Marketing farce hard to swallow

So it’s Noma, is it? Again? I’m trying very hard to care about the winner of 2014’s world’s 50 best restaurants, thought up as a wheeze by Restaurant magazine, an estimable niche publication that morphs, for one brief week a year, into the most important organ in the whole culinary universe.

“The world’s 50 best” polarises industry observers. There are those of us who look at it askance, questioning how all these “impartial” judges have scored reservations at some of the world’s hardest-to-book tables, managing to finance the travel and restaurant bills themselves. Then there are the chefs and restaurateurs who take the whole thing insanely seriously. A place at the top is excellent for business.

There’s much to enrage and mock: the relatively recent admission that Japan might have something going for it restaurant-wise. The introduction of “Asia’s 50 best” and “Latin America’s 50 best events” – so what does “world’s 50 best” mean? The fact that their best Asian restaurant is run by an Australian. The idea that Dinner by Heston Blumenthal, a dull hotel restaurant, is the fifth best in the world. The tokenistic award for best female chef – where’s the one for best male chef?

As the predictable names scroll by on Twitter – there’s nothing revelatory – I’m stifling a yawn. Yes, the remote Faviken is up 15 places; perhaps they organised a charabanc. But people love a list, even if it’s an unscientific job.

As a marketing exercise for the restaurant business, I suppose “the world’s 50 best” is to be welcomed, although it operates at a rarefied level that doesn’t give a toss about the mom-and-pop joints struggling to stay in business. As a massive marketing exercise for San Pellegrino – if you stopped for a breather in the uncharted heart of the Suriname rainforest, someone would probably offer you a San Pel – it’s a work of genius.

For food bores who like to tick off restaurants on a joyless list, it’s a magnificent circle jerk. But for the normal restaurantgoer, these hyperbolic junkets just feed the fear of missing out and raise expectations – look, Mom, I’m in the best restaurant in the world – that are forever destined to be dashed. – © Guardian News & Media 2014

We make it make sense

If this story helped you navigate your world, subscribe to the M&G today for just R30 for the first three months

Subscribers get access to all our best journalism, subscriber-only newsletters, events and a weekly cryptic crossword.”

Related stories

WELCOME TO YOUR M&G

Already a subscriber? Sign in here

Advertising

Latest stories

Hlophe accuses high court of trying to rewrite the law

The court deviated impermissibly from the constitution to sanctify the composition of the Judicial Service Commission when it found that he should face impeachment for gross misconduct, the Western Cape judge president argued in an application for leave to appeal

Boehly’s Chelsea takeover puts US tycoon in spotlight

The American has grand ambitions for the west London club as he targets sustained success on the pitch and financial growth off it.

‘Myths’ are keeping township residents from sterilising pets

The Mdzananda Animal Clinic in Khayelitsha wants to increase the number of pets getting sterilised to curb overpopulation.

We need to declare a state of emergency on policing

Never was the saying ‘Who will guard the guardians?’ more appropriate than at the present
Advertising

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…
×