The results are in, and it's been a good year for Europe in general, grabbing six of the Top 10 restaurants on the World's 50 Best Restaurants list. But there could be only one winner and this year it was a return to the podium for Massimo Bottura and his Modena restaurant Osteria Francescana.
Bottura, in accepting the award, told his fellow chefs: "I'm going to use all these spotlights for all of us to show the world that chefs in 2018 that are much more than the sum of their restaurants. We can be a very loud voice for change if we stay together... Let's keep rock and roll and now, party!"
So it's been an interesting year for the UK and London. While we increased our total standing in the top 50 portion of the list from three to four with the addition of Shoreditch's Lyle's, a lot of our restaurants - Dinner by Heston, The Ledbury and The Clove Club slipped down the list.
And while we're thrilled by the getting one more London restaurant on there, we'll confess to being a little disappointed that Clare Smyth's Core didn't get on there - despite her being awarded World's Best Female Chef by the organisers. I mean that's odd right? There were restaurants on the Top 50 list with female head chefs (like Cosme) so if Clare's the best, why isn't Core on there? Answers on a postcard, please.
This year's ceremony kicked off in Bilbao with regular host Mark Durden Smith recalling the shenanigans after last year's winners: "The last time I saw the reigning champions, they were dancing on a bar in Melbourne showering everyone with champagne - by the way you owe me a dry cleaning bill.
Before the ceremony started the show's Group Editor William Drew referenced the various big hitters who had died over the past year. Talking about the most recent death of Anthony Bourdain who was found by his friend Eric Ripert who attended tonight's ceremony, Drew described him as "an agent provocateur - his stubborn truth-telling changed our industry for the better.
There were two other gastronomic losses, Gualtiero Marchesi - the first Italian chef to gain 3 Michelin stars and Paul Bocuse. "a pioneer of modern French cooking in the 20th century...the first ever 50 Best Lifetime Achievement Award winner."
Perhaps the most interesting part of the night came with London chef Clare Smyth accepting her award for World's Best Female Chef. She began by saying her standard answer to the question, what does it feel like to be such a successful female chef by saying; "I'm not sure what you mean, because I've never been a male chef.
"We all know that we don't see enough women represented at the top of our industry," she said, "we must make it a more pleasant working environment, we must make a conscious effort to redress the gender balance.
"There are no quick fixes...it's in what we do every day that will make the difference. I for one can't wait until we achieve equality and this debate moves on."
The World's 50 Best Restaurants 2018
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