I want to be a downhill Olympics competitor, but I don’t ski, so do I qualify?
Some chefs will do anything for a restaurant’s reputation to get onto the San Pellegrino’s list. And while many know it is just a spoof it influences the world. Now explain how can you have the “best” if there are no criteria for a restaurant to meet?
The reputation of being number one in the world should be held with some serious culinary credentials, and not what constitutes ‘best’ is left to the judgment of these trusted and well-traveled gourmets.
- Voting is strictly confidential before the awards’ announcement
- Each Academy member votes for 10 restaurants; at least 4 of these must be for restaurants outside their home region
- Academy members submit their 10 choices in order of preference
- Academy members must have eaten in the restaurants they nominate in the last 18 months – and are asked to confirm this fact for each of their nominations
- Academy members must confirm the date of their last visit to each of the restaurants they nominate
- Academy members are not permitted to vote for restaurants they own or have a financial interest in – and are asked to confirm this fact for each of their nominations
- Academy members cannot vote for a restaurant based on a dining experience that does not take place at the restaurant itself; for example, when a restaurant or chef stages dinners in different locations
- Academy members cannot vote for a restaurant that is closed or will close within 3 months of the lists being published. They, therefore, cannot vote for a temporary restaurant or ‘pop-up’
- Nominations must be made for the restaurant, not for the restaurateur or the chef (except in the case of special individual awards)
- Academy members should remain anonymous with regard to being on The World’s 50 Best Restaurants Academy
Where are these kinds of lists taking us, if we do not have a well-defined set of principles to guide us, and in order to compare any peer group. Consider the relationship between eating and emotion has always interested researchers and human behavior and education are key in our connection with food. This relationship varies according to the particular characteristics of the individual, and according to the specific emotional state or level of understanding and experience. There are both psychological and physiological factors that dictate the relationship we have between food, emotions and satisfaction.
Food’s necessary routine is more and more connected with our idea of a social being. The brain releases b-endorphins, a natural pleasure chemical when we eat our favorite foods. In the end, what we eat isn’t as important as the fact that we love eating it. The social aspects of food has always played an important role and will always as long as people respect the very nature of their roots.
In the past, the importance of food was more political hierarchy of a different kind. The tradition and art of Yusoku imperial cuisine was an essential part of a chef’s training in Japan. Without the art of the knife and a good understanding of ritual, technique, and customs, you couldn’t be a chef to the royal courts.
It is understandable food has been elevated to a more superfluous and superficial social status, hence the Pellegrino awards. Food, chefs and those judges have more to do with politics, power, and sponsorship than the chef and his talent – a true reality.