There’s certainly no shortage of food accolades these days, but the recent World Restaurant Awards might just be the most progressive – some say provocative – one yet.
For starters, winners were determined by a gender-balanced judging panel – a rarity in the traditionally male-dominated culinary industry. Plus, in a bid to celebrate contemporary culture, the awards included offbeat categories such as “Tweezer-Free Kitchen” and “Tattoo-Free Chef” – surely a tongue-in-cheek jibe at other more strait-laced award shows.
True to this ethos, the inaugural ceremony, which was held at Palais Brongniart in Paris on 18 February, was an informal, entertaining affair, with plenty of laughs (thanks to host Antoine de Caunes) and a rollicking playlist. Check out the list of winners below.
Big Plates Winners
Arrival of the Year – Inua (Tokyo, Japan)
House Special – Lido 84 (Lombardy, Italy)
Off-Map Destination – Wolfgat (Paternoster, South Africa)
Atmosphere of the Year – Vespertine (Los Angeles, USA)
No Reservations Required – Mocotó (São Paulo, Brazil)
Ethical Thinking – Refettorio (various locations)
Original Thinking – Le Clarence (Paris, France)
Enduring Classic – La Mère Brazier (Lyon, France)
Forward Drinking – Mugaritz (San Sebastian, Spain)
Event of the Year – Refugee Food Festival (worldwide)
Collaboration of the Year – Paradiso x Gortnanain (Cork, Ireland)
Restaurant of the Year – Wolfgat (Paternoster, South Africa)
Small Plates Winners
Tweezer-Free Kitchen – Bo.Lan (Bangkok, Thailand)
Instagram Account – @alain_passard
Tattoo-Free Chef – Alain Ducasse (Paris, France)
Trolley of the Year – Ballymaloe House (Cork, Ireland)
Red-Wine Serving Restaurant – Noble Rot (London, United Kingdom)
Long-Form Journalism – Lisa Abend, “The Food Circus”, Fool magazine