After taking a hiatus in 2020 due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the World’s 50 Best is once again resuming its mission to rank the globe’s culinary output.
What to Expect from the World’s 50 Best 2021
There will be a new No. 1 restaurant. In 2019, the organization announced a rule change that stipulated that previously No. 1 restaurant. That year, Mirazur in Menton, France went on to win the No. 1 spot, becoming only the eighth restaurant to hold the top slot since the list debuted in 2002.
But it will most likely be Noma, which isn’t exactly new. While other previous top restaurants like Osteria Francescana and El Cellar de Can Roca are no longer eligible, it’s worth noting that it’s only the original Noma that’s precluded from ever appearing on the list again. New Noma — which exists in a different Copenhagen space and with a different, rotating menu concept — debuted on the 2019 list at No. 2, and, fresh off finally winning its third Michelin star, is easily the most likely candidate to take the No. 1 slot in 2021. Noma earned top honors on the list in 2014, 2012, 2011, and 2010. If Noma wins, it will tie with Ferran Adrià’s legendary restaurant El Bulli for the most wins ever.
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There could be more demographic and regional diversity this year. The organization will be launching a new regional lists for the Middle East and North Africa in 2022, as well as continuing to produce its Latin America 50 Best list and its Asia 50 Best list — hopefully that all will translate onto the global list which has historically leaned towards Eurocentric tasting menus helmed by white male chefs.
Since pausing the list, the organization launched several panel discussions and other programs, and committed to gender-parity in its voting panel; perhaps that will translate into more women being represented among the top 50 winners. Because of the pandemic, the 2021 list will determined from the votes cast in 2020 plus votes from a March 2021 “refresh” in which voters could update their choices from their own region. Restaurants that permanently closed during the pandemic will not be eligible.
There are also some big-picture changes expected in how the voting panel is assembled and how the overall process works, but that likely won’t take effect until 2022. Locally, Philadelphia Inquirer food editor Jamila Robinson has assumed the role of North American Academy chair, and she will be responsible for assembling the voting panel for the region on the 2022 list.
When Is the World’s 50 Best 2021?
This year, the red carpet event will be happening in Flanders on Tuesday, October 5th at 4:30 local time. For those following along from the U.S.A., that means 10:30 a.m. EST and 7:30am PST — with the No. 1 slot expected to be revealed two hours later.
How to Watch the World’s 50 Best 2021?
The event will be live-streamed on the World’s 50 Best Facebook page and YouTube channel, the YouTube stream is embedded below.
—Hillary Dixler Canavan