Capeto­nian Tam­sin Sny­man, World’s 50 Best res­tau­rant judge for Africa & In­dian Ocean Is­lands, was in Bil­bao, Spain, for the an­nounce­ment of these pres­ti­gious awards

Sunday Times - - Food & Drink -

Dubbed the Os­cars of the food world, the event saw the coming to­gether of the great­est chefs on the planet, the academy chairs re­spon­si­ble for the votes, spon­sors and hos­pi­tal­ity me­dia. Since 2002 The World’s 50 Best Restau­rants has pro­moted and re­flected the di­ver­sity of the global culi­nary land­scape, be­com­ing one of the most in­flu­en­tial and re­spected gas­tro­nomic tastemak­ers in the world.

It is an honour to rep­re­sent the re­gion, Africa & In­dian Ocean Is­lands, as academy chair and be re­spon­si­ble for my panel of 40 vot­ers in my re­gion. Our re­gion is one of 26. Ev­ery year I arm each gourmet globe-trot­ting voter with 10 votes. They re­ceive a se­cret pass­word di­rectly from the team in Lon­don and vote for their 10 best res­tau­rant ex­pe­ri­ences.

Six of their 10 votes need to be for restau­rants in their own re­gion; the re­main­ing four for restau­rants in other re­gions. My team of vot­ers re­mains anonymous and the process is strictly con­fi­den­tial and in­de­pen­dently au­dited by Deloitte.

I change 25% of my vot­ers ev­ery year.

There is no pre­de­ter­mined check­list. There is no hid­den se­cret or recipe. There are no cri­te­ria, but there are strict vot­ing rules. The list is the re­sult of the col­lec­tive views of in­de­pen­dent ex­perts who cel­e­brate cre­ativ­ity, qual­ity, in­no­va­tion, pas­sion, ded­i­ca­tion, de­li­cious food and great restau­rants.

We cel­e­brate the world’s di­verse and in­no­va­tive gas­tron­omy and unite a unique com­mu­nity of ex­tra­or­di­nary tal­ent. South African restau­rants have al­ways shone on this pres­ti­gious list.

Last year, with the event in Mel­bourne, Aus­tralia, The Test Kitchen tum­bled off the list from 22 to 63 as the res­tau­rant went through re­fur­bish­ment and trans­for­ma­tion. This year sees Luke, Ryan and his su­per team at The

Test Kitchen climb a whop­ping 13 places to land in 50th po­si­tion, ahead of le­gendary greats like The Fat Duck, The French Laun­dry and St John. They are clearly do­ing some­thing in­cred­i­bly in­ven­tive to own this space and I look for­ward to watch­ing them climb again.

The World’s 50 Best Res­tau­rant Awards takes place in a dif­fer­ent coun­try ev­ery year, and hav­ing played out in New York in 2016, de­toured to Mel­bourne, Aus­tralia, last year and now Bil­bao in Spain, the world waits in an­tic­i­pa­tion of the an­nounce­ment of the next city to host the world’s gourmet greats.

“My team and I have taken some risks over the last year and worked ex­tremely hard to evolve The Test Kitchen to what it is to­day. It’s thrilling that it has paid off.” CHEF LUKE DALE ROBERTS THE TEST KITCHEN

A dish from the win­ning res­tau­rant, Os­te­ria Frances­cana, Mo­dena, Italy; Be­low: Luke Dale Roberts and a dish from The Test Kitchen

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