The wait is over as the winners of the Elite 100 Restaurants 2014, proudly sponsored by Champagne Laurent-Perrier, are finally announced today.
Elite Traveler readers were surveyed on their favorite restaurants and gourmet chefs of the past year – with a countdown that included plenty of surprises.
Alineaâ€™s Head Chef Grant Achatz said: â€śItâ€™s always nice to be recognized by your industry or your guests at the restaurant. It’s good for morale.
â€śAlthough we canâ€™t base our existence on accolades and recognition, itâ€™s nice to have some reassurance that youâ€™re doing the right thing and that people like what youâ€™re doing.â€ť
A delighted Daniel Boulud of NYâ€™s Restaurant DANIEL, which also made the top three last year, added: â€śElite Traveler readers visit so many great restaurants in the world, so it is especially rewarding when we make an impact on them.â€ť
Meanwhile, in addition to a top three ranking for his Berkshire restaurant The Fat Duck – soon to relocate to Melbourne for a six month stint – UK celebrity chef Heston Blumenthal also picks up the reader voted award for Chef of the Year.
Self-taught TV favorite Blumenthal commented: â€śFood critics are very important for the business and obviously to bring the general public in, but ultimately you’re cooking for your customers and you want to give them the best pleasure and experience.Â So to have this recognition, after weâ€™ve been going for nearly twenty years, itâ€™s fantastic.â€ť
The highest new entry on this yearâ€™s countdown is Azurmendi in Northern Spain, which breaks straight into the top ten at number seven.
Renowned food critic Andy Hayler, who has eaten at every Michelin-starred restaurant in the world, believes it is an accolade that is well earned. â€śOf all of the new three star Michelin restaurants in the last couple of years, this is the one that – by some margin – delivered the best meal,â€ť he said.
By city, London and Paris tie for the most entries on the list, with sixteen in total, while New York and Tokyo are close behind with six each. In terms of countries, France has a staggering 18 restaurants on the list with the USA and UK joint second with 12 restaurants.
Talking about how the Elite 100 Restaurants differs from other culinary awards, Hayler commented: â€śI think the key difference between the Elite Traveler list and some of the other ones that are out there is that itâ€™s driven by customer feedback.
â€śIn other words, the subscribers to the magazine, the readers of the magazine, are paying their own bills and they are the ones who are voting. And therefore to me it has a certain amount of credibility.â€ť
To read the full list of winners in the Elite 100 Restaurants 2014, click here.