The world has a new culinary capital. The two best restaurants in the world are located in Copenhagen, Denmark. At the Oscars for Gastronomy, Chef Rene Redzepi’s Noma was named the best restaurant in the world. In 2019, the last time the list was compiled, it was still number two.
Noma has been named the best restaurant in the world four times (2010, 2011, 2012 and 2014). The name of the restaurant is a combination of the Danish words “nordisk” (Scandinavian) and “mad” (food). It was opened in 2003 on a pier in the center of Copenhagen. In 2018, I moved to an area a bit more out of town. Recently, after years of waiting, it also received its third Michelin star.
Second place is geranium from Chef Rasmus Kofod. They were fifth last year. Bronze went to Asador Etxebarri in Axpe, Spain. They also finished third last year.
Hof Van Cleve in Kruisem, run by chef Peter Goossens, is ranked 36th among the best restaurants in the world. This puts him ahead by seven places. In 2019, the last time the list was made, his restaurant was still 43rd. Altogether, I’ve been on the list for fifteen years, Goossens says. “I think that’s a punishment for a little Kruechotem Belgian. I knew that menu was born. Many of the restaurants I had at the time, had been out for a while. I’m proud of that.”
Could he or any other Belgian restaurant win? “No. You have to have a lot of money to win. Bring the international press – and they vote – to you for a year or two. Put them on board. Our restaurants don’t have these resources. Our location plays a role too. Where do many food journalists go? To Barcelona Madrid, New York…not Kruechotem. That’s why I think it’s a wonder of the world that I’m still on the list after all these years.”
How did he succeed? My kitchen is smokeless and has no flowers in it. My kitchen is what people want when they go to a restaurant: good food, good food, to be well received. This is our DNA.”
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Fifty of the world’s 100 best restaurants are already known. It comes down to the numbers 100 to 51, and on that list are Willem Healy in Coccidi at 77 and The Jane in Antwerp by Nick Brill at 66. The first 50 will be announced on Tuesday afternoon at a festive gala in Antwerp. The event will be attended by 750 people from 40 different countries. Flanders paid €400,000 to bring the awards ceremony here. Antwerp added another 400,000 euros.
W50B is always eagerly anticipated as the menu rewards more than just the food served. It relates to the whole experience and often points to trends that will find acceptance everywhere in the coming years. This happened, for example, with the molecular cuisine of Spanish El Bulli, which was already number one on the list four times, but also with the increasing success of local ingredients under the rush of Noma in Copenhagen.
In the previous version, Brazilian chef Mauro Colagreco of the southern French restaurant Mirazur was at the top of the line. We had a chat with him on the eve of the awards ceremony.