William Drew, Director of Content for 50 Best, outlines why and how the organisation and its partners are pivoting to focus on fund-raising in aid of revitalisation
This year, you may have noticed, things are a little different.
For 18 years, The World’s 50 Best Restaurants has highlighted exceptional dining destinations, celebrated talented chefs, reflected gastronomic trends, stimulated debate, guided food lovers and influenced gastro-tourism in the process. In the current crisis – with so many restaurants shuttered, chefs isolated, discussion focused on a singular topic and travel plans on indefinite hold – we cannot fulfil our role in the usual way.
However, 50 Best – including The World’s 50 Best Bars and wider portfolio – has long been about more than just rankings. Through its lists, awards, live events and content, it has helped build an international community around food and drink, promoting collaboration and cooperation, fostering understanding and forging friendships in the process. And it is this sense of connection, this international network, this feeling of solidarity, that is more vital than ever when the hospitality sector is fighting for survival – and which we aim to utilise for the benefit of many.
Right now, restaurants and bars need actions more than words. Hence, the 50 Best organisation is channelling its energy and influence into supporting the industry through its 50 Best for Recovery programme.
What is 50 Best for Recovery?
It is a support programme with a fund-raising drive at its heart. With no awards or ranking planned for The World’s 50 Best Restaurants 2020, and the shape of The World’s 50 Best Bars 2020 under ongoing review, the focus is all about helping the process of recovery, not just for those fabled establishments that are part of the global elite, but for the hospitality sector as a whole. We will be using our network and reach to generate as much cash as possible to fund non-profit organisations across the globe which, in turn, are helping restaurants and bars in their bid to survive and thrive.
50 Best and its partners – led by S.Pellegrino, Acqua Panna and Perrier – are contributing significantly to the 50 Best Recovery Fund, but we also need the donations of food-and-drink-lovers across the globe in order to raise enough funds to make a significant positive impact for restaurants and bars.
Some iconic moments from The World's 50 Best Restaurants history
50 Best is publishing an e-cookbook entitled Home Comforts: simple lockdown recipes from the world’s best chefs and bartenders, which will be downloadable in return for a small donation in just a few weeks’ time, with all proceeds going directly into the Recovery Fund. Leading chefs have themselves largely been confined to their houses, prompting many to develop or revert to preparing easy but delicious dishes for themselves and their families – which they are now happy to share. Many recipes will be accompanied by complementary cocktail suggestions from the best bartenders on the planet. Stay tuned to 50 Best’s social channels to ensure you can download the e-book on the day of publication.
How to get involved…
Food and drink lovers will have the chance to engage further by taking part in a social media contest called #50BestRateMyPlate. Open to anyone across the globe, 50 Best is calling on home cooks and amateur mixologists to prepare dishes and cocktails inspired by the Home Comforts recipe book, with the best offerings judged by the relevant chefs and bartenders and posted on 50 Best’s social feed. Further details of how to participate will be communicated via our social channels and on the new 50 Best Recovery Hubs in the coming weeks.
At the beginning of July, 50 Best will also launch a ‘Bid for Recovery’ auction site, where diners can bid for a variety of out-of-this-world experiences and exceptional items donated by 50 Best chefs, bartenders and brand partners. Not only will foodies have the chance to book in a bespoke gastronomic delight they can look forward to, post-pandemic, but they will be helping accelerate the recovery process by doing so.
What are the Recovery Hubs?
Aside from raising funds, 50 Best launches two online Recovery Hubs, dedicated to restaurants and bars respectively. Here we are gathering and generating content that will offer advice, information and inspiration for restaurant and bar businesses, as well as further information for those looking to give back to the hospitality sector.
50 Best’s content channels will largely concentrate on ways in which we can all help recovery, as well as recognising the passion, skill and determination of restaurants, chefs, bartenders and their teams as they push towards reopening and revitalisation.
The World's 50 Best Bars community in 2019
This will build up to a major virtual event – the Recovery Summit – taking place over several days in September, with a clear focus on exploring how the restaurant world can thrive once again. Comprising a range of events including masterclasses, talks, case studies, interviews and discussion forums, the Summit will gather the global gastronomic community together online to share learnings and explore visions of the future for restaurants and diners.
Will rankings matter in the future?
The lists of The World’s 50 Best Restaurants and The World’s 50 Best Bars, as well as the regional lists in Asia and Latin America, are an important tool in the promotion of restaurants and bars internationally. They also provide inspiration for consumers hungry for exciting and varied experiences, exposing hidden gems and lesser-known culinary regions to the global spotlight. They also form the basis of wide-reaching projects such as 50 Best Discovery, which launched last year to look beyond the lists and reveal more restaurants and bars that are ripe to be explored.
That does not, however, mean that 50 Best will not evolve to reflect fundamental transformations brought about by the coronavirus pandemic. Consumer behaviours will no doubt change – whether in the medium-term or permanently; business models are already being adjusted; travel patterns radically altered; core values reassessed. No-one yet knows precisely what the food and drink sector will look like in months to come, let alone in the years ahead. Yet we strongly believe that the celebration of leading restaurants and bars will be more vital than ever in rebuilding confidence and excitement among the public around where they choose to eat and drink.
This will therefore continue to be a long-term focus for 50 Best. But right now: let’s work together to help restaurants and bars recover, reopen and bring moments of joy and togetherness to the world once again.
Visit the Restaurant Recovery Hub and the Bar Recovery Hub to explore useful resources and read the stories of chefs and bartenders around the world. Follow 50 Best on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube to stay up to date on how you can contribute to the Recovery Fund and to discover positive initiatives by the worldwide hospitality industry.