Congrats to all!
I was especially happy to see Noma (#1), El Celler de Can Roca (#2), Le Chateaubriand (#9), Asador Etxebarri (#50) as well as several others, particularly the unsung heroes and underdogs (although I still cheer on those who have already established themselves like Thomas Keller because I love Per Se). Of course this game of rank your best friend is subject to scrutiny but from a BOH (back-of-the-house) perspective, it’s always nice to see [formerly] lesser-known restaurants like Le Chateaubriand take a slice of the pie. (Heck, Le Chateaubriand still doesn’t even have a website. Talk about French brasserie.)
Part of me hopes this continues to happen, the other part of me is a word-of-mouth traditionalist [and perhaps selfish one at that] and doesn’t want hidden jewels to be discovered this way. With the advents of television, internet and smart phones, one night could change the rest of your life and mine. Yes, at times I feel very melodramatically Bourdain. I wake up in a sweat, having had nightmares of armageddon, where my hole-in-the-wall good eats are all of the sudden packed with guidebook-bearing, flashy-camera toting, self-proclaimed ‘foodies.’ Woof.
On a lighter note, a special gracias to my lovely friend Gabriella, for the impromptu hosting of the culinary British Oscars, the supply of Spanish wine, cured meats, your humor and my paraguas.
Joan Roca, Quique Dacosta y Martín Berasategui
This event reminded me that there are so many restaurants, chefs, and flavors yet to be discovered. It reminded me how much I don’t know. Every day I must taste, savor and create. On top of that I must read about and absorb the unfamiliar.