Quotes from 2019

“It is unbelievable," he says "We are very happy, as we put a lot of energy and love into everything that we do. People come here for the food but also the welcoming, family ambience — I want guests to be comfortable.”

Franck Giovannini - Restaurant de l’Hôtel de Ville

“We work together. I’m only the captain who leads, but sometimes there are young chefs with good ideas, who have desire as well. And it’s this vitality, this energy, that ensures the restaurant is alive. [I want to] focus on the restaurant here and on trying to live the best life possible. Once again, with my purveyors, my team and with the patrons who come here.”

Guy Savoy – Restaurant Guy Savoy

“We’re cooking in modern style, but when you close your eyes, it’s like eating your grandma’s cooking. We’re innovating old recipes and making the contrast [between] art and Russian taste unite. Russia is a big country — 50 percent European, 50 percent Asian. We mix cultural ingredients and we have a lot of influence from the south and Siberia.”

Vladimir Mukhin – The White Rabbit

“It feels good to be included, and in such good company. We work hard to be a restaurant that produces change in people, so it’s an honor to be a part of this list. At Central we are committed to nature and culture. We take the experience beyond gastronomy, connecting you to the land and people through produce that might have never been used before.”

Virgilio Martinez – Central

“This is our work. It feels great to be included. I have my own style and get the finest produce I can buy. I am creative but never forget the most important thing, which is to create tasty food. I use regional products, like freshwater fish from Bavaria, but I also like Asian ingredients, like the miso you get in Japan. For me, it’s just important to get the best product.”

Jan Hartwig – Atelier

“[Being included is] humbling, because it’s the real clientele. I think it’s really, really cool that a kid from Wisconsin with a really crazy different team of people created a restaurant where people feel very comfortable to come to eat in.”

Michael White – Marea

“The award is for the restaurant, not for myself. It is truly a team effort. Having Daniela [Soto-Innes], Santiago [Gomez], Alejandro [Ruíz] and all the people who work for me is what allows me to keep expanding without losing our personality and drive. When Pujol first opened, Mexico City wasn’t a gastronomic destination, but it seemed obvious that it had the potential to become that.”

Enrique Olvera – Pujol

“How can I begin to express such overwhelming emotion and gratitude. Gratitude towards my team for their dedication; my family for their sacrifice and support; our loyal guests and the purveyors; Michelin for recognizing our work from the beginning; and finally, France — a country where I chose to express myself, that adopted me, transmitting its values of Liberty, Equality, Fraternity.”

Mauro Colagreco – Mirazur

“For me, it’s the best accolade above every other accolade because it’s the people that come here as diners, the people who love coming here. Our biggest inspiration is our guests; we have a huge regulars list, and many have become friends — that is something that drives me every day, seeing happy people in the restaurant.”

Clare Smyth – Core

“I’m so happy! I’m very honored. It’s beautiful news; it means that we succeed in the restaurant and that people are happy to come. It’s my work, but it is also the work of the whole team. It means a lot to me. It is very important to keep in mind where I come from, but also to continue forward and to challenge myself.”

Anne-Sophie Pic – Le Dame de Pic

“The art behind being a chef is creating something and wanting to share it with the world. The biggest challenge is making sure you’re consistent with your work but also pushing the limits. At the end of the day, our goal is to transport you to that theme and that place.”

Ed Tinoco – Next Restaurant

“I worked with Joël Robuchon for almost 20 years,” he says. “We have the same spirit of cooking and respect of the product. “We don’t work for Michelin stars. We try to make the best experience and make memories for [our guests].”

Julien Tongourian – Robuchon au Dôme

“It’s an important acknowledgment for us,” Roca says, commenting on El Celler de Can Roca’s place on the list. “This is rated by the people going to the restaurant, who are the ones with the most valued opinion.”

Joan Roca – El Celler de Can Roca

Quotes from 2018

“It's an amazing honor, not only for me but also for the team. It means something to all of us and reflects our hard work and passion. I love what I do and to be named Chef of the Year is fantastic encouragement to continue. Today I'm going to celebrate with a couple of glasses of champagne.”

Eric Ripert

“Wow, that’s amazing! I don’t know these people (at least, I don’t think I do!) so it feels very unbiased and truthful. It really is amazing. I’m pretty honored.”

John B Shields

“We’re very humbled and excited by the fact we went back up to number one. Of course, we were still very proud to be number two last year after being number one for four years in a row, but there’s that saying that when you’re on the top, the only place to go is down. It’s to be expected that once you start to decline that momentum continues, so the fact we regained the number one position is incredibly rewarding and validating. It shows that we are continuing to push and evolve, and people are appreciating that.”

Grant Achatz

“I’m always honored. This is my life — it’s our lives — and it makes us proud that people appreciate what we do.”

Daniel Humm

“It’s a great accomplishment because it rewards our hard work and love for what we do. It shows us people understand.”

Franck Giovannini

“Being voted for by readers is brilliant. We concentrate on what happens in the restaurant, at the table, the service, the food, and how it all comes together. If our diners are voting then it is a very humbling thing — it’s real. It’s great that we are making people happy.”

Ashley Palmer-Watts

“It’s an honor. I spend most of my time in the kitchen at DiverXO. From Tuesday to Saturday, I’m cooking there, then every Sunday and Monday I’m here at StreetXO in London. I don’t have a day off. That’s my passion.”

David Muñoz

“It’s great. It’s always good to know my customers enjoy Brae enough to tell people about it.”

Dan Hunter

Quotes from 2017

“It means the world to me. It means that my team and I have been able to communicate our mission and share our passions with our guests and the public at large. This recognition, though, is not about me, it’s about my team and what we have achieved together, not only at Osteria Francescana but also with the Food for Soul projects that we are developing. None of that could have happened without the research, development and support of the kitchen, front of house and back office team.We all are working together to make visible the invisible in our restaurant, our communities and around the world.”

Massimo Bottura, Osteria Francescana

“The best awards are those given by the guests — not just the critics, the food writers or others in the industry. We work in this industry with the aim to please the people who come to dine in our venues, so it is really the guests and the consumers that matter most. The critics write reviews and give awards so that consumers can make better judgments, but an award given by the consumers — that is truly special.”

Joël Robuchon, Joël Robuchon

“It’s always very heartfelt for me to receive such an accolade and I’m thankful that I am able to have a platform to continue connecting with my audience. It means I can have a voice, and that people are listening. I just want a dialogue with others, so I hope people will keep welcoming my ideas.”

Dominique Crenn, Atelier Crenn

“It is an incredible honor, and a little humbling, too. It makes me think back to being at Le Clos de la Violette the year that chef Jean-Marc Banzo earned his second Michelin star. This was many years ago, but I remember it so clearly. The morning after the news was announced, he was like a military general, shouting, “La défense!” What he meant, I think, is that the real challenge of an honor like this isn’t just obtaining it — it’s also how you defend it. We’re in the company of restaurants who are continuing to raise the bar for themselves.”

Dan Barber, Blue Hill at Stone Barns

“This recognition means a lot, as many of the voters would be people who have visited our restaurant. There is nothing more satisfying than seeing the joy and wellbeing of our clients. They are ultimately our reason for doing what we do.”

Eneko Atxa, Azurmendi

Quotes from 2016

“It’s great to be recognized in this way because it shows that the readers are dining and seeing what’s there when they come to the restaurant. They’re able to get a true sense of what the restaurant is about as opposed to thinking what a great restaurant should be or could be. They’re not following suit with everyone else.”

Curtis Duffy, Second Young Chef of the Year, Head Chef of Grace (Highest New Entry)

"It’s a great honor to be included among all the other world-class restaurants on this list. Our entire team works tirelessly to provide the most delicious food and gracious hospitality every single day and it’s these moments that help validate the efforts of everyone working within our walls,” the pair told Elite Traveler. “We’re humbled, but also looking forward to the continued challenge of getting better every day."

Daniel Humm, Head Chef of Eleven Madison Park

“It is a very pleasant emotion to feel appreciated by guests who visit our restaurant. They are our reason for living and existing and therefore we are so grateful for this recognition because it is these guests and readers of Elite Traveler who have conceded it to us. Furthermore, we know the importance of this acknowledgement as its relevance helps us to continue growing and for more people to know us. We feel honoured, grateful and motivated to continue working hard.”

Eneko Atxa, Head Chef of Azurmendi

“That’s what it’s all about! Because we come in early in the morning and we try to do everything we possibly can to give the guests that come through the door a great experience. It’s a very nice testament that we are on the right track to something.”

Esben Holmboe Bang, Young Chef of the Year, Head Chef of Maaemo

“It's nice to be recognized by your customers, it means you are doing something right. But behind Restaurant Gordon Ramsay there is a team of amazing talent who all work closely together and know exactly what’s needed and help manage all of the various pieces that make a restaurant run.”

Gordon Ramsay, Chef of the Year, Owner of Restaurant Gordon Ramsay

“It is an amazing honor to be selected as the best restaurant in the world five years running by Elite Traveler,” Achatz told Elite Traveler. “Alinea strives every day to produce the best possible experience and it is incredibly rewarding to be recognized by the dining public as doing so.”

Grant Achatz, Head Chef of Alinea (Winning Restaurant)

“It’s an absolutely amazing achievement for Ashley and the entire team,” says Blumenthal with typical generosity when I catch up with him the day the news is announced. “The opinion of every one of our guests is important and for Elite Traveler readers to take the time to vote for us is simply quite humbling. Of course, it’s an honor to come top in the UK, but awards or accolades are not a race. We want our guests to enjoy what we do, but going out to eat is really so subjective. I recognize that people want different restaurants for different things.”

Heston Blumenthal, Dinner by Heston Blumenthal (UK’s Highest New Entry)

“We work for the diners and to be recognized by them is the best reward we can achieve. After 16 years of Pujol, we are still in service because diners are willing to come and try what we are doing and that’s amazing. It is the same with Cosme; to see people enjoying it is incredibly satisfying. Happiness for me is giving joy to others. If they like what they experience in my restaurants, I’m happy. It is a great time to be cooking in America. The new generation of American cooks is looking beyond fine dining and understand cooking as a form of personal expression, while also making their communities stronger.”

Enrique Olvera, Head Chef of Pujol and Cosme (New Entry)

"To have moved this far up the list in just one year is pretty amazing. This is an open poll and Elite Traveler diners eat in thousands of restaurants all over the globe every year. I'm just honoured to have been this highly considered by everyone and also incredibly proud of the team at Dinner. Ultimately, this is for them!"

Ashley Palmer-Watts, Head Chef at Dinner by Heston Blumenthal

Quotes from 2015

“It’s the highest recognition a restaurant may receive. We ultimately cook to awake senses and emotions. All our work, research and creativity point to their (the diners’) experience.”

Joan Roca, El Cellar Can de Roca

“It’s really important for us to have that unbiased opinion come through. There’s a lot of ways in which restaurants can climb ladders in certain rating systems. Whether it’s through a PR or having a lot of friends or knowing people at events. So it’s always very gratifying to get recognized by (Elite Traveler) a system that doesn’t pander to that.
I think a lot of the other ratings systems and guidebooks are taking note. Because, quite honestly, a lot of chefs tend to complain about the unfairness of certain systems and I think it's really refreshing to have an evaluation based on people¹s experience when you don't even know that they're in the restaurant. It could be anybody, so it's really nice.”

Grant Achatz, Alinea

“It’s always great when we get the public recognition because when it’s a broad based public polling, they can really vote for anybody and they’ve been to dozens of restaurants in a year. And to get the vote on an open polling, where you can vote for anyone you like, that’s pretty amazing.”

Nick Kokonas, Alinea

“It’s very humbling to receive such an honor, especially one voted on by the diners. Our team works incredibly hard and this accomplishment validates all that work and intensity. It will inspire us to work even harder, to push one another, and to strive for perfection even more. Each and every service at the restaurant must be treated as if it is the only one that matters and in a sense you can say that this raises the expectations for us even more.”

Daniel Humm, Eleven Madison Park

“I am very proud of achieving this award and that everyone who has come to Azurmendi has enjoyed their individual experience. I hope they have enjoyed the pleasure of tasting the food and dining at the restaurant... I treat all of my guests as equally important, as though it is their very first time coming to the restaurant. So it is a real pleasure to be voted for by the readers of Elite Traveler.”

Eneko Atxa, Azurmendi

“We cook for a lot of reasons but certainly one of the most important reasons is our guests so it’s very important... Let’s just say that if awards didn’t exist, it’s the public who would fill your restaurant and put asses on seats, so it’s great.”

Joshua Skenes, Saison

“Absolutely brilliant. This is just incredible news and an amazing achievement for the entire team at The Fat Duck. It's a great feeling to have been recognized by Elite Traveler’s readers as one of the top five restaurants and it means a lot to all of us. We are really grateful.”

Jonny Lake, The Fat Duck

“One of the reasons we work so hard is that we are cooking for everyone; to us it doesn’t matter who is in the seat... When the recognition comes from someone who doesn’t critique restaurants for a living then it is a pretty special feeling because they are there for a different reason – to enjoy themselves and see what a restaurant is about. When people have a good time that makes me very happy.”

Sean Brock, Husk