Culinary Masters

Some of the best chefs in the region gathered in Macau for Asia’s 50 Best Restaurant Awards
Last month, Wynn Palace hosted the sixth installment of Asia’s 50 Best Restaurant Awards, revealing the latest list of ‘must-visit’ restaurants in the region.
Gaggan, the Indian molecular gastronomy restaurant in Bangkok claimed the No.1 spot for a n impressive fourth consecutive year, retaining the dual titles of The Best Restaurant in Asia, sponsored by S.Pellegrino & Acqua Panna, and The Best Restaurant in Thailand.
“When we came in first place in 2015, everyone thought it was a fluke,” said Chef Gaggan Anand during a press conference after the awards ceremony. “The second year, people thought we had bribed people, then the third year, we won it, and this year, we don’t have to prove we won it.”
Revealing some of his strategies for remaining at the top of the list, Chef Gaggan explained: “We change our menu entirely every four months. About 80 per cent of the dishes we test go into the garbage. A guest might eat at my restaurant several times a year, but when he says that the menu he ate this time was better than the last time, that’s important.”
Discussing his feelings about what the Awards have achieved over the past six years, Chef Gaggan revealed that exactly what number on the list he achieves is no longer so important to him.
“The 50 Best has created a community, a family. We cheer for each other, we don’t boo each other,” he said. “[El Bulli chef] Ferran Adrià motivated me, now it’s my turn to motivate the next generation of chefs.”
Japan was a strong contender on the evening, claiming 11 restaurants including Den at Number 2, rising nine places to earn the title of The Best Restaurant in Japan, replacing five-time title holder Narisawa (No.6). Acclaimed chef Yoshihiro Narisawa was this year’s recipient of the peer-voted Chefs’ Choice Award, sponsored by Estrella Damm.
Ranked No.20 on the 2018 list, L’Effervescence in Tokyo won the inaugural Sustainable Restaurant Award in Asia. The award is given to the restaurant with the highest environmental and social responsibility rating, as determined by audit partner, the Sustainable Restaurant Association.
Thailand’s Chef Bongkoch ‘Bee’ Satongun of Paste (No.31), was named elit Vodka Asia’s Best Female Chef 2018. Celebrated chef André Chiang, of Raw in Taipei and formerly of Restaurant André in Singapore, was this year’s deserving recipient of The Diners Club Lifetime Achievement Award.
Hong Kong restaurants on the list included 8½ Otto e Mezzo Bombana (No.13), Ta Vie (No.16) and Lung King Heen (No.24), as well as two newcomers, Neighborhood (No.32) and Belon (No.40).
Hong Kong’s The Chairman (No.22) and Mume in Taipei (No.18) tied for the Highest Climber Award with both restaurants rising 25 places.
Macau was represented by Jade Dragon (No.35) while Mainland China counted Shanghai restaurants Ultraviolet by Paul Pairet (No.8) and Fu He Hui (No.30).
William Drew, Group Editor of Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants, said: “The Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants list welcomes eight new entries in 2018, reflecting the ongoing culinary innovation happening in this region. In its sixth year, Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants continues to recognise new talents, identify industry trends and celebrate excellence.”
The list is created from the votes of the Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants Academy, an influential group of over 300 leaders in the restaurant industry across Asia, each selected for their expert opinion of Asia’s restaurant scene. The panel in each region is made up of food writers and critics, chefs, restaurateurs and highly regarded ‘gastronomes’. Members list their choices in order of preference, based on their best restaurant experiences of the previous 18 months. There is no pre-determined check-list of criteria, but there are strict voting rule.
(No 2) in Tokyo - The Best Restaurant in Japan
(No.5) - The Best Restaurant in Singapore.
(No.7) in Hong Kong - The Best Restaurant in China
(No.11) in Seoul - The Best Restaurant in Korea.
(No.15) - The Best Restaurant in Taiwan
Indian Accent
(No. 19) - The Best Restaurant in India
(No.21) in Bali - The Best Restaurant in Indonesia
Ministry of Crab in Colombo
(No.25) - The Best Restaurant in Sri Lanka