Is what you eat as important as where you eat it? The brand new World Restaurant Awards thinks so, giving their inaugural “Atmosphere of the Year” award to Jordan Khan’s Vespertine. The awards, which were created late last year and have just yesterday announced their first batch of honorees, are from creative director Joe Warwick and judging panel chair Andrea Petrini. The awards are backed by IMG, the multinational entertainment concern behind almost everything from the Frieze Art Fair to Fashion Week. The categories seemed to cover every eventuality in a way that could remind you of the Grammys; Best Tattoo Free Chef? Is that like Best Salsa/Merengue Album (right, they don’t hand that one out any more-) How about Best Red Wine Serving Restaurant? To my mind, that’s a very, very large category.
So who made these decisions?
Warwick and Petrini strove to be inclusive. The judging panel was made up of 50 women and 50 men from around the world, a mix of journalists, chefs, and entrepreneurs who gathered in Paris last year for a weekend of discussion and then went on small whirlwind tours, paid for by IMG, around the world to visit the hundreds of restaurants that made the long list.
Better, but not perfect – although the jurors are balanced in terms of gender, only three of the 100 are of African descent; the majority of the female members are media, not chefs; and Europe is disproportionately represented.
Vespertine was nominated for three awards — “Original Thinking,” “Atmosphere,” and “Collaboration of the Year.”
Photo – Passion Flower Apertif from Vespertine