Entries tagged with “Mugaritz”.


A brand new international restaurant award system has named Wolfgat The Restaurant of the Year in the World Restaurant Awards, at a ceremony in Paris on Monday. The restaurant also won the award for Off-Map Destination. Three other top South African restaurants were nominated in categories of the World Restaurant Awards, from Cape Town, Somerset West, and Pretoria.  (more…)

In an exciting ceremony live streamed from Melbourne at midday, Eleven Madison Park was named as the best World’s 50 Best Restaurant, an accolade it last achieved seven years ago. A number of exciting restaurant rankings are reflected in the 2017 World’s 50 Best Restaurant list. I have been fortunate to eat at some of the World’s 50 Best Restaurants in New York, London, and in France, in the past ten months. Our reviews of some of these follow below. (more…)

imageWhen I think of a Michelin star restaurant, I think of a restaurant at an elevated level of food, service, and decor. Never would I have imagined that two Michelin star Atera in TriBeCa in New York would serve its dinner to heavy loud rock music! (more…)

Worlds 50 Best 2016It has been an exciting early morning, with the World’s 50 Best Restaurants announced from Cipriani Wall Street in New York from 2h00 this morning. The Test Kitchen has done our country and Cape Town in particular proud, by becoming the 22nd Best Restaurant in the World! Osteria Francescana in Modena in Italy, owned by Chef Massimo Bottura, is the World’s Best Restaurant. (more…)

World's 50 Best Restaurants logoChef Luke Dale-Roberts’ The Test Kitchen was named the 28th best restaurant in the world and Best in Africa, at the 14th The World’s 50 Best Restaurants ceremony in London last night, a 20 place climb from his 48th position last year, and 61st position in 2013.  El Celler de Can Roca was World's 50 Best Test Kitchenranked as the Best Restaurant in the World, the second time it has received this honour.  Regular winner Noma dropped to third place. Spain received the most 50 Best Restaurant Awards (7), followed by the USA (6), and France (5).  Both The Test Kitchen and World’s 50 Best Restaurants trended on Twitter last night.

El Celler de Can Roca is based in Giron in Spain, and is run by the three Roca brothers Josep, Joan,and Jordi, who opened their restaurant in 1986. They pioneered sous-vide cooking, and are described as creating ‘magic without undue theatrics’. Brother Joan is the head chef, Jordi is the Pastry Chef, and Josep is the Sommelier and Front of House.   In 2013 they were also named the best restaurant in the world. (more…)

Maison Interior changes Whale CottageThe Kitchen and Tasting Room at Maison has been operating for almost three years, and during its recent two month winter break, a number of changes were made to the interior, to the menu, with further changes on the way.

Ten days ago I visited Maison after a long absence, mostly due to the winter closure, and my less frequent visits to Franschhoek in the winter months.  In walking to The Kitchen and Tasting Room at Maison it was a delight to see that the uncomfortable stony entrance walkway has been replaced with very comfortable walkable wooden decking.  Tables and chairs have been set up on the front lawn, to allow for overflow of unbooked guests.  Inside, the ceiling near the pass has been redone with wooden Maison wooden deck Whale Cottagecladding, as has a wall alongside the fireplace.   New lamps have been hung, looking like seahorses to me.  Lamps have been erected above the pass, with shelving above it, and the pass exterior has been wood-clad as well.

The biggest change is that a Deli is to be introduced in the winetasting section, on the right as one enters the building, with a bar counter, at which one will be able to taste six to eight Maison wines (the number is still to be finalised), each paired with two tapas-like bites reflecting some of the dishes which Chef Arno (more…)

World's 50 Best Restaurants logoThe eagerly awaited 12th The World’s 50 Best Restaurant Awards was held last night at The Guildhall in London, and the Top 50 Restaurants were announced. Restaurants ranked 51st – 100th were listed on the Awards website, which crashed just after the Awards ceremony!

The initiative of Restaurant magazine in the UK, and using 900 judges from around the world, a total of 6552 votes were cast to vote for the world’s best restaurants.  The world was divided into 26 regions, chaired by an expert for that region.  Tamsin Snyman heads the Africa panel of 36 members, who had to eat at 4 local as well as at 3 international restaurants to cast their vote.  No score is required – the vote is purely for the best restaurants they ate at, and must be presented in ranked order.  Every year 10 panelists step down per region, to be replaced by new ones.   For the first time in seven years Snyman did not attend, for family reasons.

The biggest surprise was that Noma in Copenhagen went back to its number one (more…)

While South Africa did not make the The Restaurant S.Pellegrino & Aqua Panna The World’s 50 Best Restaurants 2013 list, Cape Town’s The Test Kitchen was singled out in a newly introduced award ‘One to Watch’, proudly received by Owner/Chef Luke Dale-Roberts, which also made 61st position.  Noma’s hold of the number one position on the world restaurant list in the past three years has been broken, with the three Roca brothers at El Celler de Can Roca taking over the coveted top world restaurant accolade.

A Lifetime Achievement Award, sponsored by Diners Club, went to Chef Alain Ducasse, while the World’s Best Female Chef Award went to Nadia Santini of Dal Pescatore in Italy, which has had 3 Michelin stars since 1996!  The Chef’s Choice Award went to Grant Achatz, of Alinea in Chicago.  The Highest Climber Award went to Astrid y Gastón in Lima, Peru, climbing 21 places to number 14.  The Sustainable Restaurant Award went to Narisawa in Tokyo, also winning the accolade of best Asian restaurant.

El Celler de Can Roca is based in Giron in Spain, and is run by the three Roca brothers Josep, Joan,and Jordi, who opened their restaurant in 1986. They were in second place for the past two years. They pioneered sous-vide cooking, and are described as creating ‘magic without undue theatrics’. Brother Joan is the head chef, Jordi is the Pastry Chef, and Josep is the Sommelier and Front of House.  Noma slipped to second place, having set a new benchmark for Nordic cuisine, but was dealt a bad blow when numerous customers suffered a very bad virus after eating at the restaurant earlier this year. South African chefs Eric Bulpitt (now of The Roundhouse), Chris Erasmus at Pierneef à La Motte, and Shaun Schoeman at Fyndraai all have done a stage at this world-renowned restaurant.

The Test Kitchen (left) improved its ranking from last year’s 74th position by 13 places this year, while The Tasting Room at Le Quartier Français improved by four positions to number 53.  Until two years ago the latter restaurant featured in the top 50 list.

The 900 international judges each submit their top seven ranked restaurants, of which three must be from outside their country, based on eating experiences in the past eighteen months.

The World’s 50 Best Restaurants 2013 list is the following, allegedly leaked by a Spanish journalist earlier yesterday, with six French and six American restaurants in the 50 Best Restaurant list, five from Spain, and four from Italy:

1. El Celler de Can Roca, Girona, Spain
2. Noma Copenhagen, Denmark
3. Osteria Francescana Modena, Italy
4. Mugaritz San Sebastián, Spain
5. Eleven Madison Park New York, USA
6. D.O.M. São Paulo, Brazil
7. Dinner by Heston Blumenthal, London, UK
8. Arzak San Sebastián, Spain
9. Steirereck Vienna, Austria
10. Vendôme Bergisch Gladbach, Germany
11. Per Se New York, USA
12. Frantzén/Lindeberg Estocolomo, Sweden
13. The Ledbury London
14. Astrid y Gastón Lima, Perú
15. Alinea Chicago,
16. L’Arpège París, France
17. Pujol México DF, México
18. Le Chateaubriand París, France
19. Le Bernardin New York
20. Narisawa Tokio, Japan
21. Attica Melbourne, Australia
22. Nihonryori RyuGin Tokyo, Japan
23. L’Astrance París, France
24. L’Atelier Saint-Germain de Joël Robuchon París, France
25. Hof Van Cleve Kruishoutem, Belgium
26. Quique Dacosta Dénia, Spain
27. Le Calandre Rubano, Italy
28. Mirazur Menton, France
29. Daniel New York, UK
30. Aqua Wolfsburg, Germany
31. Biko México DF, México
32. Nahm Bangkok, Thailand
33. The Fat Duck Bray, UK
34. Fäviken Järpen, Sweden
35. Oud Sluis Sluis, The Netherlands
36. Amber Hong Kong, China
37. Vila Joya Albufeira, Portugal
38. Restaurant Andre Singapore
39. 8 1/2 Otto E Mezzo Bombana Hong Kong, China
40. Combal.Zero Rivoli, Italy
41. Piazza Duomo Alba, Italy
42. Schloss Schauenstein Fürstenau, Switzerland
43. Mr & Mrs Bund Shanghai, China
44. Asador Etxebarri Atxondo, Spain
45. Geranium Copenhagen, Denmark
46. Mani São Paulo, Brazil
47. The French Laundry Yountville, USA
48. Quay Sydney, Australia
49. Septime París, France
50. Central Lima, Perú

Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com Twitter: @WhaleCottage

Chef Rene Redzepi’s noma restaurant won the World’s 50 Best Restaurants for the third time last night, the tenth year that the Awards ceremony has been held.  The event was sponsored by San Pellegrino and Acqua Panna, was held at The Guildhall in London, and was attended by 600 of the world’s top chefs and restaurant judges. A shock was that, for the first time in many years, no South African restaurant made it onto the Top 50 list.

The Top 20 World’s 50 Best Restaurants are the following (with last year’s ranking in brackets), from The Telegraph :

1 (1) Noma, Copenhagen, Denmark

2 (2) El Celler de Can Roca, Girona, Spain

3 (3) Mugaritz, San Sebastian, Spain

4 (7) D.O.M., Sao Paolo, Brazil

5 (4) Osteria Francescana, Modena, Italy

6 (10) Per Se, New York, USA

7 (6) Alinea, Chicago, USA

8 (8) Arzak, San Sebastian, Spain

9 (-) Dinner by Heston Blumenthal, London, UK

10 (24) Eleven Madison Park, New York, USA

11 (22) Steirereck, Vienna, Austria

12 (14) L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon, Paris, France

13 (5) The Fat Duck, Bray, UK

14 (34) The Ledbury, London, UK

15 (9) Le Chateaubriand, Paris, France

16 (19) L’Arpege, Paris, France

17 (16) Pierre Gagnaire, Paris, France

18 (13) L’Astrance, Paris, France

19 (18) Le Bernardin, New York, USA

20 (57) Frantzen/Lindeberg, Stockholm, Sweden

France narrowly leads with seven awards on the top 50 list, followed by six for the USA, five for Spain, and three each going to Sweden, the United Kingdom, and Italy.

The Tasting Room at Le Quartier Français fell to its lowest ranking, at number 57, after a ranking of 36th last year, and 31st in 2010. Chef Luke Dale-Roberts of The Test Kitchen made 74th position – two years ago he reached the astounding 12th place whilst still at La Colombe.  Last year La Colombe made 82nd position, but did not make the top 100 list this year.  Last year Chef David Higgs’ Rust en Vrede achieved a ranking of 61st, but sadly he left the restaurant two months later.

The Award-winning restaurants were evaluated by 27 panels around the world, each with 30 members.  In South Africa the panel is chaired by Tamsin Snyman, stepping into the shoes of her late mother Lannice Snyman.  Members of the local panel are known to include Jos Baker, MasterChef SA Judge and Chef Pete Goffe-Wood, and owner of GOLD restaurant Cindy Muller.  Panel members had to evaluate four restaurants in their own country and three elsewhere in the world in the past eighteen months.

William Drew, editor of Restaurant magazine, organisers of the awards, said that the trend was to ‘much more diversity, both geographically and in terms of style.  We’ve seen twin trends. There’s globalization, in the sense that if someone in Japan is doing something interesting now, someone in South America may know about it quickly. Yet at the same time there’s a move toward local cooking’.

Attending the event was Ferran Adria of El Bulli, which he closed down last year.  The restaurant was named the World’s 50 Best Restaurant five times in the past ten years.  He said of the award: “There is no doubt the World’s 50 Best Restaurants has changed the history of gastronomy“.

In addition to announcing the World’s 50 Best Restaurants (and the 51 – 100 restaurants bubbling under), three additional awards were made last night. Elena Arzak from Arzak restaurant in San Sebastian in Spain was named as Veuve Clicquot World’s Best Female Chef. Thomas Keller, founder of Per Se and French Laundry in Yountville in California, won the San Pellegrino Lifetime Achievement Award.  The Slow Food UK Award went to Steiereck in Vienna, awarded for the first time last night.

What has been interesting over the past years has been the disparity between the performance of South Africa’s best restaurants on the Eat Out Top 10 Restaurants and on the World’s 50 Best Restaurant lists, Le Quartier Français always performing better on the international than on the local restaurant awards list.

Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com Twitter:@WhaleCottage

If it had not been for Cape Town urban farmer, eco-activist and food blogger Matt Allison addressing us at the Food & Wine Bloggers’ Club meetings in August and September, I would not have known about the MAD (means ‘food’ in Danish) Foodcamp ‘Planting Thoughts’ symposium, which he attended in August, as the only South African in an elite group of 250 hand-picked chefs, food scientists, foragers, microbiologists, and policy-makers.  The workshop resulted in an important appeal to chefs to change the world, by going back to the roots of food growing and sourcing.

The MAD Foodcamp was held in Copenhagen, and was organised by Chefs Rene Redzepi and Claus Meyer, co-founders of Noma (food photographs below from this restaurant), the top S. Pellegrino World 50 Best restaurant for two years running.  Concerned about the projected shortage of food, showing that food production must increase by 70 %, to feed an estimated population of 9 billion by 2050, Redzepi invited applications for attendees at his MAD Foodcamp. Fellow 50 Best Restaurant chefs who presented included Michel Bras from France, David Chang from momofuku Noodle Bar in New York, Alex Atala from D.O.M. in São Paulo, Daniel Patterson from Coi in San Fransisco, Yoshihiro Narisawa from Les Creations de Narisawa in Tokyo, Andoni Aduriz of Mugaritz in Spain, Gaston Acurio from Café del Museo in Lima in Peru, and Ben Shewry from Attica in Melbourne, reported the Sydney Morning Herald.

The following key recommendations resulted from the MAD Foodcamp:

*   Sourcing food locally is paramount, and it is available to chefs from their purveyors, and can be grown by themselves too. The impact of rising petrol prices on food prices will ensure that chefs seek more local food supply.  But local food is not always desirable, and nations should become proud of their culinary heritage again.

*   There will be a move away from meat, as it was in past generations.  Meat production impacts on the soil, energy usage, water supply, and carbon output, and therefore a new balance between proteins, cereals and vegetables needs to be found.  Chef Michel Bras said that vegetables should be made to be as important and as desirable as meat in restaurants.

*   Soil plays a role too, and Chef Yoshihiro Narisawa serves a soup made from organic soil.  Ideally, food planted should not have to be irrigated and spayed with chemicals.  Monocultures are destructive to the soil. Rice, wheat, corn and potatoes supply 60% of calories, and chefs are challenged to make something new with them, but should instead look at finding bygone varieties.

*   Food foraging is all the trend, and edible plants could help make up the shortage of food.   Ethnobotanist François Couplan has identified 80000 varieties of edible plants, documented in 65 books he has written. Many of these have greater health benefits than the foods that we know.  Author of ‘The Forager Handbook’, Miles Irving said that wild foods are the ultimate in being seasonal, local and sustainable, and that ‘there is treasure in the woods and fields’. Chefs who forage need to know which plants and other foods are plentiful, and which are scarce and endangered.

*   Urban gardens are an answer to food shortages too, and we have seen Matt becoming a local urban farmer, renting unused land from the City of Cape Town to grow vegetables.  It is estimated that New York could produce 3 million tonnes of food per year on city rooftops, in parks and in private yards.  City beekeeping is being encouraged, and this honey is cleaner and healthier than that from the countryside, less contaminated with pesticides.

*   Insects are a valuable source of protein, and can also be used to address food shortages.  Chef Alex Atala encouraged delegates to eat Amazon ants, tasting of lemongrass and ginger. Other edible insects include ant eggs, grasshoppers, and termites.

*   Farmers should return to the old-fashioned way of hands-on farming.  Chefs are encouraged to connect with farmers, and to buy directly from them, rather than via agents or suppliers.

*   The focus should be on children and to re-introduce them to non-processed food, to teach them ‘what real food tastes like’, said Chef Daniel Patterson.

Matt Allison was interviewed about the MAD Foodcamp by Katie Parla for the New York Times as well as for her Blog.

MAD Foodcamp: www.madfoodcamp.dk

Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com Twitter: @WhaleCottage