Proof that Singapore is a 'food capital': Odette restaurant is No 18 globally
Chef Julien Royer's modern French restaurant at the National Gallery jumped 10 spots to crack the Top 20 at yesterday's World's 50 Best Restaurants awards.
Singapore's Odette restaurant leapfrogged into the Top 20 of the World's 50 Best Restaurants at the ceremony held at the Marina Bay Sands' Sands Theatre on Tuesday night (Jun 25).
Helmed by chef-owner Julien Royer, the modern French restaurant located at the National Gallery climbed to No 18 on the list, up 10 spots from its ranking last year.
“It feels amazing! It’s an amazing journey since we started this place. Jumping 10 spots has been amazing," Royer told CNA Lifestyle after the ceremony. "Last year was our first year on the list. We were No 28 and one year later we are No 18 – so I guess 8 is our lucky number. So let’s push further and let’s work harder to be No 8 next year!”
Royer, who moved to Singapore in 2008, added that the globally-recognised awards being held in Singapore was proof of the country's standing in the world of gastronomy.
"Singapore cuisine is already well recognised and well established worldwide. I think this kind of event coming to the city is amazing – proof that Singapore has become a global destination and a food capital."
Launched in 2002, the 50 Best list has grown in prominence to rival the long-established Michelin star system. The ceremony in Singapore is the first to be held in Asia.
Compiled by William Reed Business Media, the Best 50 list is based on the experiences of more than 1,000 restaurant industry experts around the world.
Mirazur, on the French Riviera, was crowned No 1. The three-Michelin-starred restaurant in Menton climbed to the top from third last year, replacing Italy's Osteria Francescana.
Mirazur's menu, which includes dishes like salt-crusted beetroot from the garden with caviar cream, is inspired by the sea, the mountains and produce from its own gardens, which cascade over three levels.
Its Argentine-born chef Mauro Colagreco told Reuters he felt like he "was in the sky" after winning the award, which "showed the world when you have a dream all is possible". He and his team accepted the prize carrying a banner that combined the flags of Argentina, France, Brazil and Italy.
The only Asian restaurant in the Top 10 was Gaggan in Bangkok, Thailand, at No 4. Kolkata-born chef Gaggan Anand's playful menu includes a curry dish that diners are encouraged to lick from the plate, while music by rock band Kiss plays in the background.
After a change in the rules earlier this year, restaurants that previously topped the poll will no longer be eligible for the annual ranking. Past winners, including Osteria Francescana, joined a newly created "Best of the Best" category.
Rene Redzepi's re-opened Noma in Copenhagen, Denmark, debuted on the 2019 list at No 2. In its previous incarnation, Noma won the top title in 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2014.
Spain dominated the Top 10 list with three restaurants. Asador Etxebarri in Axpe was ranked No 3 for showing off simple ingredients by grilling them, while Mugaritz was seventh and Disfrutar came ninth.
Another Copenhagen restaurant, Geranium, was fifth on the list, while Paris's Arpege, where vegetables take centrestage, was No 8.
Peru, which has emerged in recent years as a top culinary destination, featured twice in the Top 10: Lima's Central remained sixth, while Japanese-Peruvian fusion outlet Maido, with its 50-hour-cooked beef short rib, was No 10.
TRIBUTE TO ANTHONY BOURDAIN
Earlier in the evening, Spanish-born chef Jose Andres received the inaugural global American Express Icon Award. He was honoured not only for his culinary contributions, but for his efforts to empower and connect communities around the world through food.
In 2010, Andres launched World Central Kitchen, a not-for-profit organisation set up to feed those affected by natural disasters.
“I feel a little guilty about having anything to do with receiving this type of award because it’s never about the one person – it’s always about the people," Andres told CNA Lifestyle. "This award isn’t for me. This is an award is for the more than 60,000 volunteers who are devoted to providing meals in the wake of natural disasters."
Andres took the opportunity to pay tribute to his friend Anthony Bourdain, the late TV personality and former chef.
"If someone else is to receive this Icon award, it’s Anthony Bourdain. Because we don’t think about it but his show is like a Trojan horse. It’s a Trojan horse of telling us all that you may look Asian, you may look African-American, you may look White Caucasian, you make look Native American, but in the end, we are all people that should not be afraid of each other, no matter the colour of your skin or your religion," said Andres.
"And that’s what Tony did. In a world that seems so big, Tony made it super small. That’s the beauty about the legacy of Tony.”