Restaurants, battered completely by COVID-19 lockdowns, are struggling with lack of cash flows, wary guests who stay away to avoid not just the infection, but also rigid regulations put in place, and the continuing need for social distancing. It is being estimated that 2.2 million restaurants may permanently shutter business, worldwide.
In the face of this crisis comes the World’s 50 Best Restaurants’ first-ever Global Gastronomic Auction, to be hosted by the organisation behind the awards, from July 3 to 12. At the ‘Bid for Recovery’ auction, which is part of the ‘50 Best for Recovery’ project, gourmands and travellers will be able to bid for an interesting array of gastronomic and travel experiences donated by the world’s best restaurants.
William Drew, Director of Content for 50 Best, writes on the initiative, “For 18 years, The World’s 50 Best Restaurants has highlighted exceptional dining destinations, celebrated talented chefs, reflected gastronomic trends, stimulated debate, guided food lovers and influenced gastro-tourism in the process. In the current crisis–with so many restaurants shuttered, chefs isolated and travel plans on indefinite hold, we cannot fulfil our role in the usual way. Hence, the 50 Best organisation is channeling its energy and influence into supporting the industry.”
50 Best Recovery Programme
Restaurants and chefs have donated more than 100 lots. Indian Accent is the Indian restaurant to feature on this list. Among what connoisseurs and diners are bidding for:
- Mauro and Julia Colagreco will welcome two lucky guests to idyllic Menton in France, for a weekend at Mirazur, the restaurant which topped the World’s 50 Best Restaurants’ list in 2019. They will be taken to the region’s famous gardens from where they can select fresh produce, meet the fishermen who supply the seafood at the harbour, and lunch with Chef Mauro at his organic Pecora Negra pizzeria. Guests will also taste dishes at Mirazur’s ‘creation kitchen’, before departing with a set of wine glasses and a case of wine.
- At Chef Crenn’s Bleu Belle Farm in the US, guests will be able to take in activities such as fermentation, beekeeping and olive oil production. An exclusive wine tasting session with a renowned Californian winemaker will be followed by a tasting menu dinner at Atelier Crenn. The next day, acclaimed pastry chef Juan Contreras will lead guests in a chocolate-making masterclass. The experience culminates in an evening of dinner and drinks at Petit Crenn.
- As part of a four-day experience with accommodation at the Marina Bay Sands and opulent Capella Singapore hotels, guests will take in the best of the city’s heritage of cuisine and cocktails. The trip includes a meal at two-time Best Restaurant in Asia, Odette, dinner at Burn Ends and drinks at Atlas, besides meeting Odette’s chef, Julien Royer.
- Diners can bid for an ultimate Delhi food experience for four people with Chef Manish Mehrotra, followed by a lavish dinner at his restaurant Indian Accent.
- An ultimate three-day Peru culinary tour led by world-renowned husband and wife team Virgilio Martínez and Pía León. The adventure includes experiences at both Central and Kjolle in Lima, as well as cocktails and local tours. Guests will be transported to Cusco, home to Martínez’s Mater Iniciativa project and Mil restaurant, besides an exploratory trip through the Sacred Valley near Machu Picchu.
- Among other experiences: a three-day culinary safari in São Paulo; a gastronomic and culinary tour of Vienna; a three-day culinary discovery of Moscow, with the famous restaurant White Rabbit; besides rare bottles of spirits, chefs’ artworks, private cooking classes, wine region tours, sailing trips, exclusive tastings and bespoke parties.
- Interestingly, the organisation is also collaborating with different organisations for providing meals to the needy: Lee Initiative’s Restaurant Reboot Relief Program and Black Urban Growers (US); Nosso Prato (Brazil); the Eat Out Restaurant Relief Fund (South Africa); Feed the Needy (India); Horeca Next ( Belgium); Ambasciatori del Gusto (Italy); and Chefs for Spain. It has joined forces with the Social Gastronomy Movement, a global network of charitable organisations across 38 different countries, in its campaign to provide 1 million meals to those most in need.
The funds raised will be put to work in several different ways, by collaborating with smaller restaurants and organisations in countries such as India, the US, Belgium, South Africa and many more. Says Drew, “With no awards or ranking planned for The World’s 50 Best Restaurants 2020, the focus is on helping the process of recovery, not just for those fabled establishments that are part of the global elite, but for the hospitality sector as a whole. We will be using our network and reach to generate as much cash as possible to fund non-profit organisations across the globe, which, in turn, are helping restaurants and bars in their bid to survive and thrive,” he states.
Besides raising funds, 50 Best has launched two online Recovery Hubs, dedicated to restaurants and bars, where they are generating content that offers advice, information and inspiration. This will build up to a major virtual event—the Recovery Summit—that will take place over several days in September, with a clear focus on exploring how the restaurant world can thrive once again. It would compromise a range of events such as masterclasses, talks, case studies, interviews and discussion forums, to share learnings and explore visions of the future.