A new list announcement, awards ceremony and hybrid event programme will be hosted in Antwerp, Flanders later this year, following the Covid-induced pause of 2020. The events – in physical format and shared digitally across the globe – will mark a key milestone in ongoing efforts to support the recovery of the restaurant sector. Here’s the definitive what, where, why and how...
What is the plan?
On 5th October, the 2021 list of The World’s 50 Best Restaurants, sponsored by S.Pellegrino & Acqua Panna, will be revealed in a live countdown on stage and broadcast simultaneously across 50 Best’s digital channels including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube.
A full programme of gastronomic activity on the ground in the host region, including significant regular events such as thought-leadership forum #50BestTalks and the Chefs’ Feast, will complement the gala awards. Key moments will also be accessible via digital media to ensure all those unable to join in person do not miss out.
The 2019 edition of #50BestTalks featured chefs Eric Ripert, Ana Roš, Tetsuya Wakuda, Daniela Soto-Innes and Massimo Bottura
Between now and October, there will be a full calendar of announcements, articles, videos and awards as part of the ongoing 50 Best for Recovery project, which kicked off in 2020 in response to the fierce challenges facing the hospitality sector. This year’s programme includes a brand-new initiative called Champions of Change, which will highlight a select few unsung heroes of the restaurant sector who have used the extraordinary events of the last year as a springboard for positive action, whether through helping others, developing inspirational blueprints or creating a healthier planet. A substantial sum will be donated to each of the recipient’s causes from the 50 Best for Recovery Fund, created from money raised during the pandemic to support the hospitality sector. For more information about the 50 Best for Recovery project launched in support of the hospitality sector, see here.
Where are the awards taking place?
The gala awards ceremony will be hosted at the impressive and acronym-friendly Flanders Meeting & Convention Center Antwerp (FMCCA). For those less familiar with the geography of lowland Europe, Antwerp is a historic port city in Flanders, which is the Flemish-speaking northern region of Belgium. Antwerp is most famous for art, fashion, design and diamonds, but it also boasts a highly discerning culinary culture. Visitors to The World’s 50 Best Restaurants events will have the opportunity to explore the wider region of Flanders, which is home to premium food and drink producers as well as some the finest restaurants in Europe, making it something of a hidden foodie hotspot. All events will be prepared with the health security of attendees as the foremost priority and will be subject to international travel protocols and government guidelines. 50 Best is optimistic that the ongoing vaccine rollout will enable as many people as possible to meet together safely in Antwerp.
Antwerp's Grote Markt (image: Visit Flanders)
Why produce a list and awards ceremony when the pandemic is not over?
We believe 50 Best’s role in promoting restaurants and showcasing culinary talent is more important than ever – and that we can best support the recovery of the restaurant sector by inspiring diners to seek out exciting gastronomic experiences once again, whether near or far. Ultimately, the list serves as an economic stimulus for those restaurants featured by helping drive business into their establishments and helping restore confidence in the hospitality sector as a whole.
The presentation of The World’s 50 Best Restaurants 2021, along with the accompanying list of those restaurants ranked from 51st to 100th, will also provide a diverse range of global destinations for diners hungry for a return to travelling, once it is safe to do so. The event programme will also allow the global gastronomic community to reconnect in person, share experiences, celebrate resilience and reward brilliance. We are under no illusions about the restrictions that restaurants and diners still face in many parts of the world, but we aim to move forward in as positive a manner as possible.
In June 2019, Mirazur in Menton, France, was the latest venue to be named The World's Best Restaurant, sponsored by S.Pellegrino & Acqua Panna
How is the voting arranged, given dining restrictions and the lack of international travel opportunities?
The new ranking will take into account recent travel limitations and dining restrictions by combining the votes cast in January 2020 (which have never been published) and a ‘voting refresh’ which took place in March 2021. In March this year, each voter had the chance to update their 2020 selections based only on restaurant experiences in their own region in the 14 months since the previous voting round, reflecting the increased importance of local dining. Any establishments that have closed permanently or changed their fundamental concept since the voting will be removed from the ranking, though still acknowledged and celebrated as part of The World’s 50 Best Restaurants awards event.
In summary, the 2021 list will therefore be created from a combination of wider pre-pandemic experiences and, where possible, contemporary local updates, spanning the period from July 2019 through to March 2021.
Finally, how does 50 Best for Recovery fit in?
In 2020, 50 Best pivoted from publishing its annual ranking and hosting live events to focus on fund-raising and supporting the hospitality sector through its 50 Best for Recovery programme. With the generous backing of its partners, including S.Pellegrino and Acqua Panna, the programme raised $1.29 million to help provide tangible financial relief for hospitality businesses. It resulted in the distribution of grants to more than 200 restaurants and bars and donations being made to a series of fantastic non-profits organisations in the food and drink sector to assist with their vital work.
The 50 Best for Recovery initiative will continue throughout 2021
The World’s 50 Best Restaurants 2021 events, including Champions of Change, will form a key pillar in the organisation’s evolving 50 Best for Recovery initiative. Those selected as Champions of Change will receive a significant financial donation from the Recovery Fund to boost their initiatives. Furthermore, 50 Best will revisit a selection of grant recipients in the coming months to highlight inspirational stories of resilience and recovery.
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