21 February, 2019
History of the world’s main gastronomy awards
The chef’s discipline, like any other, comes with its own rankings and awards around the world. These classify and reward restaurants which, in the opinion of certain judges, bring together the characteristics which make them the best on the international stage. Today, there are three main gastronomy awards receiving the greatest recognition in the world: the Michelin Stars, the World’s 50 Best Restaurants and the James Beard Awards.
World’s 50 Best Restaurants
This prize appeared 16 years ago as a section of the British Restaurant Magazine, and ended up becoming a ceremony. While it continues to form part of the same British publishing group, William Reed Media Business, it is no longer dependant on Restaurant Magazine. As its name suggests, this ranking gathers together 50 restaurants, although more recently it has also started to publish a list of the positions 51 to 100. 1,040 international gastronomy experts are in charge of choosing the 50 best restaurants in the world, acting as judges. Each judge creates a list of 10 restaurants, classified in order of preference, based on their own experience. These restaurants can be of any style of cuisine, size and fame. It is important to emphasise that this prize is not awarded to the chef, but rather to the restaurant as a whole.
James Beard Awards
These prizes are considered to be the “Oscars” of gastronomy in the USA, and have been granted by the James Beard foundation since 1990, awarding the most outstanding culinary figures. James Beard was a well-known chef who dedicated his career to celebrating and spreading cuisine in his country. The foundation which carries his name is a non-profit organisation which organises multiple actions to spread knowledge of cooking in the United States, and offers grants to cooking students. The James Beard Awards stand out among its activities because of their enormous influence every year. The jury is made up of more than 600 chefs and specialists in gastronomy who award prizes in 11 different categories, including the best restaurant, the best chef or confectioner, among others. Each of these categories has 5 finalists and a winner. While these prizes are of great relevance in the United States, they have been criticised for the very low proportion of women among the prizewinners, and because the awards are won mainly in the country’s large cities, neglecting towns with fewer inhabitants.
It is no coincidence that these gastronomy prizes share their name with the famous tyre brand: this brand is the creator of what is without doubt the best-known culinary award, in Europe especially, but also internationally. It all began at the beginning of last century when the French company published its Michelin Guide as a gift for its customers for the first time. It gave them tips and information to make their journey easier, so that they would drive more and, as a result, buy more tyres. It was not until 1936 that the judges of said guide, whose main characteristic is that they taste the dishes anonymously, started to score the restaurants for their service and the quality and originality of their dishes, awarding them from one to three stars. This ranking evaluates restaurants from all over the world, and currently only 129 restaurants can boast the 3 coveted stars.
At Fagor Industrial, we are proud to have among our clients restaurants that have won one or more Michelin Stars in the latest 2019 edition:
Arzak Restaurant * * *
Martín Berasategui * * *
Mugaritz * *
Astrid & Gastón * *