What a year people, we’ve had it all: restaurants swapping locations, changes at the top of Asia’s, Latin America’s and The World’s 50 Best Restaurants lists and interviews with chefs from all over the world.
2014 - the year restaurants finally went on tour and the year crowdfunding opened the door to a whole series of exciting new food and drink innovations. As the last day of the calendar roll by and the Christmas leftovers are all finally finished, here’s a look back at some of the highlights from 2014 - a sort of Year in Bites.
We attended events all over the world. Food congresses like Mesamericaand Identita Golose. Special dinners and gastronomic events from Venice to New York, London to Singapore - many of which were organised or sponsored by S.Pellegrino and Acqua Panna who took us all on some truly tasty journeys.
There was the S.Pellegrino Cooking Cup - Chefs Gaston Acurio, Helena Rizzo, Andreas Caminada, Paul Qui, Davide Scabin, Umberto Bombana and more judging dishes on board a huge boat in Venice. It was chef Sergey Beretuzskiy from Russia who was crowned the 2014 S.Pellegrino and Acqua Panna Young Chef of the Year.
From Asia we were on to The World’s 50 Best Restaurants ceremony at the Guildhall in London. It was the Noma restaurant in Copenhagen that once again took top spot, with Rene Redzepi taking to the state to congratulate his team and read the acceptance speech he was too nervous to present the first time his restaurant was crowned as the best in the world.
Towards the end of the year we headed to Lima for the announcement of Latin America’s 50 Best Restaurants list to see Virgilio Martinez and his team from the Central restaurant take the crown as the Best Restaurant in Latin America - we spoke with him the morning after the award and heard how his future plans may be take him away from Lima.
Lots of chefs were fighting back in 2014 - not in the kitchen and certainly not psychically, instead chefs took to digital arming and fighting back on the message boards of sites like Yelp and Tripadvisor. We saw one chef write a cleverly worded letter to one customer who demanded he offer a takeout option and one chef who decided to turn his bad Yelp reviews into black and white movies.
It’s hard to look at 2014 without mentioning the continued rise of crowd funding as a source of investment for unique projects across the food industry. We had new restaurants funded by lots of individual backers online, some truly exciting gadgets and concepts - and who could forget that potato salad recipe?
THE YEAR AHEAD
As we get ready for 2015 you can expect more of the same. The S.Pellegrino Young Chef competition will continue as we start to see which applicants from 20 regions around the world will make the final cut and cook their dishes at a special Grand Final in Italy.
We have Expo Milano 2015 - arguably the biggest food event of the past century - as Milan gets ready to host the first ever World Fair to focus on a central theme of ‘food’.
We have new 50 Best Restaurants lists expected across the World, Asia and Latin America, new congresses, chefs, tastes and trends to discover. We hope you’ve enjoyed the year as much as we have and we look forward to bringing you the freshest, tastiest news in 2015.
Staff shortages are hitting the hospitality sector hard, prompting some restaurants to look outside the industry to train those without restaurant experience for life in the kitchen. Andrew Friedman finds out more.