At first glance this year's list doesn't seem all that exciting - after all the top three restaurants are exactly the same as last year. But if there is one big winner from this year's World's 50 Best list, it's Heston Blumenthal who joins Thomas Keller in the super-elite group of chefs with two restaurants in the Top 50. So although the Fat Duck slipped down the list from last year's 5 to no 13, Blumenthal also has his newest restaurant Dinner by Heston Blumenthal in the top 10 at number 9 which also won him this year's Highest New Entry Award.
It's also very good news for London's Brett Graham whose Notting Hill restaurant The Ledbury last year won the Highest New Entry and this year picked up Highest Climber Award for jumping 20 places to no. 14. That said, Mirazur Menton in France leapt a massive 44 places to number 24.
On the homefront there are three British restaurants in the Top 50 down from four last year, although now all are crucially in the Top 20. There's a further 5 in the top 100 - Viajante (80) Le Gavroche (88), Hibiscus (94), Sat Bains (97) and Hakkasan Mayfair (100). It's bad news though for Marcus Wareing and Daniel Boulud whose restaurants at the Berkeley and Mandarin hotels are off the list while the biggest faller is St John which last year was up at 50 and now isn't on the list at all.
American still rules the roost as far as the Top 50 goes with eight restaurants, narrowly pipping France with 7 although Spain is coming up fast with five (and two of those in the top 5).Spain's chefs also did well with Andoni Aduriz of Mugaritz picking up the much coveted Chef's Choice Award voted on by last year's top 50 chefs and Arzac's joint Head Chef Elena Arzak being awarded the Veuve Clicquot World’s Best Female Chef award.
Other key awards of the evening were Best North American restaurant and the S.Pellegrino Lifetime Achievement - both of which were won by Thomas Keller. La Grenouillère in northern France received the 2012 One To Watch award