About the Academy

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The World’s 50 Best Restaurants Academy is the mechanism used to create The World’s 50 Best Restaurants list. None of the employees of any of the sponsors associated with the awards votes or has any influence over the results. The Academy is comprised of over 1000 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 select a voting panel of 40 (including themselves) – ensuring a balanced selection of chefs, restaurateurs, food/restaurant journalists and well-travelled gourmets.

All voters, aside from the Academy Chairs and Vice Chairs, must remain anonymous. A minimum of 25% of the panel is renewed each year, and the Academy is split equally among male and female voters.

Learn more about how the voting works

The Academy Chairs

  • Cemre Narin

    Cemre Narin

    Academy Chair: Turkey, Greece & the Balkans

    Cemre Narin is an editor, cookbook author, event organizer and consultant based in Istanbul. She is the editor of all food and drinks content for the magazines Vogue and Condé Nast Traveller Turkey and also regularly contributes to other publications with articles on food culture. With former careers in marketing and psychology, she also works as a restaurant and trends consultant.
  • Christian Grünwald

    Christian Grünwald

    Academy Chair: Austria, Switzerland, Hungary & Slovenia

    Christian Grünwald has been the editor in chief of Austrian magazine A La Carte for over 20 years, a role that includes overseeing the Österreich A la Carte annual restaurant guide. The co-author of a number of chefs’ cookbooks, he also contributes to the Austrian TV show Frisch Gekocht (Freshly Cooked).
  • Cristina Jolonch

    Cristina Jolonch

    Academy Chair: Spain & Portugal

    Cristina Jolonch is a journalist with more than 25 years’ experience writing for La Vanguardia, one of Spain’s biggest newspapers. She has travelled extensively in Spain and internationally as a writer and editor, and recently co-directed Snacks: Bite for a Revolution, a documentary film about about the gastronomic revolution that took place in Spain triggered by the influence of the legendary El Bulli.
  • Crystyl Mo

    Crystyl Mo

    Academy Chair: China & Korea

    Crystyl Mo is a veteran food writer, entrepreneur and coach, who has been documenting China's dynamic restaurant scene for 15 years. The former Food Editor of Time Out Shanghai, Crystyl has contributed to publications including Travel + Leisure, Food & Wine, Condé Nast Traveler and The New York Times T Style Magazine. She has been a featured commentator on CNN, National Geographic, the BBC and CCTV. She is also Partner and Strategic Advisor at Bon App, Asia's most popular bilingual social dining app.
  • Daniel Greve

    Daniel Greve

    Academy Chair: South America (South, excl. Brazil)

    Based in Santiago, Chile, Daniel Greve is an established food and wine writer with a career spanning nearly two decades. A professional olive oil taster, he has also been a presenter for TV programmes focused on food in Chile and Argentina, and was a restaurant critic for Qué Pasa magazine until 2015. He founded and runs Emporio Creativo, a food and wine publishing company that produces Jigger magazine, the Nirvino.cl website, as well as recipe books and culinary guides.
  • Ekaterina Pugacheva

    Ekaterina Pugacheva

    Academy Chair: Russia, Central Asia & Eastern Europe

    Ekaterina Pugacheva is the owner and editorial director of travel guidebook publisher Argento Group, based between Moscow, Russia and Prague, Czech Republic. She is also editor in chief of Russian food title Posta Gourmet. An accomplished cook, she studied the science of cooking at Harvard University.
  • Eleonora Cozzella

    Eleonora Cozzella

    Academy Chair: Italy

    Eleonora Cozzella is the editor of all the food and wine websites in the L’Espresso Editorial Group. She also collaborates on articles for the weekly magazine, L’Espresso, and is a critic on Italy’s leading restaurant guide of the same name.
  • Evelyn Chen

    Evelyn Chen

    Academy Chair: South-East Asia (South)

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

    Jade George

    Academy Chair: Middle East

    Jade George co-founded Art And Then Some, an independent publishing house in Beirut, Lebanon, in 2011. She is editorial director of The Carton, a food culture magazine centred on Middle Eastern culture, and has previously worked as senior editor and food critic for Time Out Beirut.
  • Josimar Melo

    Josimar Melo

    Academy Chair: 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 food and culture in different countries.
  • Lars Peder Hedberg

    Lars Peder Hedberg

    Academy Chair: Scandinavia & Baltics

    Lars Peder Hedberg is co-founder of Scandinavia media company Intellecta. He is also the founder and publisher of the influential White Guide, which covers the restaurant scene in the Nordic countries and is now expanding globally through the 12forward by White Guide apps, identifying the 12 eateries in each world city pushing gastronomy forward.
  • Litti Kewkacha

    Litti Kewkacha

    Academy Chair: South-East Asia (North)

    Based in Bangkok, Litti is a passionate and highly regarded gastronome. Born and raised in Thailand, he has also spent time living in Singapore and the UK. He oversees a range of leisure and hospitality businesses in the fast-casual and fast-food sectors under the Kacha Brothers umbrella, and his family founded and owns the Safari World and Phuket FantaSea theme parks. He travels extensively and has visited almost every restaurant featured on the 50 Best lists, as well as numerous others, sharing his experiences on his popular Instagram account @litsfree.
  • Lorraine Haist

    Lorraine Haist

    Academy Chair: Germany

    Based in Berlin, Germany, Lorraine Haist is an established food and lifestyle journalist. After graduating in law, Haist embarked on a media career that has seen her work across leading newspapers, magazines and digital lifestyle channels. Now freelance, she was formerly a food and features editor at Welt am Sonntag in Berlin and for Elle in Munich. Haist writes about food, drinks, design and jewellery for publications including B-EatSalon and Süddeutsche Zeitung, as well as travelling extensively.
  • Mitchell Davis

    Mitchell Davis

    Academy Chair: East USA & East Canada

    Mitchell Davis is a cookbook author, food journalist and scholar, with a Ph.D. in food studies from NYU. He is chief strategy officer of the James Beard Foundation, where for more than 25 years he has helped direct the preeminent American food organisation’s programs on gastronomy, chef advocacy, and sustainability, as well as the Foundation’s prestigious awards. 
  • Nicolas Chatenier

    Nicolas Chatenier

    Academy Chair: France

    Writer and consultant Nicolas Chatenier has immersed himself in the world of French cuisine for more than 10 years. In 2012 he published Mémoires de Chef, a detailed and vibrant account of the Nouvelle Cuisine movement in France in the 1970s. He is a regular contributor on food and restaurant issues to Le Monde, Vanity Fair and GQ.
  • Paola Miglio

    Paola Miglio

    Academy Chair: South America (North) & Caribbean

    Based in Lima, Peru, Paola Miglio is an established food writer, editor and campaigner. She is the restaurant critic for Peruvian newspaper El Comercio and an editor and partner at food site www.eltrinche.com, as well as a co-founder of La Higuera, a database of Latin American women in gastronomy. Miglio also co-edited a book charting the recent history of Peruvian food entitled El Gusto es Nuestro (2018).
  • Pat Nourse

    Pat Nourse

    Academy Chair: Oceania, Australia & New Zealand

    Pat Nourse is a freelance food and drink journalist. Based in Sydney, he has reviewed restaurants for a living for 17 years. He was managing editor and chief restaurant critic for Gourmet Traveller and edited the magazine’s national restaurant guide for 14 years.
  • Rashmi Uday Singh

    Rashmi Uday Singh

    Academy Chair: India, Central Asia & Subcontinent

    Recently conferred the prestigious knighthood from the French Government, Chevalier ordre des Art et des Lettres and award-winning author of 37 books (including India's first restaurant guide), Rashmi Uday Singh studied journalism, literature, law, and management and trained with the BBC. Her weekly columns with The Times of India and TV shows (including Channel 4 with Gordon Ramsay) continue to be popular.
  • Steve Dolinsky

    Steve Dolinsky

    Academy Chair: Mid USA & Mid Canada

    Steve Dolinsky is Food Reporter for ABC 7 News in Chicago. He also covers food for Public Radio International’s “The World," travel sections in both The Chicago Tribune and Canada’s Globe and Mail, and he’s the co-creator/ producer/host of The Feed Podcast, with chef Rick Bayless. The show won the James Beard Award in 2015 for Best Podcast; that was Dolinsky’s 13th Beard Award – he’s also won previously for TV and radio excellence.
  • Susan Jung

    Susan Jung

    Academy Chair: Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan

    Susan Jung was born in California and moved to Hong Kong to work as a pastry chef before being offered a job at the South China Morning Post, where she reviews restaurants and writes weekly columns on cooking and the Hong Kong food scene. Her cookbook, A Celebration of Food, was published in 2012.
  • Takanori Nakamura

    Takanori Nakamura

    Academy Chair: Japan

    Takanori Nakamura is a leading Japanese columnist, contributing articles on fashion, culture, travel and gastronomy for newspapers and magazines as well as appearing on television. His series in Ryori Tushin Food Journal, where he cooks with top chefs, has been running for over 100 issues and has been published as a book.
  • Tamsin Snyman

    Tamsin Snyman

    Academy Chair: Africa

    Based in Cape Town, Tamsin owns her own culinary consultancy and cookbook publishing company. She is an editor and cookbook author, and she publishes the works of celebrated local culinary icons. Previously the food editor for Shape Magazine, she now contributes to various South African food publications. Tamsin heads up the annual American Express Platinum Fine Dining Awards in her country, which has been in existence for 18 years.
  • Valentina Ortiz Monasterio

    Valentina Ortiz Monasterio

    Academy Chair: Mexico and Central America

    Valentina Ortiz Monasterio has been involved in the world of gastronomy since she studied at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris in 2000. With a law degree, she has worked as a consultant in public affairs for 17 years. She founded the online daily newspaper animalgourmet.com in 2013 and set up a vineyard and wine project in 2015 in Baja California.
  • Virginia Miller

    Virginia Miller

    Academy Chair: West USA & West Canada

    Based in San Francisco, Virginia is an established food and drink writer. She grew up in the suburbs of Los Angeles and New York, before embarking on a career that has seen her work as an editor for Zagat, as national editor and VP for Table8, a critic for San Francisco Guardian and a Time Out columnist, as well as write for numerous international publications. She is equally fascinated by the drinks sector, regularly covering bars, cocktails and spirits for Liquor.com, Distiller and more. She launched her website, The Perfect Spot, in 2007.
  • Willem Asaert

    Willem Asaert

    Academy Chair: Benelux

    Willem Asaert, who is based in Antwerp, has been a food and restaurant writer for almost 20 years and is currently editor-in-chief of Culinaire Ambiance, the leading culinary magazine in Belgium. He has published numerous food-related books and served as a judge on several international cooking competitions. A graduate in economic history, he speaks four languages.
  • Xanthe Clay

    Xanthe Clay

    Academy Chair: UK & Ireland

    Xanthe Clay is a Leith’s trained chef-turned-food writer with a regular column in the Weekend Telegraph. She contributes to publications including Good Food magazine, Olive, Food & Travel and Delicious, as well as working with the BBC.
  • Jung-Yoon Choi

    Jung-Yoon Choi

    Academy Vice Chair: China & Korea

    Jung-Yoon Choi is a chef with 20 years of experience working in Spain, Australia and Korea. She was trained at Alicia Foundation and El Bulli and is now head chef of the Sempio Korean Fermentation Culinary Research Center in Korea. She travels around China, Europe and the USA, cooperating with top chefs and gastronomy-related professionals to research on Korea’s fermentation food culture. JY represents the Academy in Korea.
  • Kenneth Nars

    Kenneth Nars

    Academy Vice Chair: Scandinavia & Baltics

    A writer living in Helsinki, Kenneth Nars has been the restaurant critic at Finnish daily Hufvudstadsbladet since 1998. He is also a contributor at Swedish Gourmet, Monocle, Helsingin Sanomat and at German magazine Norr. Kenneth represents the Academy in Finland and the Baltics.