Colagreco embraces the world, Camanini consoles Italy

The World’s 50Best according to Paolo Marchi: a non-French takes France to the top. Meanwhile, we slow down a little...

26-06-2019
Group photo with the chefs in the The World's

Group photo with the chefs in the The World's 50 Best Restaurants 2019, sponsored by S.Pellegrino & Acqua Panna

It has happened and it will never happen again. The podium of The World’s 50 Best Restaurant 2019 cannot be repeated, contrary to the past: 1. Mirazur with Mauro Colagreco in Mentone (France), 2. Noma with Renè Redzepi (who did not participate in the ceremony) in Copenhagen (Denmark) and 3. Asador Etxebarri with Victor Arguinzoniz in Atxondo in Spain. Based on the new anti-stress rules for top chefs, Colagreco enters legally into the Best of the Best, where he finds the seven previous winners, and he’ll stay there unless he changes restaurant. Which is in fact the case of Redzepi, who’s in the hall of fame with the old Noma and in the top 3 with the new one. The Dane goes up and up: from last year’s absence while the works were taking place, to second place this year.

The minute, no longer, while we waited to know who was second, and hence who was first, was endless. Mauro said: «I blacked out. I couldn’t see anything around me. Everything went black. In a second, all my life passed in front of my eyes. Then I heard them say "Noma" and I knew I had won. My life? I’m 43, I was born in Argentina and then emigrated to France».

All the winners before Colagreco. They’re now part of the Best of the Best. They will no longer take part in the competition, except  for Redzepi ‘s new Noma which, having changed style and location, is once again in the game 

All the winners before Colagreco. They’re now part of the Best of the Best. They will no longer take part in the competition, except  for Redzepi ‘s new Noma which, having changed style and location, is once again in the game 

Two crucial countries for him, but not the only ones. When he went on stage, he had as many as four flags, attached to one another: «The white and blue flag, was because of where I was born, the French one, because France has welcomed me. I have never seen borders in front of me. Borders are only in the mind of some people. The Brazilian flag is for Giulia, my love. Finally, the Italian flag is because my brigade is dominated by Italians». And one immediately remembers the location of the best restaurant in the world. Only a few metres away, there once was the custom house between France and Italy. When Mauro speaks of borders, he knows them well: «I believe in the words with which France welcomed me: Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité».

The winning team at Mirazur in Mentone

The winning team at Mirazur in Mentone

They are important because in a contest where until now there had been winners from the UK, the US, Denmark, Italy and Spain, a total of seven-patron chefs and never a French, the less French cook shining in France has won: «One must remember that I’ve been the first three-starred chef not to have been born in France. It means a lot for the cuisine of this country. However, my children were born in France and I’ve been working here for many years. I believe I am French too». For sure Colagreco doesn’t have the regal attitude of the other cousins, he doesn’t walk above ground.

Here’s how the different countries did in the 50Best: Spain is at the top with 7 restaurants, then the US with 6 and then France with 5. Italy is off the podium, and has a wood medal with 2 restaurants among the 50Best, together with many other countries: Peru (though they shine more, and have a 6th and 10th position), Denmark (even better: second and fifth), Mexico, UK, Russia (growing fast: 13th and 19th), China, Japan and Thailand

Here’s how the different countries did in the 50Best: Spain is at the top with 7 restaurants, then the US with 6 and then France with 5. Italy is off the podium, and has a wood medal with 2 restaurants among the 50Best, together with many other countries: Peru (though they shine more, and have a 6th and 10th position), Denmark (even better: second and fifth), Mexico, UK, Russia (growing fast: 13th and 19th), China, Japan and Thailand

And while he was triumphant, the Italian team looked around, lost. Without Massimo Bottura competing, it’s as if the others - Enrico Crippa 29th (16th last year) and Massimiliano Alajmo 31st (minus 7 positions) – had lost their star performer who kept the game rolling and shed light on every potential dark corner. We’ve lost energy, brightness. While the others ran, we walked. Eleonora Cozzella, responsible for the Italian panel, recalled with bitterness how last year in Bilbao, there were four Italians in the 50Best, with Bottura first and Niko Romito 36th (now 51st), and one could notice there were no supports in the second half of the list, a warning for the future. Now it’s the contrary: only two in the 50Best, and five following. And only Riccardo Camanini, 78th and winner of the “One to watch” award, has a shine and a curiosity that look into the future.

Giancarlo and Riccardo Camanini

Giancarlo and Riccardo Camanini

In any case, I hope to be proven wrong already in 2020. In the meantime, lets hold on tight to the two places in the 50Best, perhaps they could become three because one, among Romito and Camanini, could well grow. The other countries, however, are running faster.

Translated into English by Slawka G. Scarso


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