An update of 50 Best Restaurants, a review of our leak

So after we post our leak on the TableTalk forum, we received an incredible amount of interest in our little blog. Many thanks to all of you that took the time, it’s very flattering.

Back to the subject in hand, as we said at the time we’d already done 2 posts on the Friday when our source phoned us with a leak (not a prediction) concerning the 50 Best restaurant list and so we felt although it was a good story 3 posts in a day was too much.

Although the result for best restaurant in the world was correct in Noma, we seemed to have got 2nd & 3rd the wrong way round. Hmmmm, our source seemed so sure, yet on the morning of the awards there was a judges meeting. Now despite what Becky Paskin from the Restaurant Magazine might say on Twitter about the judges,

they didn’t know what was on list. Meeting was scheduled months ago…

This was contradicting what food writer & judge for The 50 Best, Jay Rayner actually posted as a comment on this site;

No mate, we did not change anything at the judge’s meeting because that’s not what we do. We don’t decide anything. The rankings are purely numerical. I agree that it does look like there was some form of leak, but yours was always wrong.

The conspiracy theories would then start, & at this stage in the proceedings nobody had predicted Noma, despite our post.

The day of the awards arrived, and our post was looking good until a Spanish website leaked the results a full hour before the conclusion of the list. Don’t believe me? Check the time it was posted, TypicallySpanish.com and then a food writer on Twitter did the same thing Lisa Abend , clearly having had some pressure put upon her she asked all the people that had retweeted her results to delete them saying;

I didn’t know it, but the news is embargoed until 21h GMT. Lots of people yelling at me. Would you mind deleting tweet? Thanks.

So at around 21:30 BST the results were finally released, mainly through Twitter admittedly but out in the open nether the less. As the host server keeps crashing you can download it from us; Here

Roll on 10 or so hours and the Food & Restaurant critic from L’Express had clearly gotten the hump with the poor showing of the french Superchefs, Gagnaire, Ducasse & Robuchon most notable, & the rise of the Spanish. So aggrieved by the politics of the behind the scenes lobbying he posted an open letter in his French paper’s column.

So we’ve used an online translator and created a PDF of the said page & you can judge for yourself, FRANÇOIS-RÉGIS GAUDRY LETTER to the 50 Best restaurant panel.

He raises some very interesting points about how the judges arrive at their decision & more notably the rise of the culinary Spanish armada over recent years.

We couldn’t possibly comment on his accusations concerning the connections with various agencies & PR companies, but it does raise some an insight into how it actually all works.

One of the criteria is that the judge must have eaten at the restaurants they nominate in the past 18 months. Now we have to ask how does this make it an annual award if some of the reviews are 18months old? People are always asking us how does St. Johns in London always make the list despite having varying reviews? Well, St Johns used to hold special lunch the day after the award ceremony and thus a large number of the judges would have eaten there in the time allowed by the criteria . So as the special lunch was held as Daniel Bouluds new restaurant at the Mandarin Oriental we expect it to make the list next year (despite it not opening until May 6th) and St Johns to drop out. Harsh? Maybe but that apparently is how it works.

So 50 Best Restaurants & Restaurant Magazine, you can deny that there was a leak all you want but lets face it, it’s not a nice feeling is it? So next time you publish a leaked Michelin list before publication date just remember this moment.

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Comments
4 Responses to “An update of 50 Best Restaurants, a review of our leak”
  1. Jay Rayner says:

    interesting piece.

    But just for clarity, as I have already said I too think there was a leak. I had been given the top three last week, and it was correct. At the Sunday night meeting we were not given the final result; only an alphabetical list. The list proper was not released until the following afternoon, under embargo.

    So when I said you were always wrong I admit a little self-confidence here: that the top three I was given last week and the final result were the same, whereas yours weren’t.

    But as I say the panel of chairs do not in any way influence the final result other than by voting and as for the L’express guy throwing his toys out the pram, well that just adds to the fun. Is the list perfect? Absolutely not. Is it a reasonable snap shot of 800 greedy peoples’ opinions? I think so. Is it the end of Western Civilisation? Hmm, let me think.

    IT’S JUST A BLOODY LIST. One we love arguing about. Everybody should calm down a bit

    Jay

  2. Stephen says:

    This blog is so ludicrous!!!! You should have a more balanced view

    You should be reading further afield

    See what chefs are saying.

    Heston B Mr. Blumenthal said the awards have engendered a spirit of cooperation between the world’s top chefs (WS Journal) “That spirit is the single best change that has happened in gastronomy. These awards reflect that—there is genuine pleasure when you see people moving up the ladder.”

    • chefhermes says:

      Why is it so ludicrous?

      If you actually worked in the catering industry, you would know that certainly the more experienced chefs rarely share their recipes. This is the reason why chefs do stages (working at another restaurant for free, to gain the experience), I believe stages at Heston’s Fat Duck are 6 weeks for the main kitchen & 3 months for the experimental kitchen. These are minimum figures which they will accept (according to the website), yes thats without pay.

      What I have posted is actually a reflection of what is reported in the media, of what is now a growing number of critics, all be it they are french.

      So how is that not a balanced view, if it wasn’t balanced I wouldn’t have allowed your comment to be posted.

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