'Art work' pays off for world's best restaurant in Italy

BEAUTIFUL: A dish by Chef Bottura who creates plates that look like works of art.


    Jun 15, 2016

    'Art work' pays off for world's best restaurant in Italy


    ITALY'S Osteria Francescana was crowned world's best restaurant of 2016 at an awards ceremony in New York on Monday, the first Italian establishment to win the annual accolade.

    Run by chef Massimo Bottura, the eatery pipped last year's winner, Spain's El Celler de Can Roca, in the World's 50 Best Restaurants awards, after coming in second in 2015.

    The Italian chef, whose world-famous restaurant in Modena was ranked No. 3 in 2013 and 2014, was emotional in accepting his award.

    "I want to thank everyone because it's been so hard, our job is all about art work," an ecstatic Bottura told the ceremony. "It's all about our work, in the kitchen every day to work and succeed."

    With Spain's El Celler de Can Roca knocked down to second place, the third spot went to New York's Eleven Madison Park. The top 10 was rounded out by restaurants in Peru, Denmark (former four-time winner Noma), France, Spain, Japan and Austria.

    Three French chefs won individual honours, with Alain Passard of Arpege given a lifetime achievement award. French-born Dominique Crenn was named best female chef and Pierre Herme best pastry chef.

    The accolades came after critics complained last year that the system was open to abuse since the jury do not have to offer physical evidence of having actually visited any particular restaurant.

    The bulk of those complaints came from France which, in 2016, made it into the top 10 for the first time in three years but has never managed to win first prize.

    The board praised Bottura for his twists on traditional ingredients and his Five Ages of Parmigiano Reggiano in particular.

    The awards said he crafted the world-famous cheese into "forms and textures most diners will never have previously experienced".

    "The chef's ambitious creations perfectly balance the demands of honouring heritage while embracing modernity," the board added.

    They praised his menu of "deliciously executed classics" such as tagliatelle with hand-chopped ragu and risotto cooked with veal jus.

    The 2016 list included restaurants in 23 countries on six continents - but half were in Europe. Asia and the United States each had six in the top 50 while South America and Scandinavia each had five.

    Spain had seven restaurants on the list, including three in the top 10.

    The awards, run by trade magazine Restaurant, began in 2002 and have become a reference for the world's foodies.

    However, they were hit last year by allegations of cosy deals between restaurants and jury members.