On Saturday 30th May, I received a text message from the editor of The Upcoming (www.theupcoming.co.uk) — a site with news related to exciting things happening in Food, Movies, Arts, etc. — asking if I wanted to help him at a food event and to call back for details if interested. We set up a Skype session where he told me that the event was in fact the San Pellegrino World’s Best Restaurant Awards ceremony, which was going to happen two days later at Guildhall in London. He wanted me to interview the top chefs in the world for the site. What was the catch? It just seemed too good to be true. And why me? Well, he found me though twitter and chose me as I had been to a lot of the top restaurants, am clearly food obsessed, and travel a lot.
I met him for a coffee that Sunday to go over the details, and, of course, so that he could meet me in person to assess if I would do OK holding the microphone and asking the chefs intelligent questions. I guess I must have passed the test as I got the green light to be there at 5pm Monday, ready to identify chefs and get them on camera.
The chefs started arriving at 6pm and were extremely friendly (with one or two exceptions that shall remain nameless) and willing to answer questions. They were of course very excited to be at such a prestigious event and didn’t seem nervous with the potential outcome or rankings (they could have been hiding their emotions well).
We were able to get a lot of great interviews for the site and I had the best time meeting the world’s most incredible chefs, such as René Redzepi from Noma (noma.dk) (I am finally going to Noma in September), and the friendliest ever, Massimo Bottura from Osteria Francescana (www.osteriafrancescana.it), who was there with his beautiful wife Lara. René is now number 3 in the World and Massimo is number 2. The Roca brothers reclaimed the number 1 spot after falling to number 2 for one year.
I also loved meeting Daniel Humm from Eleven Madison Park and the Nomad (that truffle roasted chicken, yum) and Grant Achatz, as I will never forget my 25 course affair at Alinea a little while back. (They don’t even do 25 course menus anymore…). And in terms of more local chefs, I had a fun time with Brett Graham, the chef from The Ledbury, reminiscing about his insanely tasty muntjac dumplings (review on www.samstewartetc.com/the-ledbury-london-review) we had there recently and chatting to Simon Rogan about his holidays, Michelin stars, and (off camera) about football. And of course I had great memories from my recent meal at Fera (www.samstewartetc.com/fera-claridges).
After all of our hard work and the awards ceremony, we were rewarded with a great cocktail party with yummy nibbles and fun people watching as the chefs relaxed and celebrated.
Here are the videos to the interviews. Sadly, next year the awards are in New York and I will have to convince Fillipo to fly me across the pond.
All interviews can be found at www.theupcoming.co.uk/2015/06/02/the-worlds-50-best-restaurants-awards-2015-interviews-with-the-chefs.