How critics choose the best restaurants in the world
LONDON, April 26 — How does a restaurant get named the best in the world? How is it that restaurants which have been garlanded with Michelin stars land on the bottom half of the world’s best restaurants list, while others — some with no Michelin mention at all — leap past culinary heavyweights to land within the top 10?
For example, where one system takes into account only what’s on the plate, the other asks judges to consider everything from décor and service.
In advance of the World’s 50 Best Restaurant Awards which celebrates its 10th anniversary on Monday, April 30 in London, Relaxnews offers a side by side comparison of how Michelin awards its stars, and how Restaurant magazine whittles down millions of restaurants into a tidy top 50 list.
World’s 50 Best Restaurants
Restaurants that land on this international list are voted on by a panel of more than 800 food critics, chefs, restaurateurs and other “highly regarded gastronomes.”
The Academy is divided into 27 separate regions around the world, and each region has a panel of 31 members, headed by one chairperson.
Each member gets seven votes, three of which must be for restaurants outside their region. At least 10 panelists from each region change every year.
Here are some of the other main rules of voting:
— Voters must have eaten in the restaurants they nominate in the last 18 months
— Voters are not permitted to vote for restaurants they own or have an interest in
— Nominations must be made for the restaurant, not for the restaurateur or the chef
— Panelists submit their 7 choices in order of preference in order to break any incidents of a tie
Other than that, there are “no rules,” organizers say, as judges can cast their vote equally for a small, unknown hole in the wall or a time-tested restaurant helmed by a well-known celebrity chef.
“I think one of the things that makes the list so interesting is that it’s not the best gastronomic restaurant, it’s the best overall experience,” said UK and Ireland panel chair Richard Vines in a video for sister publication BigHospitality.co.uk last week.
“A restaurant can have great food but that’s not enough. It’s got to have great service and really draw you into the experience.”
The winners of the World’s 50 Best Restaurant Awards will be announced April 30 in London.
The century-old Michelin system, which hands out between one and three stars to restaurants it deems to be among the best in the world, abides by a few rules of its own.
Michelin inspectors judge a restaurant based on five criteria:
— quality of the ingredients
— flair and skill in preparing the ingredients and combining flavours
— chef’s personality as revealed through the cuisine
— value for money
— consistency of culinary standards
Stars reflect only what’s on the plate. In other words, unlike the World’s 50 Best Restaurants awards, inspectors do not judge a restaurant based on the décor, quality of service, amenities, equipment or availability of services like valet parking.
Unlike the World’s 50 Best Restaurants, inspectors are all Michelin employees and are generally hotel school graduates with five to 10 years of experience in the restaurant or hotel business. For the country guides, each inspector travels around 30,000km a year and eats around 250 meals, sleeping in more than 160 hotels.
Inspectors test establishments anonymously and pay their own bills after each meal or hotel visit. Following their experience, inspectors prepare a report that will be used to determine which establishments are selected or bestowed with distinctions.
Today, the Michelin guide is in 23 countries. — AFP-Relaxnews
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