September is still an active month. In the world of gastronomy, awards are making a comeback after a long hiatus due to the pandemic. Globe-trotting chefs seem to be hungry to hit the road again to meet up on such occasions, especially if they’re close to winning an award. Over the past year, many events have been postponed or held in a virtual environment, but some have now resumed taking place. Some activities, on the other hand, have gotten used to the virtual environment, continue to do so, and even take advantage of it. This is quite true for food-related symposia – many have used online events, and most will remain so, allowing people in faraway countries to share their articles from their desks with a nice background of their messy libraries. When it comes to symposia, going virtual might attract young academics who don’t have the budget to travel to attend such meetings, and virtual meetings work really well, so it’s a wise path. But the rewards don’t have the same enthusiasm when they’re virtual. They need glamor and glitter, and of course, a party, so occasions like this never have the same vibe in the online world. Now that the fall season is on, here are some thoughts from the past week.
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100 best chefs
Last week there was a chefs awards event in Amsterdam. “The Best Chef Awards 2021” was announced at a live gala dinner, a rather new organization that has garnered more and more attention in recent years. The Best Chef is not only an award but also an organization that includes a series of events. In addition to the awards, there is a series of lectures under the title Area Talks and many interesting topics presented at the Food Meets Science conference. The Best Chef was founded in 2015 by Polish neuroscientist Joanna Slusarczyk and Italian foodie Cristian Gadau as a platform bringing together leaders from the world of gastronomy to discuss hot topics in the world of gastronomy. In 2017, the best chef awards came into play. The awards were presented for the first time in Warsaw in 2017, followed by Milan in 2018 and Barcelona in 2019. The award, which took place virtually in 2020, has took place again this year live in Amsterdam.
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The system works interestingly. First of all, the chef himself is the center of attention. The creativity of the chef, his approach to food and the difference that stands out from the rest are taken into consideration rather than other characteristics of the restaurant and its location etc. First, there is a shortlist of 200 nominees. Half of this list is made up of the top 100 chefs from the previous year. In addition to the previous winners, 100 new names are added each year, which are determined by 100 anonymous professional names from around the world. The vote is carried out by the leaders themselves and the anonymous professionals. In short, the leaders vote for each other. They have a quota of 10 votes in total, going from highest to lowest, listing their top 10. The votes of the leaders represent 70% of the overall votes, they are surely more influential in the creation of the top.
This year’s Top 100 winner powered by Perlage is Madrid-based Spanish chef Dabiz Muñoz from DiverXO. Swedish chef Björn Frantzén from Stockholm reiterated his second place, and third is Basque chef Andoni Luis Aduriz from Mugaritz from San Sebastian. The latter has been a huge, phenomenal leap from its previous position on last year’s roster, from 45th to third.
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Unfortunately, there are no Turkish chefs on the Top 100 list this year. But Turkey was, in a way, represented at the awards ceremony by Gökmen Sözen, the famous organizer of gastronomic events in Turkey, who took the pulse of the industry. He constantly visits all the world’s top chefs and invites them to the events he organizes in Turkey. He managed to transform the Gastromasa event into a meeting arena for chefs from around the world. Interestingly, he published the portrait of Dabiz Muñoz on the cover of the latest issue of his magazine Food in Life and did an interview on the restaurant DiverXo. In the same issue of the magazine, it is interesting to note that I also dedicated my article to Slovenian conductor Ana Roš and her new book Sun and Rain, which placed seventh at high speed this year. The Slovenian table at the award ceremony seemed to be having fun, especially ladies, as “The Best Pastry Chef Award” achieved by Valrhona went to pastry chef Maša Salopek from Hiša Franko, Ana’s restaurant in Kobarid , in Slovenia. . Well done, ladies!
There are other awards besides the Top 100 list, for example, Spanish chef Joan Roca, who applies science in a brilliant way to his cooking, received “The Best Chef Science Award” powered by LSG Group, while the “Legend Chef Award” powered by Chopin was awarded to the legendary Italian chef Alfonso Iaccarino, who still has an influence on new generations of chefs in Italy. This particular award is dedicated to iconic names in cuisine who are no longer active in the kitchen but who still have a crucial impact on the world of gastronomy. Franco Pepe, about whom I wrote only a week ago mentioning the Italian medals of state stars, also received the title of best pizza chef in the world. There are also those who received the prize as a team. For example, the inseparable trio of Barcelona’s Disfrutar squad share sixth place. They have a special place in my heart, I celebrated my birthday there five years ago, the flavors still remain in my memory, and I intend to repeat the experience in November. Another teamwork is presented by the RIJKS team, the restaurant of the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, run by Joris Bijdendijk, received the special Gourmet 21 award. It is not only the teams but also the siblings who share the rewards; the inseparable brothers Ivan & Sergey Berezutskiy from Moscow and the twins Thomas and Mathias Sühring from Bangkok naturally share their places at 62 and 73, respectively. To admit, I didn’t attend the event myself, my many friends and chefs were there, the first being the man behind the whole event, Kristian Brask Thomsen, the Danish food brand based in Barcelona, Ambassador chefs and restaurants, otherwise known as ambassador. Bon-Vivant, they all apparently had a great time, adhering to this year’s theme, getting back to “live” and coming back to reality.
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To access the full list, visit: www.thebestchefawards.com