The Last World’s 50 Best Restaurants in London– And The 7 Asia Restaurants on the List

The winners of the 2015 World's 50 Best Restaurants at the awards ceremony at the Guildhall, London (Photo courtesy of World's 50 Best)
The winners of the 2015 World's 50 Best Restaurants at the awards ceremony at the Guildhall, London (Photo courtesy of World's 50 Best)
The winners of the 2015 World’s 50 Best Restaurants at the awards ceremony at the Guildhall, London (Photo courtesy of World’s 50 Best)

That’s right, the recently concluded 2015 World’s 50 Best Restaurants was the last to be held in London— after 14 years. Next year, the awards body, organized by William Reed Business Media, sponsored by San Pellegrino and Acqua Panna, is moving to New York City, in order to further champion the global-ness of this culinary event. I feel so lucky to have been able to fly in right in time  (the morning of!) to attend the last London edition– and my 1st World’s 50 Best, actually!– held at the Guildhall, London’s powerhouse since the 12th century, last June 1, 2015, along with a little over 500 guests of chefs, restaurateurs, journalists and trade partners.

How is this list selected?  972 well-traveled chefs, food writers, restaurateurs and gourmets from AROUND THE WORLD each vote for seven restaurants, which they should have eaten at within the last 18 months, and at least three of them being outside of their region. They were handpicked by the Academy Chairs, 27 restaurant experts from around the globe, representing their respective regions. And this year, for the first time, it was adjudicated by Deloitte ensuring integrity and authenticity of the voting process.

News about El Celler de Can Roca (Girona, Spain) bagging the #1 spot has spread like wildfire since the announcement was made at exactly 9:30 PM. Their win resonates personally with me because I first met Joan Roca two years ago in Singapore when he did a Four Hands dinner with Andre Chiang of Restaurant Andre. They donated the proceeds of their dinner to the victims of Typhoon Haiyan/ Yolanda even if neither of them were Filipino.  They were distraught over the catastrophe and just wanted to help. Chefs, or people in general, who use their talents for a good cause, will always have a special place in my heart.

Number one!!! El Celler de Can Roca's winning moment at the World's 50 Best Awards
Number one!!! El Celler de Can Roca’s winning moment at the World’s 50 Best Awards (Photo courtesy of World’s 50 Best)

This year’s Top 10 are:

1. El Celler de Can Roca (Girona, Spain)

2. Osteria Francescana (Modena, Italy)

3. Noma (Copenhagen, Denmark)

4. Central (Lima, Peru)

5. Eleven Madison Park (New York, USA)

6. Mugaritz (San Sebastian, Spain)

7. Dinner by Heston Blumenthal (London, UK)

8. Narisawa (Tokyo, Japan)

9. D.O.M. (Sao Paulo, Brazil)

10. Gaggan (Bangkok, Thailand)

Among the Top 50, seven came from Asia:

8. Narisawa (Tokyo, Japan)

10. Gaggan (Bangkok, Thailand)

22. Nahm (Bangkok, Thailand)

24. Ultraviolet by Paul Pairet (Shanghai, China)

29. Nihonryori RyuGin (Tokyo, Japan)

38. Amber (Hong Kong)

46. Restaurant Andre (Singapore)

Here are some of my photogenic memories from that incredible evening!

The reception began promptly at 6 PM. As the weather was quite nice albeit chilly, guests-- chefs, restaurateurs, academy chair persons, journalists and trade partners- - mingled and caught up right after registering.
The reception began promptly at 6 PM. As the weather was quite nice albeit chilly, guests– chefs, restaurateurs, academy chair persons, journalists and trade partners- – mingled and caught up right after registering. What a stunning backdrop!
Asia's Best at World's 50 Best 2015- Gaggan, Andre Chiang, Richard Ekkebus, Julien Royer, William Drew, Evelyn Chen, Cheryl Tiu
With my Asian brothaaaas! ASIA represent at the 2015 World’s 50 Best Restaurants in London (clockwise from top left): Gaggan Anand of Gaggan (Bangkok) #10; Andre Chiang of Restaurant Andre (Singapore) #46; Richard Ekkebus of Amber (Hong Kong) #38 and Julien Royer of JAAN (Singapore) #75, along with World’s 50 Best Group Editor William Drew and Southeast Asia Chairwoman Evelyn Chen! Congratulations you guys, you make us proud!!!
Cocktail hour at the gorgeous Guildhall..
Cocktail hour at the gorgeous Guildhall..
This is heaven... allllll night!!! (Photo courtesy of World's 50 Best)
This is heaven… allllll night!!! (Photo courtesy of World’s 50 Best)
I almost freaking fainted when I saw THOMAS KELLER!!! Omg!!! He was so gracious, too, when I ran into him at coat check after the awards and congratulated him on his The French Laundry (#50) and Per Se (#40). Here I am with Southeast Asia Academy Chairs, Evelyn Chen (Southeast Asia- South) and Susan Jung (Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan)
I almost freaking fainted when I saw THOMAS KELLER!!! Omg!!! He was so gracious, too, when I ran into him at coat check after the awards and congratulated him on his The French Laundry (#50) and Per Se (#40). Here we are with foodie legends, Southeast Asia Academy Chairs, Evelyn Chen (Southeast Asia- South) and Susan Jung (Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan) :)
And then we see Daniel Boulud and Eric Ripert!!! Aaaah, my night was made, seriously!!! Daniel's Daniel was #80 this year but he was awarded the Diner's Club Lifetime Achievement Award. Eric's Le Bernadin is #18 this year. These guys are legends!!!
And then we run into Daniel Boulud and Eric Ripert!!! Aaaah, my night was made, seriously!!! Daniel’s Daniel was #80 this year but he was awarded the Diner’s Club Lifetime Achievement Award. Eric’s Le Bernadin is #18 this year. These guys are legends!!!
Was so happy to see Luis Andoni Aduriz again!!! He is one of the most influential and out-of-this-world brilliant chefs in the world, and he was such an inspiration to so many Filipino chefs and students at Madrid Fusion Manila earlier this year. His Mugaritz retains its #6 position this year! :)
Was so happy to see my Google Translate buddy Luis Andoni Aduriz again!!! He is one of the most influential and out-of-this-world brilliant chefs in the world, and he was such an inspiration to so many Filipino chefs and students at Madrid Fusion Manila earlier this year. His Mugaritz retains its #6 position this year!  :)
Was really nice to see Juan Mari and Elena Arzak as well! I  had a brief chat with Elena and she told me she really loved the Philippines (when she was in town for Madrid Fusion Manila :)) Arzak is #17 this year. (Photo courtesy of World's 50 Best)
Was really nice to see father-and-daughter tandem Juan Mari and Elena Arzak as well! I had a brief chat with Elena and she told me she really loved the Philippines (when she was in town for Madrid Fusion Manila :)) Arzak is #17 this year. (Photo courtesy of World’s 50 Best)
World's 50 Best 2015- Mitsuharu Tsumura
Watch out for this guy: Mitsuharu Tsumura’s Maido (Lima, Peru) was a new entry this year at #44! He is part of the Tiger’s Milk Gang / Leche de Tigre.. and guess what, he will be opening a restaurant in Macau in 2016!
I unfortunately didn't get to meet him but I dined at Dinner by Heston this trip and absolutely loved it! Credit goes to Executive Chef Ashley Palmer-Watts, and the restaurant is at #7 this year, the highest UK restaurant on the list!
I unfortunately didn’t get to meet him but I dined at Dinner by Heston this trip and absolutely loved it! Credit goes to Executive Chef Ashley Palmer-Watts, and the restaurant is at #7 this year, the highest UK restaurant on the list! (Photo courtesy of World’s 50 Best)
So good-looking! Virgilio Martinez of Central in Lima, Peru (#1 Restaurant in Latin America) and his stunning wife (and also Central's head chef) Pia Leon, were described by William Drew as "the Brangelina of the culinary world" :) Central is #4 Best Restaurant in the World, the highest in Latin America on the list!
So good-looking! Virgilio Martinez of Central in Lima, Peru (#1 Restaurant in Latin America) and his stunning wife (and also Central’s head chef) Pia Leon, were described by William Drew as “the Brangelina of the culinary world” :) Central is #4 Best Restaurant in the World, the highest in Latin America on the list! (Photo courtesy of World’s 50 Best)
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What a stunning venue.. sitting through this was a suspense the whole night! And my seatmate happened to be Tim Raue of Michelin-starred Restaurant Tim Raue in Berlin! We were cheering unanimously for our Asian chefs– he is a big fan of theirs as well.
The official after-party was held at The Crypt of the Guildhall.. sponsored by the Mexicans as the 2015 Latin America's Best Restaurants will be held in Mexico City!
The official after-party was held at The Crypt of the Guildhall.. sponsored by the Mexicans as the 2015 Latin America’s Best Restaurants will be held in Mexico City!
Awesome Mexican decor at the afterparty in honor of the 2015 Latin America's Best Restaurants being held there later this year! (Photo courtesy of World's 50 Best)
Awesome Mexican decor at the afterparty in honor of the 2015 Latin America’s Best Restaurants being held there later this year! (Photo courtesy of World’s 50 Best)
With Joan Roca of El Celler de Can Roca!! Congratulations, super well-deserved! (PS Do you know he dropped by our Manila reception at Madrid Fusion earlier this year in  Ramses? Super bait this guy!) Well-deserved!!!!
With Joan Roca of El Celler de Can Roca!! Congratulations, super well-deserved! (PS Do you know he dropped by our Manila reception at Madrid Fusion earlier this year in Ramses? Super bait this guy!) Well-deserved!!!!