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Online petition launched to protest World's 50 Best Restaurants awards

Relaxnews (AFP) logoRelaxnews (AFP) 5/21/2015
A ranking of restaurants has been accused of sexism for being dominated by male chefs. © Provided by AFPRelaxNews A ranking of restaurants has been accused of sexism for being dominated by male chefs.

An online petition has been launched protesting The World’s 50 Best Restaurants, with critics lambasting the event as “opaque, sexist and priggishly self-pleasing.”

Modeled after the Occupy Wall Street movement, Occupy50Best is being launched by a trio of angry foodspotters in France who are urging sponsors and financial backers to stop supporting the awards.

Their list of grievances is long and severe.

And their tagline “Stop Intoxicating Us!” is being used both figuratively and literally.

“What do the Danish restaurant Noma, the Spanish El Bulli and the English The Fat Duck have in common?” reads the posting.

“They have intoxicated hundreds of their customers and, in spite of this, they have each been crowned ‘Best Restaurant of the World’ by the annual ranking.

Diners at both Noma and The Fat Duck were sickened by outbreaks of norovirus in recent years while El Bulli has been accused of ‘poisoning’ its guests with the array of chemicals and substances used in molecular gastronomy.

“The result? A ranking that shamelessly mixes partiality...self promotion...and male chauvinism.”

To support their argument, the group, made up of food blogger Marie ‘Eatsider,’ journalist Hind Meddeb and public relations consultant Zoe Reyners, charge that partner countries Peru and Singapore are particularly over-represented; that some of the ranked chefs are also jury members; and that only one out of the 50 ranked chefs in 2014 was woman.

So far, one of the biggest supporters of the petition includes Joel Robuchon, whose L’Atelier Saint-Germain de Joel Robuchon in Paris is ranked in 31st place.

It’s not the first time since the awards were launched out of London in 2002 that Restaurant magazine, which organizes the event, has been criticized. The awards have rubbed some of the biggest names in gastronomy the wrong way by omitting Michelin-starred industry titans, or placing them behind young, unstarred chefs.

Meanwhile, to bring greater legitimacy to the process, organizers have announced that new this year, votes will be tallied by a third-party adjudicator. For the 2015 edition of the awards, Deloitte will count the votes and authenticate the results.

Likewise, in response to accusations of being male-heavy, the group created the World’s Best Female Chef award a few years back.

With the growing popularity and influence of the World’s 50 Best awards around the world, other outfits have followed suit, compiling their own version of restaurant rankings.

Food blog The Daily Meal releases the “101 Best European Restaurants"; Opinionated About Dining just released their take on the best restaurants in the US; while Elite Traveler compiles their own "Top 100 Restaurants in the World."

The winners of the World’s 50 Best Restaurants will be announced June 1 in London.

Signatories of the petition can be found at

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