Here's how the World Restaurant Awards is going to shake things up


Updated 27/9/18 with award categories

The World Restaurant Awards are going to take place in Paris next February.  Here, founder Joe Warwick (who also wrote the original article that spawned the World’s 50 Best Restaurants) explains how it’s going to change the international restaurant awards landscape.


1. It’s NOT another (insert swear word) list

The World’s 50 Best Restaurants and the various others that have been ‘inspired’ by that format - OAD, La Liste, Elite Traveller - produce pop charts of expensive restaurants with arguably arbitrary rankings. What does ‘Best’ mean? ‘Best’ for what exactly? Instead The World Restaurant Awards will present prizes to a wide range of restaurants across specific categories.


2. It’s open to every flavour of restaurant and not just the tasting menu and tweezers brigade

It will not only be about expensive restaurants with long waiting lists for reservations that, for the most part, the world already knows about. Expect categories for affordable, long-running and ethically-minded restaurants.


3. No special prizes for ‘the ladies’

It’s judging panel is gender-balanced with 50 / 50 men and women. We don’t believe in gender specific awards. At the same time we’re under no illusion that the composition of the panel will guarantee half of the shortlisted restaurants will be run by women. But in this way, hopefully, a lot more female restaurant talent will be recognised.


4. Total transparency and formal inspections

The judging panel and voting process will be strict, transparent and fair. The 100-strong judging panel will be published after nominations take place it the autumn. The names of everyone involved in the decision making process (not just those in charge) will be made public. The shortlisted restaurants in each category will be inspected unannounced by members of the judging panel to decide the winners.


5. It will be on TV

As opposed to be a magazine article that became an awards, The World Restaurant Awards has been designed as an awards show from the very beginning. It will be made into a TV programme, shown on various networks around the world.


Since writing this, the categories for the awards have just been announced. Longlist nominations for these categories will be announced later this Autumn 2018.  

‘Big Plates'

  • Restaurant of the Year (chosen from winners of all the ‘Big Plate’ categories)
  • Arrival of the Year (new restaurants opened between 1 Oct 2017 – 30 Sept 2018)
  • Off-Map Destination of the Year (restaurants in remote locations)
  • Atmosphere of the Year (taking into consideration service, acoustics and ambience)
  • Event of the Year (for restaurant residencies, pop-ups etc.)
  • Ethical Thinking (recognising environmental policy, staff welfare, community engagement etc.)
  • House Special (for establishments defined by one particular dish)
  • Original Thinking (for restaurants excelling in terms of creativity and artistic expression)
  • Enduring Classic (open for at least 50 years in the same location with the same concept, preferably - although not necessarily - with the same owners)
  • Forward Drinking (recognising innovative drink offerings, be it wine, beer, cocktails, coffee, tea or a juice pairing)
  • Collaboration of the Year (for a restaurant working with a farmer, forager, fisherman, winemaker or other supplier on an exceptional food, drink or design product)
  • No Reservations Required (for accessible, affordable and authentic restaurants where it’s possible – hopefully – to just turn up and eat)

'Small Plates'

  • Red Wine-serving Restaurant of the Year (considering red grape-loving establishments)
  • Long-form Restaurant Journalism of the Year (for pieces over 1,500 words on (a) restaurants(s) or a subject connected to (a) restaurant(s))
  • Trolley of the Year (for the tableside service of cheese, dessert, dim sum etc.)
  • Tattoo-free Chef of the Year
  • Tweezer-free Kitchen of the Year
  • Instagram Account of the Year (must be restaurant-related)


More about the World Restaurant Awards

When is it? 18 February 2019

Find out more: Visit their website or follow them on Instagram @worldrestawards


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