BILBAO TO HOST THE WORLD’S 50 BEST RESTAURANTS AWARDS IN 2018

The World’s 50 Best Restaurants Awards To Be Hosted in Bilbao in 2018

BILBAO TO HOST THE WORLD’S 50 BEST RESTAURANTS AWARDS IN 2018

The World’s 50 Best Restaurants has today announced that its 2018 awards and event program will take place in the Basque region of Spain, with its flagship ceremony hosted in the city of Bilbao. The World’s 50 Best Restaurants is working in partnership with the Government of Biscay to bring its prestigious events to a region of Spain celebrated for its outstanding gastronomy.

BILBAO TO HOST THE WORLD’S 50 BEST RESTAURANTS AWARDS IN 2018

Bilbao

The 2018 location marks a return to Europe for the world’s most important annual gourmet gathering, after hugely successful editions in Australia this year and in New York in 2016. The move to Spain is part of The World’s 50 Best Restaurants’ global tour, which it kicked off in 2016 following 13 years of the awards being held in the UK.

“We are delighted to be moving to the Basque region of Spain, and to be working with the Government of Biscay, on our 2018 edition of The World’s 50 Best Restaurants. As a country, Spain has long been at the forefront of gastronomy and the Basque region, in particular, has an incredibly rich culinary culture. The area around Bilbao and San Sebastian is famous for its concentration of outstanding restaurants – ranging from internationally acclaimed destinations to its renowned pintxos bars – making it one of the world’s great food destinations.” William Drew, Group Editor of The World’s 50 Best Restaurants

The World’s 50 Best Restaurants’ annual announcement is a true celebration of global gastronomy, bringing together a unique community of visionaries across the culinary landscape. The awards are based on the votes of The World’s 50 Best Restaurants Academy, an influential group of over 1,000 international leaders in the restaurant community.

In 2018, the main awards ceremony will take place in Bilbao, the capital of the Bizkaia province in northern Spain, famous for its food culture, its regional autonomy and the landmark Guggenheim Museum. Associated events that form part of The World’s 50 Best Restaurants program (such as 50BestTalks and the Chefs’ Feast) will also take place in other locations within the wider Basque region, including nearby San Sebastian, which is home to the Basque Culinary Center.

The region currently boasts four restaurants on The World’s 50 Best Restaurants 2017 list: Asador Etxebarri in Axpe (No.6), Mugaritz near San Sebastian (No.9), Arzak in San Sebastian (No.30) and Azurmendi near Bilbao (No.38). Furthermore, Nerua – located within the Guggenheim in Bilbao – appears on the 51-100 list at No.56, while Martin Berasategui in nearby Lasarte-Oria is ranked No.77. In the 15-year history of The World’s 50 Best Restaurants, Spain as a whole has been very strongly represented with both El Bulli and El Celler de Can Roca topping the list to be named The World’s Best Restaurant on a number of occasions. Both Mugaritz and Arzak have featured in the elite group of 50 for over a decade.

The list is created from the votes of The World’s 50 Best Restaurants Academy, an influential group of over 1,000 international leaders in the restaurant community. The panel in each region is made up of food writers and critics, chefs, restaurateurs and highly regarded ‘gastronomes’. Members list their choices in order of preference, based on their best restaurant experiences of the previous 18 months. There is no pre-determined check-list of criteria, but there are strict voting rules.

To see more details on The World’s 50 Best Restaurants voting process, visit www.theworlds50best.com/the-academy/

Chopstreets

How A Former Banker Launched The First App Dedicated To African and Caribbean Food in The UK

Vivian ChopstreetsVivian Ngwodo is part of a new generation of women, particularly women of African descent, who are using technology to take ownership of the entrepreneurial landscape. Born and raised in Nigeria, Vivian has always been a solutions provider, a problem solver and lover of food. In 2010, Vivian resigned from her Foreign Operations job in one of Nigeria’s major banks and embarked on a journey to Scotland to pursue a Master’s Degree and began her career journey in the U.K financial industry. She relocated to London in 2012 to start a new job and was excited at the fact that being in London also meant having more access to her beloved Nigerian food. However, Vivian soon discovered how difficult and frustrating it was to find Nigerian or other African restaurants in London. Even though she quickly adapted to British and Asian foods which were readily available, once in a while, she craved Nigerian food and wanted to introduce her friends to it as well.

When Vivian realized that there was very little visibility or recognition of African and Caribbean restaurants she was inspired to launch a restaurant blog and a super directory where she reviewed and listed African and Caribbean restaurants and food business from across London in 2014. By 2015 and 2016, there was a sudden rise in African Supper Clubs in London and Londoners were excitedly looking to try the exotic and diverse flavours from the African continent.  Whilst undertaking an internship with a digital media company, Vivian began developing a Location based app that would make it easier for people from all ethnicities to find & review African and Caribbean restaurants.

Chopstreets is an exciting new social app, the first of its kind in the UK dedicated to Afro-Caribbean food that finds and curates the best African and Caribbean restaurants, takeaways, pop-ups and supper clubs. With the social networking feature, users can eat their way around the African continent and taste the delicacies of The Caribbean. Now people can instantly see African and Caribbean food recommended by their friends and contacts and event share their own dining experiences.

Chopstreets

‘African and Caribbean cuisines have been under-represented for far too long and I am on a mission to make them famous by using technology to provide a platform for people to discover Afro-Caribbean cuisine easily and also set a standard for the Afro-Caribbean food industry in the U.K. My vision for Chopstreets is that it becomes an active social network for both African and Non-Africans as I believe eating is a social activity and the best friendships are made over food.’ – Vivian Ngwodo, Founder of Chopstreets

Vivian’s innovative solution will make African and Caribbean Cuisine more accessible to the wider culinary world and change the way people view African and Caribbean cuisine forever.

http://www.chopstreets.com/

Instagram: @chopstreets
Twitter: @chopstreets

App: http://www.chopstreets.com/chopstreets-app-support/

Small Plates With a Big Taste At VOC Cocktail Bar and Restaurant

I was recently invited back to VOC Cocktail bar and restaurant which I had the pleasure of visiting a while ago. This foodie gem in a hidden courtyard located away from the hustle and bustle of Kings Cross is definitely worth a visit.

The new menu is inspired by the traders and adventurers of the 17th Century. It takes diners on a culinary adventure of small plates across three key territories: ‘From the Sea’; ‘From the Land’ and ‘From the Field’. By encouraging diners to select 2-3 small plates each this concept encourages communal dining in a warm and cosy environment.

Upon arrival we experienced a lovely warm welcoming which I could see was extended to all guests of the restaurant not just because I was an invited guest.

We enjoyed some lovely welcome cocktails. I went for a Raspberry Shrub which is bottle
matured for at least one week and is made using Pampero Especial with fresh lemon juice, honey and fresh raspberries. It is a sweet cocktail which I enjoyed and I particularly like the way in which it was presented. My friend enjoyed The Butterfly which consists of Spiced rum, ginger liqueur & coconut, topped with ginger beer & served with dried lime & a splash of liquorice which was not too sweet and had a great ginger flavour.

From the menu we selected six dishes, two from each territory. From The Sea we selected: Sea Farer Batativa Scallops with Dutch Gin, Baby Greens and Tomato Salsa, Garlic Pan Fried Prawns with chilli.

From the land we selected; Scottish Blackface Lamb, assorted Herb Crusted lamb cutlets served with petite grilled veg along with Grilled Veal Kalbi, Korean marinated veal with wild mushrooms.

From the field: Chargrilled ribbons of Aubergine & Courgette with Feta, sweet basil and lemon as well as Patatas Bravas, cubed roasted potatoes.

Of all the six small dishes my favouries were the Blackface lamb and the Pan Fried Prawns. They were just so perfectly cooked and succulent that you would be forgiven for ordering more. My friend felt that the prawns were too greasy but I really enjoyed them and in that moment you could see why small plates simply aren’t big enough!  The scallops were really well marinated and the veal slices were tender. Whilst I enjoyed the vegetable small dishes they did not stand out, perhaps I should have tried something more unusual like the Salt Beetroot Carpaccio. I shall definitely try different “From The Field” dishes when I return.

Whilst I am not the biggest dessert fan it would have been rude not to taste the sweet treats on the menu! We went for the Chocolate Mousse with Crunchy Gianduia Core and Chocolate Biscuit Base and Pastry Cream with a Hint of Lemon Short Pastry Base. Desserts are not served as small plates but we did end up sharing, I actually enjoyed both but the chocolate mousse was the clear winner.

All in all VOC is a great restaurant for any occasion. There is an attention to detail with regards to the food that means that it is definitely one step ahead of an average restaurant. The quality of ingredients and the creative thought put into creating this new small menu cannot be overlooked. The customer service and atmosphere are really great too. Make sure you take a moment to step into this hidden gem in the heart of London, you really won’t be disappointed.

VOC Cocktail Bar and Restaurant

2 Varnishers Yard, London N1 9AW.

www.voc-london.co.uk