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About The Academy

The Academy

The Diners Club® World’s 50 Best Restaurants Academy is the mechanism used to create The World’s 50 Best Restaurants list.

Continuing its association with fine dining, Diners Club International® is the proud sponsor of The World’s 50 Best Restaurants Academy.

None of the employees of any of the sponsors associated with the awards, including the main sponsor and the Academy sponsor, votes or has any influence over the results.

The Academy is comprised of over 900 members, each selected for their expert opinion of the international restaurant scene.

To create the Academy, and give it a fair representation of the global restaurant scene, we divide the world up into 26 geographical regions.

Each region has a chairperson appointed for their knowledge of their part of the restaurant world. These chairs each selected a voting panel of 36 (including themselves) – ensuring a balanced selection of chefs, restaurateurs, food/restaurant journalists and gourmands.

To read more about how we create the list, please read our Manifesto

The Academy Chairs

The World's 50 Best Restaurants list is compiled from the votes of The Diners Club® World's 50 Best Restaurants Academy. We divide the world into regions, with a chairperson in each region appointed for their knowledge of their part of the restaurant world. These chairs each selected a voting panel, who cast a total of 6,552 votes. Select a region below to view the biography of each regional chairperson.

Andrea Petrini – France

Andrea Petrini is an ex-journalist for the daily paper LIbération and an ex-reporter at large for Gambero Rosso, ex-Omnivore, ex-restaurant critic for L’Evénement du Jeudi, ex-road manager of the Cook ‘n Roll band Gelinaz, a food writer and global writer. When he takes off the cardigan of the movie buff, Petrini writes for Alimentation Générale, Cook.Inc, Fooding,Fool Magazine, Gazzetta Gastronomica, L’Express, Le NOuvel Observateur, Lucky Peach, l’Officiel Voyage, L’Optimum, GQ France and Slate.fr. He’s the codirector of the food festival Paris des Chefs, the creative director of Cook it Raw! and the founding member of the think tank Cooks Don’t Eat.

Andrey Zakharin – Russia, Central Asia & Eastern Europe

Andrey Zakharin is the editor-in-chief of the Bonnier Publications publishing house whose titles include Gastronom, School of Gastronom, Collection of Recipes and Gardener magazines.

Gastronom magazine and its sister publications School of Gastronom and Collection of Recipes have become Russia’s leading culinary magazines and remain in the top then best-selling fortnightly publications across the country.

In 2010 Internet portal gastronom.ru won Runet Prize for the best websites.

Andrey is a member of the jury of Restaurants Awards «Bay Leaf», «Olive branch» and Russian Bocuse D’Or.

Boris Yu – China & Korea

A self-proclaimed ‘gastro-nomad’, ‘hotel junkie’ and ‘design addict’, Boris has been travelling the world and experiencing the best of the best since the age of 10. Having studied and lived in the UK for 14 years, followed by a stint with his family business in Hong Kong and Shanghai, he is a fusion of Chinese, English and international luxury lifestyle due to his penchant for finding and collecting the truly exclusive anywhere in the world from ‘royal’ garden tools to bespoke shirt buttons, he is the one to ask! Boris’s vision to bring his extensive global knowledge and connections back to the motherland of China has culminated in the founding of über.

Diego Salazar - South America (North)

Diego Salazar is a journalist, editor, translator and food critic based in Lima. He worked and lived in Madrid, which he considers his second hometown, from 2001 to 2012. He is general editor for Perú 21 newspaper and associate editor for Etiqueta Negra Magazine (Peru). His work has been published in media outlets like Letras Libres (Spain and Mexico), El Comercio (Peru), Página 12 (Argentina), Paula (Chile), El Malpensante (Colombia), El País (Spain), El Mundo (Spain) and The Guardian (UK). In 2011 he published the book Perú en boca del mundo. In 2013 he was head of the organization of the I Encuentro Gastronómico Internacional Mistura.

Dimitris Antonopoulos – Greece, Turkey, Cyprus & Balkans

Acclaimed as Greece’s top gastro-journalist, Dimitris Antonopoulos is restaurant and wine critic and editor of “Athinorama”, as well as lifestyle editor of “Status”. He also finds the time to contribute to “Homme”and “Reportage” , and to create “Umami” magazine being also editor-in-chief. Antonopoulos supports Slow Food movement, and he is a member of the Greek Wine Journalists and Writers Association. He is a veteran at the Vinitaly annual wine fair and Vinexpo in Bordeaux which he attends as a Greek wine specialist.

Dirk de Prins – Benelux

From the late 1980’s to early 90’s de Prins worked on a series of television programmes on gastronomy called Krokant and started the radio programme Bistro & Co, a show incorporating talk and tips on cooking and gastronomy on Radio 2, the biggest national radio station in Belgium. 1995 saw the launch of de Prins’ most well-known cookery book, one of a total of six published to date, called La Cuisine des Belges. Four years later he became editor-in-chief at Ambiance Magazine, the market leader of gastronomic press in Belgium. Along with Radio 2, this remains his main pursuit.

Eleonora Cozzella – Italy

After studying philosophy at university, Eleonora Cozzella has worked as a free lance journalist for several newspapers (Messaggero, La Repubblica) and TV networks. She is very passionate about travel, enology and gastronomy and is the editor of the food&wine web sites of L’Espresso Editorial Group where she writes reports and video reports about the most important national and international food events. She also collaborates on articles for the weekly magazine L’Espresso and is one of the restaurant critics of the Italian restaurants leading guide L’Espresso.

Evelyn Chen – South-East Asia (South)

Based in Singapore, Evelyn is the local editor of Zagat and a former Time Out food critic who contributes to numerous premium publications including New York Times, Telegraph Travel, Conde Nast Traveller and CNN Travel, as well as writing her own well-established blog, Bibik Gourmand. She has also appeared in numerous food-related TV programmes including Asian Ace, 3 Chefs 1 City and The Toque 12.

Hannes Konzett – Austria & Switzerland

Hannes Konzett is the founder of the Oscar´s Guide (7 books) and Oscar´s Hotel & Restaurant Magazine, for whom he was editor-in-chief, responsible for the magazine in German-speaking countries, from 1999 until summer 2010. Today he works for different media in the field of gastronomy and is responsible for the gastronomy website www.genussziele.com launching in December 2010.

Jade George – Middle East

Jade’s relationship with food has been a long and curious one. In 2011 she co-founded Art And Then Some, an independent publishing house in Beirut, Lebanon. She is the editorial director of The Carton, a food culture print magazine they publish, which is centred on Middle Eastern culture. Prior to this, Jade was senior editor and food critic for Time Out magazine in Beirut and has worked in restaurant concept building in the region. Her travels always revolve around food discoveries and documentation and she’s seldom back empty handed.

Josimar Melo – Brazil

Journalist and culinary critic Josimar Melo is the food editor of “Folha de S.Paulo” Brazil’s leading daily newspaper. He is also the host of the National Geographic Channel show, “The Guide”, where he travels the world looking at the food and culture of different countries. He also lectures in history of gastronomy at the Anhembi- Morumbi University in the city, is the founding director of gastronomic website “Basilico” and has the “Blog do Josimar” (josimarmelo.blog.uol.com.br). He publishes “Guide Josimar Melo” annually. A culinary guide, it gives Melo the opportunity to share more than one thousand establishments with his dedicated food-loving followers. His book “Berinjela se Escreve com J” is a grammatical guide to the correct names and terms of food. He is also the author of the book ‘A Cerveja’ (the beer).

Kenneth Nars – Finland, Baltics & Central Europe

A freelance food writer living in Helsinki, Finland, Nars has been the restaurant critic at Finnish daily Hufvudstadsbladet since 1998. He is a contributing editor at Swedish Mat & Vanner, Monocle, Scanorama, Finnish Gloria Food & Wine and German magazine NORR. He is also a food reporter on FST5/YLE TV-channel and the editor of radio food series at the Finnish Broadcasting Company YLE. He has published two cookbooks. A keen and proficient cook, Nars ran his own catering firm in the 1990s. He graduated from the University of Helsinki in 1999 with an MA thesis on the restaurant culture in Helsinki in 1880-1920.

Lars Peder Hedberg – Denmark, Norway & Sweden

The co-founder of corporate communications group Intellecta, one of Scandinavia’s largest and most successful – listed at Nasdaq OMX Nordic Exchange – Lars Peder Hedberg is also the founder and publisher/editorial director of White Guide and Gourmet Magazine in Sweden, two institutions with massive influence on Scandinavian gastronomy. White Guide lists and reviews more than 500 Swedish restaurants annually. Lars Peder lives in Stockholm and Cape Town, but spends some 120 days of the year travelling all over the world, especially in the US and Asia. He eats out at least 300 times a year but keeps his BMI around 21, quoting great genes and short connections between flights.

Mason Florence – South-East Asia (North)

A native New Yorker, Mason Florence moved to Thailand in 2002 after 12 years in Japan as a Kyoto-based correspondent for The Japan Times newspaper and a travel guide book author for Lonely Planet publications (titles include Japan, Kyoto, Hiking in Japan, Vietnam, Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Southeast Asia, etc.). As founder of Talisman Media Group, he has created publications including Bangkok 101 magazine (www.bangkok101.com) and BAM!, the Bangkok Art Map (www.bangkokartmap.com). Since 2008 Mason has been executive director of the Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office (MTCO), an intergovernmental body uniting the national tourism organizations (NTOs) of the Greater Mekong Sub-region (GMS) and working to promote the six countries along the Mekong River as a single travel destination.

Mitchell Davis – East USA & East Canada

Mitchell Davis is a cookbook author and food journalist with a Ph.D. in Food Studies from New York University. A graduate of Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration, Davis spent two years cooking and eating in France and Italy before settling in New York City to write about food. He joined the staff of the James Beard Foundation in 1993. Davis’s most recent cookbook is Kitchen Sense (Clarkson Potter), he is the author of two other cookbooks, Cook Something (Macmillan) and The Mensch Chef (Clarkson Potter), and is the co-author with Michael Ginor of Foie Gras…A Passion (Wiley), which won the International Cookbook Review’s Prix la Mazille for Best International Cookbook of the Year. Davis’s articles about food, restaurants, and travel appear regularly in magazines such as GQ, Food & Wine, and the Art of Eating. He has a weekly radio show called Taste Matters on HeritageRadioNetwork.com and tweets food and restaurant recommendations on @KitchenSense. His academic work focuses on the role of restaurant reviews and their influence on taste. Davis is a frequent guest lecturer and panelist on a variety of food-related topics, and has taught food and theory classes at Yale, New York, and Cornell Universities.

Pablo Banos – Central America, Mexico & the Caribbean

Editor and Founder of Mi Vino Mexico and columnist for El Financiero newspaper, Pablo Banos has been involved in food and wine for the past 25 years. He is president of Gomez Cruzado, a winery in Spain, and is a member of the Asociacion Mexicana de Cata.

Pat Nourse – Oceania, Australia and New Zealand

Pat Nourse is the deputy editor and chief restaurant critic for Australia’s leading food magazine, Australian Gourmet Traveller. He spends much of his time travelling the country as the editor of the magazine’s annual restaurant guide, the only national guide of its kind in Australia. An award-winning journalist, Nourse has written about food, drink and travel for numerous Australian publications, as well as for the likes of Saveur, Lonely Planet and Time Out, and was the Australian correspondent for Gourmet magazine in the US.

Raquel Rosemberg – South America (excl. Brazil)

Raquel Rosemberg is a true ‘porteña’ from the city of Buenos Aires. Passionate about flavours, she works as a gastronomic and travel journalist, writing for Argentine and international publications including Ollas & Sartenes and Viajes, both part of Clarín newspaper. Her personal site, Sabores que Matan, or Flavours that kill, was inspired by her first book of the same name, a collection of articles written over her career about food and drink in the noir genre and published by Editorial Paidós. Rosemberg also has a degree in social communication.

Rashmi Uday Singh – India, Central Asia & Subcontinent

Winner of “The Best of the Best” World Gourmand Awards in Paris (2009) in Frankfurt (2008) and Kuala Lumpur (2006) for her books, Rashmi Uday Singh, is synonymous with Good Food for the past two decades.Having studied law and management, she worked with the prestigious Indian Revenue Service, which she quit after fifteen years as Deputy Commissioner to follow her creative muse in newsprint and television.

www.rashmiudaysingh.com

Roser Torras – Spain & Portugal

Roser Torras is the owner and director of Grup GSR, which organises many of Spain’s most successful food and wine events including Gastronomika in San Sebastián and BCN Vanguardia in Barcelona. An accomplished chef herself, she is respected throughout the region for her integrity and deep knowledge of the restaurant sector. Roser is also owner of the e-magazine www.7canibales.com, a leading website dedicated to information and comment on the food and wine industry, whose contributors include food critics from Spain’s leading newspapers.

S. Irene Virbila – West USA, West Canada

S. Irene Virbila has been restaurant critic for the Los Angeles Times since 1994 where her reviews have won the James Beard Foundation Award in 1997 and the American Food Journalists Award in 2005. Previously, as a freelancer, she traveled extensively through Europe and Asia researching stories on food, wine and travel for Wine Spectator…

Steve Dolinsky – Mid USA & Mid Canada

Steve Dolinsky is a James Beard Award winner twelve times over for his TV and Radio work in the USA and is currently the Food Reporter for ABC7 in Chicago. Steve has also been heard on Public Radio International’s The World, a co-production of WGBH-Boston and the BBC World News Service. In addition to his busy schedule of writing, broadcasting, and consulting, Dolinsky is also very involved in several hunger-relief agencies in the Chicago area, including Meals on Wheels and Share Our Strength.

Susan Jung – Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan

Susan Jung was born in Monterey Park, California, into a family of food lovers. She received her degree in English Literature from UC Berkeley, then decided to become a pastry chef. After completing a two-year pastry apprenticeship at the Hyatt Regency San Francisco, she moved to New York City to work at the Grand Hyatt and then the Peninsula hotels.

Susan moved to Hong Kong and worked as a pastry chef for several restaurants before being offered the job as food and wine editor for the English language paper, the South China Morning Post. As senior food and wine editor, she reviews restaurants and writes weekly columns on cooking, cookbooks, ingredients and the Hong Kong food scene. Her cookbook, A Celebration of Food, was published in 2012.

Takanori Nakamura – Japan

Takanori Nakamura is a journalist and television presenter born in Hayama (Japan) in 1964. He writes and commentates on luxury lifestyle covering fashion, culture, gourmet, travel and hotels.

Tamsin Snyman – Africa

Tamsin trained in Promotions, Marketing and Business Communication before joining Lannice’s publishing company in 1994. She took a two-year break working for CCAfrica (Conservation Corporation Africa). Based at Ngala Private Game Reserve in the Northern Province, she held the positions of Head Chef and Guest Relations Manager.

On her return to Cape Town, she was appointed Special Projects Manager of Lannice Snyman Publishers, handling specific publishing contracts and most of styling required for the company. In addition she formed her own business, Bay Gourmet, specialising in high-end catering and event creation for exclusive clients.

Tamsin is CEO of the SA Barbecue Association, organisers of the third Annual World Barbecue Championships held in Cape Town in 2001 and the South African Barbecue Championships in 2002 and 2003. In 2000 she was a member of the South African team that competed in the World Barbecue Championships in Tennessee.

Tamsin is a culinary consultant and revamps and designs restaurant menus, trains their chefs and implements operating systems. She is particularly dedicated to South African cuisine and ensures that it receives the recognition it deserves.

Lannice Snyman passed away in May 2010 and has left a legacy that will be continued by Tamsin as she steps into her mother’s shoes and moves forward with the same commitment and passion that Lannice had to the food industry.

Thomas Ruhl – Germany

Thomas Ruhl is a well-known food photographer who has already received numerous awards and prizes for his work. He is also founder, publisher and editor in chief of Port Culinaire, a culinary anthology and gourmet magazine published in Germany since 2006, offering coverage, travelogues, recipes created by top level-chefs and product stories to ambitious readers. Furthermore, he has issued more than twenty books.

Xanthe Clay – UK & Ireland

Xanthe Clay is a Leith’s trained chef turned food writer with a regular column in the UK’s Weekend Telegraph. Having travelled widely in Africa, South America and China, as well as Europe, she contributes to publications including Good Food magazine, Olive, Food & Travel and Delicious, as well as working with the BBC on its television food programming. She is the current President of the Guild of Food Writers in the UK.