Costumes and dresses of the evening were of a release this Monday at the Palais Brongniart (Paris IIe). The World Restaurant Awards (WRA), new top gourmet launched by IMG – already at the origin of the festival Taste -, in partnership with Joe Warwick and Andrea Petrini, organized a large pump (red carpet, photocall and champagne) their first annual awards ceremony to an audience of heads (Alex Atala, Hélène Darroze, Dan Barber, Clare Smyth…), and “influencers” international. The ceremony, entirely in English, was presented by Antoine de Caunes, prodigal in jokes thrown in an accent frenchie .
Unlike the World’s 50 Best Restaurants, or to The List, the WRA does not pose as a classification, but as a record supposed to celebrate “excellence, integrity and diversity of the culinary scene of the world.” Eighteen price – more or less-shifted – were distributed Monday evening. The last, and most anticipated, was the “Restaurant of the year”. It is up to the Wolfgat, table confidential 20 seats located in a remote corner of South Africa, who left also with the price of the destination “Off-Map” (off the beaten path).
The restaurant’s chef, Kobus Van der Merwe, a former journalist who started in the kitchen as well as a 30-year-old, pushes to the extreme the concept of local products (mussels, oysters, plants, and herbs growing in the dunes, indigenous plants…) and manufactures its own bread and butter. The Wolfgat – whose staff, for the most part female, has no formal training – has opened its doors two years ago in a fishermen’s house old 130 years, near the site of the cave of Wolfgat, on the idyllic beach of Paternoster, 150 kilometres from Cape town on the west coast. The seven-course degustation menu here costs the equivalent of 53 euros.
Passard, Ducasse, la Mère Brazier and the Clarence award-winning Alain Ducasse sacred of the best “chef without a tattoo”. Dominique Charriau/ for IMG
36 countries were in competition, 10 went home with a prize. Among which the “novelty of the year” (Inua in Tokyo), “house specialty” (Lido 84 on lake Garda for its pasta cacio e pepe, cooked in a pig’s bladder), “without reservation” (Mocoto in Sao Paulo), “atmosphere of the year” (Vespertine in Los Angeles), or “free kitchen tweezers” (Bo.Lan, Bangkok).
Five French have also been honored: the Clarence (Paris Viii), price of “original approach” ; the Mère Brazier, Lyon (france), best “timeless classic” ; Alain Ducasse, “chef without a tattoo” and Alain Passard, best account “Instagram”.
Two initiatives of solidarity have finally been recognised: the Refettorio of Massimo Bottura and Lara Gilmore, who is fighting against food waste, and exclusion (category “ethical approach”), and the Refugee Food Festival, which allows chefs refugees to cook in the restaurants that host them (category “event of the year”).
The votes have been made by a jury composed of 100 members, with parity between men and women, composed of famous chefs such as Elena Arzak, Alex Atala, Massimo Bottura, David Chang, Hélène Darroze and René Redzepi, as well as journalists and “influencers”.