Italy’s “Osteria Francescana” was crowned world’s best restaurant of 2016 at an awards ceremony in New York, the first Italian establishment to win the annual accolade.
Run by chef Massimo Bottura, “Osteria Francescana” pipped last year’s winner, Spain’s “El Celler de Can Roca,” in the World’s 50 Best Restaurants awards, after coming second in 2015.
The Italian chef, whose world-famous restaurant in Modena came number three in 2013 and 2014, was emotional in accepting his award yesterday.
“I want to thank everyone because it’s been so hard, our job is all about art work,” an ecstatic Bottura told the ceremony. “It’s all about our work, in the kitchen everyday to work and succeed.”
With Spain’s “El Celler de Can Roca” knocked down to second place, the third spot went to New York’s “Eleven Madison Park.”
The top 10 was rounded out by restaurants in Peru, Denmark – former four-time winner “Noma” – France, Spain, Japan and Austria.
Three French chefs won individual honours, with Alain Passard of Arpege given a lifetime achievement award, French-born Dominique Crenn named best female chef and Pierre Herme best pastry chef.
The accolades came after critics complained last year that the system was open to abuse since the jury do not have to offer physical evidence of having actually visited any particular restaurant.
The bulk of those complaints came from France, which in 2016 made it into the top 10 for the first time in three years but has never managed to win first prize.
The board praised Bottura for his twists on traditional ingredients and his “Five Ages of Parmigiano Reggiano” in particular.
The awards said he crafted the world-famous cheese into “forms and textures most diners will never have previously experienced.”