Last year, The World's 50 Best Restaurants Awards evolved dramatically with the creation of The World's 50 Best Restaurants Academy. In 2007 the selection process will be even more sophisticated.
The world has been divided into 22 regions with the voting panel for each region chosen by a regional chair. Each regional chair has been selected for their knowledge of their own region. The 22 chairs, all respected restaurant and food writers, form The World's 50 Best Restaurants Academy. Food guru and Food24 expert, Lannice Snyman is the regional chair for South Africa.
Each regional chair presides over a panel of judges comprising of other well-travelled restaurant commentators, chefs and restaurateurs. Each panel member is allowed five votes of which a maximum of two, can be for restaurants within their own region.
"The changes we have made to The Academy this year are intended to produce a list that is even more reflective of the diverse talent within the restaurant industry worldwide," explains Joe Warwick, Editor of Restaurant magazine and Chairman of The Nespresso World's 50 Best Restaurants Academy.
The results of the vote will be announced at The S.Pellegrino World's 50 Best Restaurant Awards at The Science Museum in London on Monday April 23.
Last year El Bulli from Rosas, on the Costa Brava in Spain, won the coveted title. They were runners-up in 2005 and took top honours in 2002. El Bulli was opened as a grillroom in 1964 but it was only with the arrival of Jean-Louis Neichel in 1975 that the restaurant changed, bringing new perspectives that would be consolidated over the years. In 1976 the restaurant received its first Michelin star and currently holds a three-star Michelin rating. El Bulli is only open from April to September. Their world renowned head chef, Ferran Adrià, spends the other six months of the year perfecting recipes in his workshop, El Taller, in Barcelona.
In the 2006 competition, South Africa's La Colombe took the 28th position followed by Le Quartier Français in 38th position. La Colombe was opened in 1997 by Franck Dangereux from Provence, France and is situated on the Constantia Uitsig Estate outside Cape Town. Dangereux combines Mediterranean cooking with South African ingredients in a Provence-style dining room. He has since left La Colombe and is now the owner of The Food Barn in Noordhoek.
Le Quartier Français is set in the heart of the Francschoek. The accomplished cooking of Dutch-born Margot Janse is its biggest draw card. The Tasting Room is the name given to the fine dining restaurant at Le Quartier Français, where Janse prepares individually tailored tasting menus that make the most of the Cape's rich larder, accompanied by the finest local wines.