Amidst controversy, The World’s 50 Best Restaurants remains one of the most coveted global rankings by restaurateurs worldwide.
Honorees for The World’s 50 Best Restaurants were announced in London, bestowing Copenhagen’s Geranium with the most coveted number one spot.
Hosted by Stanley Tucci, the 20-year-old global rankings have become one of the industry’s most desired.
A controversial 2019 rule change has prevented previous winners of the top spot from earning first place again. Since its 2002 inception, the organization has received criticism for not emphasizing enough historically colonized regions including Africa and the Indian subcontinent. In 2022, it included for the first time a list of Middle Eastern and North African restaurants. The top 51-100 global rankings listed one restaurant from India and two from South Africa.
A seeming lack of recognition for non-male chefs has been another point of contention—even with a pledge by 50 Best in 2018 ensuring 50 percent of the voting body would be women, only five establishments in the 2019 list were headed by female chefs.
The World’s 50 Best Restaurants has crowned Geranium in Copenhagen with the prestigious number one title.
Among those recognized for individual awards are:
Estrella Damm Chefs’ Choice Award 2022 – Jorge Vallejo (Quintonil, Mexico City)
The Mexican master, Jorge Vallejo, studied management and culinary arts at the Culinary Centre of Mexico and earned some kitchen experience on cruises before diving deep into restaurant work at the world-renowned Noma in Copenhagen as well as Pujol and Diana Restaurant in St. Regis Hotel, Mexico City.
American Express One To Watch Award 2022 – Alexandre Mazzia (AM par Alexandre Mazzia, Marseille, France)
Largely recognized as a fish- and vegetable-led establishment encapsulating global flavors enhanced by African cuisine, chef Alexandre Mazzia’s AM has received various national distinctions since 2014.
Gin Mare Art of Hospitality Award 2022 – Junghyun “JP” and Ellia Park (Atomix, New York City, USA)
Husband and wife team Junghyun “JP” and Ellia Park’s Atomix is a 14-seater restaurant offering a highly personal, specialized, intelligent, and intuitive hospitality experience with an elevated level of service.
Flor de Caña Sustainable Restaurant Award 2022 – Angel León (Aponiente, El Puerto de Santa Maria, Spain)
Chef Angel León’s Aponiente is lauded for its planet-friendly gastronomy characterized by sustainable fishing practices, stewardship of marshland, and water conversation, scoring a noteworthy 88% in the Sustainable Restaurant Award survey.
The World’s Best Pastry Chef 2022, sponsored by Sosa – René Frank (Coda, Berlin, Germany)
René Frank’s global fame stems from conceptualizing and serving small sophisticated contemporary dishes inspired by pastries, proving that dessert goes beyond being the final destination.
Beronia World’s Best Sommelier Award 2022 – Josep Roca (El Celler de Can Roca, Girona, Spain)
Josep Roca, sommelier and wine-pairing wizard with 40 years of experience, first served wine when he was a child in Can Roca, his parents’ modest restaurant.
Villa Massa Highest Climber Award 2022 – Billy Wagner and Micha Schäfe (Nobelhart & Schmutzig, Berlin, Germany)
Hyper-local, fun, and irreverent are some of the words to describe Germany’s most political restaurant, Nobelhart & Schmutzig.
The World’s Best Female Chef 2022, sponsored by Nude Glass – Leonor Espinosa (Leo, Bogotá, Columbia)
Leonor Espinosa never studied to be a chef but through her restaurant, Leo in Bogotá, she has been at the forefront of gastronomic innovations over the last 15 years.
Highest New Entry Award 2022, sponsored by Aspire Lifestyles – Mauro and Catia Uliassi (Uliassi, Senigallia, Italy)
Chef Mauro’s and sister Catia’s Uliassi features coastal cuisine using the finest Italian ingredients, mastering both balance and intrigue.
Icon Award 2022 – Wawira Njiru (Food For Education, Nairobi, Kenya)
Wawira Njiru is transforming tens of thousands of lives by incorporating her two passions, healthy food, and education, the cornerstones of Food for Education that feeds 40,000 school children a day.
Champions of Change 2022
Dieuveil Malonga (Chefs in Africa, Kigali, Rwanda)
Chefs in Africa created by Dieuveil Malonga has blossomed into a ground-breaking online platform that helps its more than 4,000 members overcome barriers like discrimination, lack of training, employment, and equipment.
Olia Hercules and Alissa Timoshkina (#CookForUkraine, London, United Kingdom)
In response to the war in Ukraine, Olia Hercules and Alissa Timoshkina joined forces to launch #CookForUkraine which aims to increase awareness and generate funds to help families affected by the conflict. It has raised and donated nearly £900,000 as of April 2022.
Koh Seng Choon (Dignity Kitchen, Singapore and Hong Kong)
Koh Seng Choon gave up his business and invested his life savings in opening Dignity Kitchen in Singapore in 2010 and in Hong Kong in 2019. It is Asia’s first community foodcourts managed by people with disabilities which have impacted the lives of hundreds of families.
Banner photo from Geranium by Claes Bech-Poulsen.