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The best restaurant in the world is New York's Eleven Madison Park

Business Insider Australia logo Business Insider Australia 5/04/2017 Simon Thomsen

Chef Ben Shewry at his Attica restaurant in Melbourne. © Fairfax Media/Getty Images Chef Ben Shewry at his Attica restaurant in Melbourne. It's prom night for the global restaurant industry with the World's 50 Best restaurants being announced in Melbourne this evening.

What started out as a small roundup of where English chefs liked to eat in 2002 for a London trade magazine - the now defunct Elbulli in Spain was no. 1, followed by London's Gordon Ramsay (he no longer makes the cut) and American Thomas Keller's French Laundry - has become a huge and highly anticipated global phenomenon.

While there's plenty of debate over the idea that a single restaurant is the "best" - former number one Heston Blumenthal wants to change the name of the awards to "50 Favourite" - it's an accolade that has people from around the planet flocking to the winner for culinary bragging rights.

It's now big business, with major sponsors and this year, Tourism Australia and its state equivalent, Visit Victoria, handed over $800,000 to host the event in Melbourne this year. It's part of a three-year strategy to lure tourists Down Under, enticed by the quality of the produce and chefs here.

Chefs, journalists and "influencers" have been flown in from around the planet as tourism officials showcase the best Australia has to put in their mouths.

© Provided by Business Insider Inc But when it comes to the popularity contest that is the World's 50 Best, Australia has struggled in the rankings in recent years. Neil Perry, whose now closed Rockpool slipped from the top 50 rankings several years ago, is cooking supper for the awards after party, and Peter Gilmore - ranked 95 this year, Quay's eight appearance in the top 100 - was part of team who served dinner for the visiting chefs last night.

Ben Shewry of Melbourne's Attica in Melbourne has been the sole Australian flagbearer in the list for the past few years - a far cry from 2004 when Tetsuay's in Sydney was named the Chef's Choice restaurants of the year and sat alongside the likes of Rockpool and later, Quay, on the top 50 list.

But there's hope for Australia this year, with Dan Hunter's Brae 2-hour drive southwest of Melbourne, missing from the 51-10 list last week after coming in at at 65, up 22 places, in 2016, the second time it featured having only opened in 2016.

Business Insider is off the Oscars for people who use a knife and fork to eat, and we'll be announcing who's on the list as it happens here.

Here's the countdown - keep hitting refresh for the latest entries:

50. Hof Van Cleve, Belgium
49. Tegui, Buenos Airer
48. Tim Raue, Berlin
47. Vendome, Cologne
46. L'Astrance, Paris
45. Den, Tokyo
44. Brae, Birregurra, Victoria
43. Reale, Castel Di Sangro, Italy
42. Borago, Santiago
41. Ultraviolet by Paul Pairet, Shanghai
40. Cosme, New York
39. Relae, Copenhagen
38. Azurmendi Atxa, Larrabetzu, Spain
37. Saison, San Francisco
36. Dinner by Heston, London
35. Septime, Paris
34. De Librije, Zwolle, Netherlands
33. Astrid y Gaston! Lima, Peru
32. Attica, Melbourne
31. Alléno Paris au Pavillon Ledoyen, Paris
30. Arzak, San Sebastián, Spain
29. Le Calandre, Rubano, Italy
28. Nahm, Bangkok
27. The Ledbury, London
26. The Clove Club, London
25. Tickets, Barcelona
24. Amber, Hong Kong
23. White Rabbit, Moscow
22. Quintonil, Mexico City
21. Alinea, Chicago
20. Pujol, Mexico City
19. Geranium, Copenhagen
18. Narisawa, Tokyo
17. Le Bernardin, New York
16. D.O.M., São Paulo, Brazil
15. Piazza Duomo, Alba, Italy
14. Restaurant Andre, Singapore
13. Alain Ducasse au Plaza Athenee, Paris
12. Arpege, Paris
11. Blue Hill at Stone Barns, New York
10. Steirereck, Austria
9. Mugaritz, Spain
8. Maido, Peru
7. Gaggan, S
6. Asador Etxebarru, Spain
5. Central, Peru
4. Mirazur,
3. El Celler de can Roca, Girona, Spain
2. Osteria Francescana, Italy
1. Eleven Madison Park, New York

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