UK's Restaurant magazine announced the winners of the 2005 Best Restaurant in the World awards three days ago. Discussions on the subject are becoming an annual tradition, a clear sign of the success, like it or not, of the awards. No big surprises in the first three places: Thomas Keller's The French Laundry looses first place, finishing third (but gets the Best in Americas award and 7th place with Per se), after home boy Heston Blumenthal's The Fat Duck and Adrià's El Bulli. The final results can be seen on many websites. Let me pick a fellow blogger: if you want the complete list go over to Alder's post on Vinography.
Reporting on these awards has been minimal to say the least in Italy in the past. Not so this year: papers (like Corriere della Sera and Repubblica), blogs (like Papero Giallo and kitchenstories) and food forums and discussion groups all reacted to the news. The principal reasons are simple.
The UK beating Italy 14 to 3 is quite humiliating, but then the choice of Cecchino dal 1887, a good trattoria dedicated to offal but not more than that, as best Italian on the list turns on the verge of ridicule. I've read baffled and angry comments and attacks directed to those who made the list ranging from head shaking to plain insult. Nobody, on the other hand, really seemed to make an effort to find out how this list was really put together.