Longlist Nominations and Judging Panel unveiled

Judging Panel and longlist nominations are revealed for the inaugural edition of The World Restaurant Awards, reflecting its pioneering commitment to equal gender representation. The progressive new global awards will celebrate the excellence, integrity, diversity and rich culture of the restaurant world.

  • Representing 36 different countries, from Australia to Zimbabwe, the panel includes stars of the culinary world: chefs, journalists and industry influencers
  • Female chefs to the fore with London newcomer Sabor, Lima’s Kjolle, Oakland’s Nyum Bai and Paris’s Virtus on the longlist for ‘Arrival of the Year’
  • Affordable and accessible experiences longlisted in the ‘No Reservations Required’ category include Tokyo fishburger bar Deli Fu Cious; Mumbai’s Bombay Canteen; Brown Sugar Kitchen in San Francisco; and London’s Black Axe Mangal
  • Nominated for its famous fried chicken paired with natural wines, Belle’s Hot Chicken in Sydney secures a spot in the ‘House Special’ longlist, as does Porto’s Cervejaria Gazela, known for its unusual ‘hot dog’, and the spicy grilled skewers of Glover Court Suya in Lagos
  • LA’s envelope-pushing disruptor Vespertine nominated in both the ‘Original Thinking’ and ‘Atmosphere of the Year’ categories
  • The Crazy Pomegranate, in the vineyard of a cult Georgian wine producer, sits alongside Wolfgat, a 20-seat dining room in a South African beach cottage, serving up foraged dune spinach and indigenous plants such as soutslaai, on the longlist for ‘Off Map Destination’
  • From US social enterprises Cala (San Francisco) and Emma’s Torch (New York) that assist ex-cons and refugees with workplace training via China’s pioneering organic produce championing Long Jing Manor, to zero-waste innovator Silo on England’s south coast, the ‘Ethical Thinking’ longlist recognises restaurants trying to make a difference
Wolfgat, a 20-seat dining room in a South African beach cottage, earns a place in the Off-Map Destination longlist.
Vespertine in Los Angeles, United States, has been nominated in both the Original Thinking and Atmosphere of the Year categories.

PARIS – 13 December 2018 – Today, IMG in partnership with Joe Warwick (Creative Director) and Andrea Petrini (Chair of the Judging Panel), reveal the longlist nominations for The World Restaurant Awards. Restaurant industry stars from around the globe will gather in Paris, France on February 18, 2019, to celebrate the excellence, integrity and diversity of the world’s restaurant scene, from fine dining innovators to humble, accessible establishments; major culinary capitals to more remote destinations.

The World Restaurant Awards are comprised of 18 categories, divided into 12 ‘Big Plates’ and 6 ‘Small Plates,’ including ‘Arrival of the Year’; ‘House Special’; ‘Off Map Destination’; ‘Atmosphere of the Year’; ‘No Reservations Required’; ‘Enduring Classic’ and ‘Ethical Thinking.’ The chosen categories reflect different levels of restaurant accessibility to form a truly democratic awards system, and will change each year in collaboration and consultation with the judging panel.

While the exciting newcomers longlisted will catch the eye of restaurant trendwatchers, long-running success stories such as Dooky Chase in New Orleans (opened 1941), a 550-year-old soba shop in Kyoto (Honke Owariya) and French staples such as La Mère Brazier and Paul Bocuse’s L’Auberge du Pont de Collonges, which all surface in the ‘Enduring Classic’ longlist, reflect the restaurant world’s rich heritage.

La Mere Brazier
Black Axe Mangal
La Mère Brazier in Lyon, France, has been longlisted in the Enduring Classic category.
Black Axe Mangal in London, United Kingdom, has achieved a spot in the No Reservations Required category.

Meanwhile, there is recognition of the need for accessibility and affordability with more democratic dining choices evident in the ‘No Reservations Required’ and ‘House Special’ categories, where everything from simple street food to sophisticated cosmopolitan fusion is represented.

The former includes Double Dragon in Paris, which fuses French flair with Chinese, Thai and Filipino influences; and Singapore’s Burnt Ends, which began life on the other side of the world as a London pop-up. While the latter takes in a very limited edition San Sebastian tortilla (Bar Nestor); and what many consider to be Italy’s greatest pizza destination (Pepe in Grani).

Similarly, the ‘Off-Map Destination’ longlist highlights far-flung and off-beat locations such as Koks, located in the unspoilt Tolkien-esque archipelago that is the Faroe Islands; Bootshaus, overlooking a picturesque peak-fringed lake in the Salzkammergut area of Upper Austria; and Slippurinn, housed in an old shipyard workshop on the Westman Islands off the south coast of Iceland.

Paul Bocuse
Bootshaus in Klosterpl, Austria, has been longlisted in the Off-Map Destination category.
Paul Bocuse's restaurant L’Auberge du Pont de Collonge in Lyon, France, has won a place in the Enduring Classic longlist.

The nomination process was undertaken by a 100-strong judging panel, which features a 50/50 gender split – the first international restaurant awards programme to achieve this balance. The cosmopolitan panel includes world-famous chefs such as Elena Arzak, Alex Atala, Massimo Bottura, David Chang, Hélène Darroze, Daniel Humm, Dan Barber, René Redzepi, Ana Roš, Yotam Ottolenghi and Clare Smyth, alongside a respected line-up of globe-trotting culinary media and influencers.

Joe Warwick, Creative Director of The World Restaurant Awards said: "We designed these categories and selected our judging panel to talk about excellent restaurants of all shapes, sizes and colours, and to provoke conversations that go beyond the usual big names and destinations.”

Andrea Petrini, Chair of the Judging Panel said: “The talented chefs, journalists and assorted rootless cosmopolitans we have assembled have not let us down with their nominations. We’re looking forward to producing the shortlists and beginning the inspections to find the winners.”

Cécile Rebbot, Director of The World Restaurant Awards, IMG, said: “The longlist nominations demonstrate why we have such faith in this project and the need for a new kind of restaurant awards. We know that they will inspire anyone that travels to discover great new restaurant experiences.”