Chef aprons were tied, Champagne corks were popped, good times were shared and a new No.1 was crowned: The World’s 50 Best Restaurants 2023, sponsored by S.Pellegrino & Acqua Panna, took over the Spanish city of Valencia from 18-21 June. Here are the photographic highlights from the days of celebration
1. Valencia receives the world’s best chefs
For a few days, the sunny Mediterranean city of Valencia became a hotspot of celebrity chef spottings and once-in-a-lifetime culinary experiences. The city’s most famous gastronomic sites, such as the Mercado Central (pictured), the largest fresh produce market in Europe, were on the must-visit lists of many international visitors.
2. A talented chef trio cooks up a feast
The traditional Welcome Event, which sees 50 Best’s Academy Chairs and partners come together on their first evening in Valencia, was a showcase of female culinary talent: local chef Begoña Rodrigo hosted the dinner at her restaurant, La Salita, while The World’s Best Female Chef Elena Reygadas brought a Mexican touch, and Pía Salazar – who was later named The World’s Best Pastry Chef – provided the Ecuadorian-inspired desserts.
3. Delicious ham and special drinks keep the party going
From Cinco Jotas’ freshly sliced ibérico ham to ice-cold bottles of Estrella Damm beer and cocktails like the theatrical La Crème, featuring Flor de Caña 12, evaporated milk, pine nuts, orange brandy falernum and accompanied by a Nicaraguan cigar, guests at the Welcome Dinner enjoyed the finest food and drinks to the max.
4. 50 Best lays out the path for the future
The official 50 Best Press Conference provided an occasion to reflect on the last 21 years of the list, while giving a glimpse into its future and cementing Valencia’s reputation as an excellent gastronomic destination. The event featured William Reed CEO Charles Reed, Secretary of Tourism for the region of Valencia Francesc Colomer, City Council of Valencia representative Paula Lllobet, as well as chefs and restaurateurs Massimo Bottura (Osteria Francescana), Ellia Park (Atomix) and Quique Dacosta of the eponymous restaurant.
5. Geranium’s Rasmus Kofoed makes the audience hungry
At the #50BestTalks: Refresh! event, chef Rasmus Kofoed of The World’s Best Restaurant 2022, Geranium in Copenhagen, inspired the audience with the story of how he reinvented Geranium as a meat-free restaurant while remaining true to his mission. Meanwhile, his team cooked and plated some of the restaurant’s signature dishes at Techlam’s innovative kitchen counter – finally giving the audience a taste of their famous potato and beech nut waffles with caviar and sour cream with pickled walnut leaves.
6. Nora Fitzgerald Belahcen and Laura Hernández Espinosa share their inspirational stories
Champions of Change award winner Nora Fitzgerald Belahcen moved the audience to tears with the story of how she was inspired to open Amal, a restaurant and culinary school for marginalised women in Marrakech. Having come to Valencia all the way from Colombia, restaurant Leo’s sommelier Laura Hernández Espinosa shared her impressive work developing a range of distillates that reflect the different ecosystems in the country.
7. Guests get refreshed with selected bites and tipples
Despite Valencia’s characteristic heat, media, chefs and guests at #50BestTalks and the press conference cooled down and kept spirits high with refreshments by 50 Best’s partners, from S.Pellegrino & Acqua Panna waters to tasty coffee by illycaffè and a taste of Jaén Selección’s premium olive oils.
8. Ángel León brings the wow factor
During a dynamic presentation, Aponiente chef Ángel León and his crew alerted guests to the huge amounts of bycatch that is thrown away in industrial fishing and gave them a taste of their ‘marine charcuterie’, which they developed to tackle this problem. Next, Léon left the audience gasping with a demonstration of his ‘living salt’ cooking technique, in which liquid salt transforms into crystals on hitting the fish and slowly cooks it thanks to a chemical reaction.
9. 50 Best inspires a new ice cream flavour
In the final session of #50BestTalks: Refresh!, it was Jordi Roca and Alejandra Rivas’ turn to impress the audience. The couple, who together run the Rocambolesc high-end gelaterias in Spain and the US, gave the audience a glimpse into their hyper-creative world and served their ‘Best of the Best ice cream’, a flavour they developed by mixing all their favourite components, inspired by the Roca brothers’ capturing World’s Best Restaurant title for El Celler de Can Roca in 2013 and 2015.
10. New friendships are born at the 50 Best Signature Sessions
With five out-of-this-world culinary collaborations taking place across Valencia between Sunday 18th and Wednesday 21st of June, the 50 Best Signature Sessions series didn’t only offer diners a taste of unique four-hands dinners featuring Valencia’s greatest talent and the world’s best chefs, but also resulted in new bonds being made through the medium of food.
11. The chef community is reunited under the stars
The Chefs’ Feast, the traditional event that sees the representatives of The World’s 50 Best Restaurants gather for an evening of great food and celebration on the day before the awards ceremony, took place al fresco by a picturesque lake surrounded by Valencia’s famous rice fields.
12. Latin America opens the celebrations
The Latin American region had a strong showing at The World’s 50 Best Restaurants 2023, with as many as 17 restaurants in the overall 1-100 list. In the photo, see the likes of Maido’s Mitsuharu Tsumura, Central and Kjolle’s Pía León and El Chato’s Alvaro Clavijo enjoying a relaxed moment at the Chefs’ Feast.
13. World-famous chefs let their hair down
Good times were had by all at the Chefs’ Feast, where guests celebrated with 50 Best partners’ delicious products, from a chilled glass of Beronia white wine for Japanese chef Yusuke Takada of La Cime, to a delicious Kaviari pop for Junghyun and Ellia Park from New York’s Atomix.
14. Valencian paella takes centre stage
At the Chefs’ Feast, some of the best paella chefs from across the Valencian region were tasked with providing sustenance, cooking up huge pans of the local dish in different versions – from a seafood paella to a classic chicken and rabbit version – but rigorously without chorizo.
15. The best gastronomy pairs with the best cocktails
Giacomo Giannotti and his team from The World’s Best Bar 2022, Paradiso in Barcelona, as well as Diego Cabrera and his team from Salmon Guru in Madrid, all travelled to Valencia to delight guests with their award-winning drinks, from ‘Punch in a Bottle’ (Tequila Ocho mixed with mezcal, lime juice, hot sauce, agave syrup and fino sherry) to the Trinity (clarified almond milk with whiskey, Villa Massa Amaretto and spices).
16. The party goes on until late
Fuelled by live music, a refreshing taste of Dassai sparkling sake served in Nude Glass’ unmistakeable chalices, fun photo poses and a sip of Fundador Sherry Cask Fine Brandy on ice as a nightcap, the good times kept flowing at the Chefs’ Feast until late.
17. Globally renowned chefs impart advice at 50 Best Educates
More than just a gastronomic guide or a series of culinary events, 50 Best is about creating connections and making the world better through food – and a stellar selection of chefs showed this at the 50 Best Educates event, where they shared their life lessons and career advice with students from across the Valencian region. The event featured Jeremy Chan from Ikoyi in London, Pía León from Central and Kjolle in Lima, Elena Reygadas from Rosetta in Mexico City, and Joan Roca of Best of the Best restaurant El Celler de Can Roca in Girona.
18. Thai chefs turn heads on the red carpet
On the night of the awards ceremony revealing The World’s 50 Best Restaurants 2023, sponsored by S.Pellegrino & Acqua Panna, the Thailand-based chefs stole the show on the red carpet with their colourful outfits. Spot chef Gaggan Anand of the eponymous eatery, Tithid ‘Ton’ Tassanakajohn of Le Du and twins Thomas and Mathias Sühring of Bangkok-based German restaurant Sühring.
19. Speculation is ripe at the cocktail reception
Valencia’s modernist City of Arts and Sciences complex, designed by Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava, hosted the main celebrations for The World’s 50 Best Restaurants 2023, with the pre-awards cocktail reception taking place at the Museu de les Ciències Príncipe Felipe under the space’s sky-high white arches – where conjecture around which restaurant would be the next No.1 was rampant.
20. It’s not a party without the best food and drinks
50 Best’s partners kept chefs, media and industry VIPs fed and hydrated before and after the show with an outstanding selection of bites and tipples, from Castilla-La Mancha’s Manchego cheese, delicious bites by Asturias and Sosa, as well as world-class drinks by Gin Mare.
21. Chef Nick Bril provides the tunes
Not just the creator of the award-winning The Jane in Antwerp, Nick Bril is also a passionate DJ and he took the charge of keeping guests moving on the dancefloor– Tim Raue of Berlin’s Restaurant Tim Raue was among the first to take up the challenge.
22. The Flor de Caña Sustainable Restaurant Award 2023 lands in Cape Town
The first accolade as part of The World’s 50 Best Restaurants 2023 awards ceremony went to South African eatery Fyn as the venue that received the highest environmental and social responsibility rating from the Sustainable Restaurant Association. Chef Peter Tempelhoff and beverage director and GM Jennifer Hugé received the trophy from charismatic Mirazur chef Mauro Colagreco.
23. Tatiana receives the Resy One To Watch Award 2023
The award that celebrates the restaurant world’s rising star was given to Tatiana by Kwame Onwuachi in New York. The trophy was received by Jamila Robinson on behalf of her long-time friend, chef Kwame Onwuachi, who was unable to make the ceremony due to travel disruption.
24. The Beronia World’s Best Sommelier Award 2023 surprises its winner
With a big, shocked smile on his face and immediate jubilation from the audience, Diverxo’s sommelier Miguel Ángel Millán climbed to the stage to receive the most prestigious accolade in the world of wine, following in the footsteps of first winner Josep Roca.
25. Latin American pride fills the room
Colombian chef Leonor Espinosa handed The World’s Best Female Chef 2023 trophy to Mexican chef and Latin American ‘sister’ Elena Reygadas as a swell of Latin American joy coursed through the auditorium.
26. The Champions of Change join in from Marrakech and Los Angeles
The ceremony provided the perfect opportunity to celebrate the work of Nora Fitzgerald Belahcen, Othón Nolasco and Damián Diaz, who were previously announced as the Champions of Change 2023. They were honoured for their initiatives that help those in disadvantaged situations through the medium of food, such as Fitzgerald Belahcen’s training centre, Amal, and Nolasco and Diaz’s food security programme, No Us Without You LA.
27. The Icon Award 2023 takes up residence in San Sebastian
With a standing ovation from the audience, Spanish chef Andoni Luis Aduriz from Mugaritz in Spain’s Basque Country received not only the Icon Award 2023, but also the love of the whole gastronomic community reunited in the City of Arts and Sciences’ Palau de les Arts.
28. Alchemist takes home the crown for outstanding hospitality
Rasmus Munk’s ground-breaking restaurant in Copenhagen received the Gin Mare Art of Hospitality Award 2023. Cheered on by applause and whistles from their peers, the team climbed to the stage to receive the trophy from Eleven Madison Park chef-owner Daniel Humm and celebrate how the immersive experience at Alchemist is creating lifetime memories for diners.
29. Julien Royer crosses borders from France to Singapore
Loved and admired across the industry, Odette chef-patron Julien Royer was announced as the winner of the Estrella Damm Chefs’ Choice Award 2023. Royer received the trophy for the only peer-voted accolade in the programme from previous winner Joan Roca and was recognised as a leader that allows others around him to blossom. Odette also placed in No.14 in the list, winning the title of The Best Restaurant in Asia 2023.
30. The trophy for The World’s Best Pastry Chef travels to Ecuador
Nuema’s pastry chef Pía Salazar became the first Ecuadorian and Latin American cook to receive the top global accolade in the world of desserts, thanks to her outstanding ability to combine sweet and savoury flavours into her creations.
31. Table by Bruno Verjus makes an entrance
Table by Bruno Verjus in Paris was bestowed the Highest New Entry Award 2023, sponsored by Aspire Lifestyles, as it joined The World’s 50 Best Restaurants list for first time directly in the top ten – a feat that few others have achieved.
32. Atomix has an atomic rise
Ascending 25 spots from last year’s list, Atomix – the Korean restaurant in New York led by chef Junghyun ‘JP’ Park and his wife and co-owner Ellia Park – won the Villa Massa Highest Climber Award 2023 and landed at No.8, obtaining the title of The Best Restaurant in North America 2023.
33. The No.1 trophy goes to South America for the first time
The award for The World’s Best Restaurant 2023, sponsored by S.Pellegrino & Acqua Panna, went to Central in Lima, Peru and the audience’s ovation accompanied chefs Virgilio Martínez and Pía León, as well as the core Central team, all the way to the stage. The Peruvian eatery, which also became The Best Restaurant in South America 2023, was recognised for showcasing the country’s extraordinary biodiversity for nearly 15 years.
34. See you next year!
The 2023 edition of The World’s 50 Best Restaurants brought the gastronomic community together once again – stay tuned to discover where the events will travel to in 2024.
Now get an insider’s look into the events with the video:
The list of The World’s 50 Best Restaurants 2023, sponsored by S.Pellegrino & Acqua Panna, was announced on Tuesday 20th June at a live awards ceremony in Valencia. To stay up to date with the latest news, follow us on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
Reporting by Giulia Sgarbi and Ingrid Paredes