Friday, May 3, 2013



The World's 50 Best Restaurants 2013 were announced on April 29th in The Guildhall, London The annual list sponsored by San Pellegrino and the Restaurant Magazine - amongst others - has been gaining some respect over the years but it was ripe for a change at the top after Noma ruled the roost for 3 years. It was the Spanish Armada this time; El Cellar de Can Roca at number one and Mugaritz #4. Arzak retained their #8 spot.

El Celler de Can Roca #1

Mugaritz #4

Elena Arzak - Arzak #8

Noma had pressure removed by coming #2 - the list had to change this year; the cynical may say that it made commercial sense to have a new #1. Rene Redzepi will come back fighting next year.

Rene Redzepi -Noma #2

Massimo Bottura from Osteria Francescana may still be celebrating his #3 position - not sure if he has been to bed yet. A great accolade for a wonderful restaurant situated in Modena.

Massimo Bottura - Osteria Francescana #3

Steirereck from Vienna richly deserved a top 10 at #9. Another restaurant that has to be on the list and near the top. Everyone will argue about ratings - but the top this year merit their place. Further down, the positions are rather strange and reflect the jury system used to decide the Top 100.

Astrid y Gaston made a spectacular rise to #14 - an improvement of 21 places. Other favourites in the list are Faviken #34, Per Se #11 and Dinner by Heston #7

Faviken #34

Per Se #11

Monday, September 24, 2012


"Made in Sicily" is an ode to sunny Sicilian cuisine. A cookbook about an Italian island where the unique fusion of cultures jumps from every page. The Greeks, Arabs, Spaniards and French all left their traces, resulting in a extremely varied but authentic Italian cuisine.

Originally from Northern Italy, chef Giorgio Locatelli has had many restaurant successes in London where he now holds a Michelin star - but he only really discovered the island at the tip of the boot a few years ago. He revealed this during the  launch of the Dutch version in Amsterdam at Toscanini restaurant. He was fell in love with the island - the almost mythical atmosphere and stunning pure taste of the products -  wine and olive oil, spices, citrus fruit, fish and vegetables - and the cinematic backdrop in which everyday island life takes place. A life that always revolves around the time of being together at the table.

Since then Giorgio and his wife and children visit Sicily twice a year; crisscrossing the island visiting local producers and gathering recipes on the way from all sections of the population that are passed down through the generations. From simple 'street food' to complex aristocratic dishes. All these experiences are gathered together by Giorgio in a very readable cookbook entitled Made in Sicily. An account of a personal discovery through an exciting exotic landscape - so close but still to many unknown. "Even their language is completely different," said an enthusiastic Locatelli. Fortunately, the language of 'food' is universal.

"Made in Sicily" by Giorgio Locatelli; Fontaine Publishers, ISBN 978 9072 9 75 102 34,95 euros.

Publisher: Fontaine Uitgevers B.V.

Monday, August 27, 2012


Hotels should not only be a comfortable place to stay but can also offer a lifestyle element to the business traveller and private guest. With this in mind, the international Starwood hotel group recently launched the Le Méridien Hub directly opposite Brussels Central station. A concept whereby the traditional hotel lobby has been transformed into a contemporary and interactive zone with an avant-garde interior, a coffee/cocktail bar and a display of cutting-edge art. Under the name "Unlock Art", new keycards have been decorated with images created by selected artists - these will certainly become collector's items. Not only do they look good but also provide free entrance to the Palace of Fine Arts - BOZAR -  which is only a 3 minute walk from the hotel. This is yet another special step that Starwood has taken to bring the established hotel image into the 21st century- something started by the lobby "living room" concept in their trendy W hotels worldwide. The new Le Méridien will also kick-start a welcome regeneration of the area around the railway station. During the last few months, more than 200 rooms and suites have been brought on-stream after a complete makeover as you can see in the photos below. Another must is L'Epicerie restaurant ( 15 points GaultMillau ) under the very capable leadership of chef Vincent Masson.

Monday, May 7, 2012


The awards for the World's 50 Best restaurants sponsored by San Pellegrino and Acqua Panna were held on April 30th at The Guildhall in London. Another chance for the greatest chefs to meet up before hearing their positions in the 10th edition of the awards that are gaining more worldwide importance.

NOMA is number one again for the third year running;  El Celler de Can Roca 2nd, Dinner by Heston Blumenthal was the highest new entry at 6; Hibiscus from Claude Bosi dropped to 94 and out of the top 50 - we visited the restaurant a few day's later and had a fantastic meal. The 50 Best List is certainly personal and can lead to many differences of opinion. Alvin Leung from Bo Innovation in Hong Kong at 52 is our tip for the Top 50 next year. He will open in London later this year.

Special awards to Thomas Keller for his lifetime's work, Elena Arzak for Best Female chef and the Slow Food Award went to Steirereck in Vienna. We have visited all these chefs and the recognition is really well deserved

Massimo Bottura - who achieved a fantastic 5th place - is the charismatic chef/owner from one of our real favourites, Osteria Francescana in Modena, Italy. The video interview below shows the importance of the awards for the local producers in his region of Emilia-Romagna and how much a place in the top 5 means to him. You can find more info on a previous blog from November 17, 2011 when he was awarded 3 Michelin stars.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012


The 8 dogmas according to Chiang

Andre Chiang was in Amsterdam this week at the invitation of chefs Alain Caron and Ferry van Houten with his intriguing Octaphilosophy....his Octa ... what?! Octaphilosophy - eight self-defined words describing the philosophy behind the special cooking style of this young (33), passionate - and very French - chef from Singapore. "The idea behind a creation is the main interest for me. It doesn't matter whether it's a sculpture, a painting or a plate of food. Every day, a wealth of fresh ingredients are delivered to the restaurant and they inspire me to create a complete 8-course menu....spontaneously .We do not work with recipes, rather with sketches that are pinned on the wall. "

Each dish in this daily - or even hourly - changing 8 course menu is inextricably linked to the 8 themes, based on Andre's philosophy that good food is an emotional experience encompassing the elements that Andre feels are the distillation of his art - Memory; Purity, Terroir, Uniqueness, South, Artisan, Salt and Texture. A squid ink risotto transformed into an Oriental cracker or a goose liver chawanmushi are amongst the interpretations on offer. He sculpts his culinary compositions around these fixed themes with his dedicated team. He believes in all modesty that perfection does not exist ..."we can only aspire."

In Asia, Andre Chiang is already a celebrated chef and thanks to his inclusion in the San Pellegrino list of World's 50 Best Restaurants he is enjoying growing fame in Europe. In our opinion, Andre is on the way towards the top. Would you also like to experience this? The Amsterdam restaurant Het Bosch will present an eight course Octaphilosphy dinner every Thursday this month (March)... saves the air fare or helps you decide to experience even more in Singapore.