Osteria Francescana named world’s best restaurant; top 20 spot for Hong Kong’s Amber
Italian winner Massimo Bottura appeals to fellow top chefs to help run Rio soup kitchen for Olympics; Amber’s Richard Ekkebus hails its rise from 38th place as ‘the fruit of 11 years of hard work’
Waving a cloth with the colours of the Italian flag, Massimo Bottura of Osteria Francescana in Modena, Italy took the stage in New York to accept the World’s 50 Best Restaurants award for running the planet’s No.1 restaurant.
Osteria Francescana, second on the 2015 list, switched places with El Celler de Can Roca in Girona, Spain, run by three brothers, Joan (the chef), Jordi (pastry chef) and Josep (sommelier), which was last year’s number one.
Speaking after the event, held at Cipriani Wall Street, Bottura said: “Last year I felt we weren’t ready but this year we were. We built a team and the office, the front room and the kitchen were all on the same level. The energy and the creativity are so good.”
The chef mentioned his plans to start a soup kitchen in Rio de Janeiro during the Olympics. “I want every chef in the world to be down there, cooking for people in need. This is what we need to do. Culture, knowledge, consciousness and a sense of responsibility – this is what the modern chef is.
“We are building a soup kitchen with art and design and culture inside because everyone needs that. A normal soup kitchen is too easy. We would love to [give them] a second chance in life with dignity.”
Hong Kong restaurant Amber, at the Landmark Mandarin in Central, rose 18 positions to come in at number 20. Culinary director Richard Ekkebus said: “This is the highest position for Amber - in 2014 we were 24, last year 38 and now we’re 20. I’m very happy for the team. It puts great emphasis on Hong Kong dining, and it’s the fruit of 11 years of hard work. It shows that we are still relevant and growing. It’s very exciting, and after 11 years we are just starting to peak.”
The top restaurant in Asia was Narisawa in Tokyo, which came in at number eight. New York favourite Eleven Madison Park came in at number three, and also took a new award for the art of hospitality.