The World’s 50 Best Restaurants awards, dubbed the Oscars of global gastronomy, is being held for the first time in Asia, and Singapore plays host. The week-long celebration includes masterclasses, talks and collaborative dinners that are open to culinary professionals as well as the public before the winners are announced on Tuesday.
Today, present at the pre-awards press conference held at Singapore’s National Gallery was Charles Reed, group managing director of William Reed Business Media, which owns and runs the World’s 50 Best Restaurants.
He was joined by Melissa Ow, deputy CEO of the Singapore Tourism Board, and master chefs Joan Roca of El Celler de Can Roca in Spain, Daniel Humm of Eleven Madison Park (New York), Garima Arora of Gaa (Bangkok) and the Lion City’s very own Julien Royer of Odette.
With less than 30 hours to go before the great reveal of the winner at Marina Bay Sands, the four highly-awarded international chefs talk about getting on that coveted list.
“It is important to be conscious and able to convey the culture and roots of where you are and where you’re from. Be happy with what you do and don’t get obsessed about awards,” Roca shares. El Celler de Can Roca was twice named World’s Best Restaurant and is now part of the Best of the Best group.
“I really appreciate it when a restaurant has a sense of place, representing their own cultures and traditions. This is what I’d advise young chefs — focus on your city and search [who] and where you are,” says Humm. Eleven Madison Park was the 2017 winner and is now also part of the Best of the Best group.
“Work hard, keep your head down and don’t look up. At least for the first few years of your life in the restaurant,” Arora, Asia’s Best Female chef 2019, says.
“The first years are incredibly hard. You need to be prepared to sacrifice... even your personal life. That has to be the case if you really want to learn,” adds Royer. Odette tops Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants 2019.
With the launch of the Best of the Best programme, restaurants that have topped the annual poll will be feted as all-time greats and no longer be eligible for the annual vote.
Look out for the full list of winners soon.
Quotes compiled by Diana Khoo.