Best in town
At a press conference last month, Managing Director of Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants Tim Brooke-Webb and Group Editor William Drew announced that for the next two years, the unveiling ceremony for the renowned gastronomical list will take place in Macau, in collaboration with their new venue partner Wynn Palace and the Macao Government Tourism Office.
“Our first three editions were held in Singapore, and Bangkok has played host to the last two editions,” noted Tim Brooke-Webb at the press conference. “For the next two editions, it will be Macau. Anyone who has experienced Macau’s restaurant scene in the last five years, cannot have failed to notice the incredible work being done in this relatively small SAR of China. There are very few cities in Asia or indeed the world, where you can see so much talent within a three-mile radius,” he added.
“Macau is predominantly known as a gaming mecca, but to call it that does an injustice to the incredible array of highly talented and internationally acclaimed chefs. In truth it is also a foodie hub.”
“And Wynn’s culinary credentials are very obvious, as is their dedication to gastronomy,” noted Tim, discussing the choice of Wynn Palace as their venue partner.
Beginning as the World’s 50 Best Restaurants list, in 2013, the organisation decided to add a more regional focus with the launch of a specific list just for Asia, and also one for South America.
“Our brand now reaches over 4 billion people, and I think we can claim credit for filling one or two restaurant reservation books, but I think we can also be blamed for some very long waiting lists to dine in those restaurants,” remarked the Managing Director.
Sponsored by S.Pellegrino & Acqua Panna, the list is created by the votes of over 300 restaurant experts from across the region. In 2017, two restaurants from Macau were included: Jade Dragon at No.32 and The Tasting Room at No.39, both located in City of Dreams.
“The 300 restaurant experts come from across Asia. Approximately one third are chefs and restaurateurs, one third food writers and critics, and the final third are what we call well-travelled gastronomes, foodies if you like, maybe within the industry like a sommelier, or maybe a business person that likes food and travels around Asia,” explains Tim.
“Each of them chooses the 10 best restaurants they’ve been to in the past 18 months, at least four of them must be from outside of their country. We have various rules within that, but we don’t set any criteria as to what they should base their choice on, just whatever they think is a great restaurant experience.”
On choosing Macau as the next destination for the List’s events, Group Editor William Drew commented: “Macau seemed like an interesting option, perhaps because it wasn’t as known as some other regions, and because it has this fascinating mixture of influences that creates its food culture. That gives it a unique culinary background, combined with the amazing development of high-end restaurants in the integrated resorts over recent years. And it’s worked out really nicely with the UNESCO Creative City of Gastronomy listing as well.
“Macau is a bit of a hidden gem. I was really quite blown away by the quality of the chefs and restaurants. It’s a bit of a well kept secret, so we wanted to show our followers and chefs what’s going on here, and inspire them,” added Drew.
Next year’s unveiling of the list will take place on March 27 at Wynn Palace, with an associated event program, before and after the awards. The 2018 program will include a brand new edition of #50BestTalks, which will bring together the most influential chefs from the region to discuss current food topics and emerging trends.
One of those trends is of course sustainability, which is also becoming a factor for how restaurants make it on to the list.
“Sustainability in its broader sense, like how you look after your staff, how you run your business, as well as your source of food, and environmental setup,” notes Tim. “It’s a worldwide trend, but it’s a challenge for certain parts of Asia in terms of how much they import. I think there is a move to more local sourcing where possible.”