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World’s 50 Best Restaurants unveils list in Asia: Singapore plays host to culinary industry’s biggest annual event

June 28,2019
Chefs from around the globe, left, celebrate the release of the 2019 World’s 50 Best Restaurants list on Tuesday at the Marina Bay Sands hotel in Singapore. A team from France’s Mirazur, above, run by Argentine chef Mauro Colagreco, pose for photos after being named the No. 1 restaurant on the list. [THE WORLD’S 50 BEST RESTAURANTS]
Food companies, including Cinco Jotas, far left and third from left, offer snacks at the reception prior to the release of the list. Chef Corey Lee of San Francisco’s Benu, at right in second left photo, greets the audience after his restaurant was ranked on the list for the first time, at No. 47. Pastry chef Janice Wong in Singapore presents a dessert wall, far right, to celebrate the 120th anniversary of San Pellegrino, the main sponsor of the list. [THE WORLD’S 50 BEST RESTAURANTS]
SINGAPORE - Foodies from around the world looked to Asia this week, as the World’s 50 Best Restaurants list was revealed in the region for the very first time. Singapore rolled out the red carpet and took its time in the spotlight as a chance to show that it too is a global food destination that attracts food aficionados from around the globe.

Before the list was announced on Tuesday at the Marina Bay Sands hotel, organizers announced that this year’s picks would be different than in years past. In order to give new restaurants the opportunity to shine, organizers created the Best of the Best category, which is made up of restaurants previously ranked No. 1. Those bestowed with the new title were excluded from the top 50 list, allowing others a chance to capture the top spot.

This year’s No. 1 went to French restaurant Mirazur, run by Argentine chef Mauro Colagreco in Menton, France. The restaurant, which ranked No. 3 on last year’s list, jumped up to the top of the list the same year the restaurant was awarded its first three Michelin stars - the first three-star restaurant in France whose executive chef is not French.

Bangkok’s Indian cuisine restaurant Gaggan was the highest-ranked Asian restaurant of the year, while Singapore’s Odette, led by French chef Julien Royer, ranked 18th. A total of seven restaurants from four countries in Asia were honored on the top 50 restaurant list. Tokyo’s Den, which was ranked 11th, won the Art of Hospitality award, a testament to the quality of service in Asia.

While no restaurants in Korea made it on the top 50 list, San Francisco’s Benu, run by Korean American chef Corey Lee - who serves American cuisine using hints of Korean ingredients - made the list for the first time, ranking 47th.

On the extended list up to 120th place this year, Korea’s Mingles, which first appeared on the World’s top 100 list in 2017, was ranked 79th on this year’s extended list, one step down from last year.

Atomix in New York, which serves modern style Korean food and is run by chef Junghyun Park, was ranked 119th only about a year after it first opened its doors, proving to be one of the hottest restaurants not only in New York, but worldwide.

Chefs from around the world flew in for the annual award ceremony to meet up with their international peers.

Besides those honored on the list, Korea’s chef Kim Dae-chun of TocToc, who is preparing to move his restaurant to a new location early next month, also came to mingle. TocToc won the 2017 One to Watch award at the Asia’s 50 Best Restaurant event, a spin off that focuses solely on Asia.

The World’s 50 Best Restaurant, an annually released list by media company William Reed based in London, is voted on by more than 1,000 food industry experts. At this year’s event, through a number of seminars and talks, the company focused on gender equality and better working conditions in kitchens. Pastry chef Janice Wong of Singapore and many other chefs and sponsors provided food and drinks throughout the event.

BY LEE SUN-MIN [summerlee@joongang.co.kr]