualtiero worked for a time at Troisgros under his father Pierre Troisgros.

What do you feed the best chefs in the world? The following producers showed off their wares on Monday night: excellent and unusual cheeses from Premier Cheese, Cornish salami from Deli Farm, smoked salmon from H Forman and son, Wright Bros oyster bar and Wild Harvest’s selection of their favourite products. There was also a Nespresso coffee bar for caffeine fans and the most exquisite chocolates from chocolatier Paul A Young.

For more details, visit their Website.

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