From the right: Chef Yusuke Namai of "Ode", Chef Daniel Calvert of "Sezanne", Chef Natsuko Shoji of "été", Chef Yusuke Takada of "La Cime", Chef Ken Sakamoto of "Cenci", Chef Zaisuke Hasegawa of "Den", Chef Hiroyasu Kawate of "Florilége", Chef Tsuyoshi Fukuyama of "La Maison de la Nature Goh", and Chef Hiroshi Kobayashi of "Vila Aida".From the right: Chef Yusuke Namai of "Ode", Chef Daniel Calvert of "Sezanne", Chef Natsuko Shoji of "été", Chef Yusuke Takada of "La Cime", Chef Ken Sakamoto of "Cenci", Chef Zaisuke Hasegawa of "Den", Chef Hiroyasu Kawate of "Florilége", Chef Tsuyoshi Fukuyama of "La Maison de la Nature Goh", and Chef Hiroshi Kobayashi of "Vila Aida".



2022 Asia's 50 Best Restaurants Results Report


“Den” ranks first! "Asia's 50 Best Restaurants" Takanori Nakamura talks about what lies ahead of Japan's rapid growth

From the right: “Ode” Chef Yusuke Namai, “Sezanne” Chef Daniel Calvert, “été”Chef Natsuko Shoji, “La Cime” Chef Yusuke Takada, “Cenci” Chef Ken Sakamoto, “Den”Head Chef Zaisuke Hasegawa, ``Floilége'' Chef Hiroyasu Kawate, ``Chef Tsuyoshi Fukuyama from La Maison de la Nature Goh and Hiroshi Kobayashi from Villa Aida.
The venue is "Palace Hotel Tokyo".This time, other powerful local sponsors gathered as well. MAZDA, Wako, Mitsukoshi Isetan Nikko Travel, and "Dassai"Asahi Sake Brewery is also known for its sake.

The evolution and great leap forward of Japanese gastronomy.
Let's say "I'm home" to the world


The day after the Academy Awards ceremony was held, an awards ceremony was held to announce a competition called the ``Academy Awards of Food.'' The stages are Bangkok, Macau, and Tokyo. It was held every year in a city in Asia, but this time it was held in an unusual style considering the global situation. "Asia's 3 Best Restaurants" started in 2013. This year was the 50th Memorial Year, but the situation has improved somewhat compared to the past two years, which were plagued by the coronavirus pandemic, and although it was held in multiple cities, it was the first time in a long time that it was held at a large venue. there were.



The sight of star chefs wearing red stoles to signify their status as award winners, flamboyantly dressed hoodies, and food journalists talking excitedly over glasses is refreshing after two years of closure. And I feel strangely emotional. However, what most touched the hearts of the visitors that day was when the list of 2 popular Asian restaurants was read out. The Japanese team made great strides. Den, which has been at the top of the Japanese list in Asia's 50 Best Restaurants for the past few years, has achieved the coveted number one spot in Asia. It has been 50 years since NARISAWA took the top spot at the first event in 2013, and had been far behind.

Learn about the uniqueness that resides in food competitions
Making restaurant selection more exciting

Let me briefly explain the ``Asia's 50 Best Restaurants.'' I used the phrase "Academy of Food" at the beginning, but I think it's a strange thing to say. Competitions in the world of food include Michelin, Goemiyo, OAD, Zagat Survey, etc., and when you add in domestic evaluation sites such as Tabelog, there are literally hundreds of competitions. Since each has its own characteristics and styles, it is more reasonable to think that there is no such thing as the most equal or the most reliable. Under such circumstances, the ``World's 2002 Best Restaurants'', which started in the UK in 50, has come to be said to be on par with Michelin, and in 2013, Asia started as a regional version of the ``World's XNUMX Best Restaurants''. Initially, it is now practiced in South America, the Middle East & North Africa.

A big reason why restaurants are said to be on par with Michelin is that their rating systems are completely opposite. For example, in the case of ``Michelin'', Michelin dispatches its employees as masked evaluators to various restaurants to evaluate them, whereas the ``50 Best Restaurants'' is rated by chefs and journalists appointed by the chairperson of each area's council. Foodies such as Foodie act as they please and vote without receiving compensation. In layman's terms, this is ``eating from one's own pocket'', but the fact that there is no end to the number of councilors called ``boaters'' who are willing to take on this role (even though they are not allowed to reveal their identity) is especially important in the gastronomy world. Because I have a love for you. Boaters travel not only domestically but also overseas to visit popular restaurants and enjoy the world view surrounding cuisine. Rather than checking the taste or service, the bliss is to taste the atmosphere unique to that country, region, and restaurant created by the chefs and staff, and to get a feel for what is being conveyed. The style of voting for one's own "like!" certainly overlaps with the Academy Awards. The way award-winning chefs express their emotions and thoughts on stage and on social media afterwards is similar.

I could see the results changing drastically.
We should be confident in today's list


Back to the current story. Takanori Nakamura, long-time chairman of the Japan Council for the World's 50 Best Restaurants, said some interesting words just a week before the announcement. "I think there will probably be a change in the rankings this time. Also, we can expect new entry stores. This is a movement not only in Japan but in Asia as a whole."


Nakamura is Japan's council chair and has the power to appoint the 53 councilors in the Japan region. However, even the chairman of the council is not informed of the ranking until the moment of announcement. Please note that this information is known only to the UK headquarters and the administrative offices in each country. However, this is what Nakamura said.

``The original voting rules were that each councilor had 10 votes, and up to six of those votes could be from their home country.This time, there was a common global situation in which it was difficult to travel overseas due to the coronavirus pandemic. Therefore, the irregular rule was that you only have 6 votes, and your country can vote up to 6 while other countries can abstain.As a result, the number of votes for overseas stores will inevitably decrease compared to previous years, and as a result, other countries will be able to vote. It seems that all the councilors, including those in the area they live in, reviewed and voted on the restaurants in their area.For the past two years, the government has been running promotions inviting food journalists from other countries. That may not have happened. It may have been a blow to the restaurant, which relied on inbound tourists, but I think this year is an opportunity for a restaurant that is popular and has a lot of repeat customers."



Record number of 11 restaurants in the hotel
4 of them are new entries



As expected, the results were close to Nakamura's prediction. Details are provided below, but here I will list the important points.

2022 Asia Best Restaurants 50 50th to 1st 2022 Asia Best Restaurants 50 50th to 1st

2022 "Asia's 50 Best Restaurants"Ranking from 50 to XNUMXst place.

From Japan, 50 restaurants were included within the top 11 list. Four of them are new entries that weren't there until last year. It is amazing that 4 out of 11 are in the top 8.


However, what was most impressive was that ``Den'' regained the number one spot in Asia. In the first edition in 1, "NARISAWA" (by the way, 2013th place this time) took this position, but it took 15 years for Japan to finally regain this honor. 10rd place ``Florerege'', 3th place ``Raseem'', 6th place ``Chazen Hua'', and 11th place ``Ode (Highest Climber Award)'' all improved from last year, and last year Hong Kong ``Belon'' ranked 13th. Chef Daniel Calvert, who took the top spot, has since moved to Tokyo, and his new restaurant, Sézanne, has jumped to 25th place.


Three companies that were not ranked last year, but whose activities were recognized, are also included in the ranking this time. "Villa Aida (Wakayama)" jumped from 3th place last year to 64th place this time and won the "Highest New Entry Award." This award is given to the store that ranks highest on its first appearance. ``été,'' which ranked 14rd last year, ranked 83nd, and ``Cenci,'' which ranked 42st, ranked 91rd.


Zaisuke Hasegawa, head chef of Den, speaks with joy on stage. Zaisuke Hasegawa, head chef of Den, speaks with joy on stage.

Zaisuke Hasegawa, head chef of Den, speaks with joy on stage. It first entered the ranking in 2016, and the following year it won awards in all categories, including the One to Watch Award in the World's 50 Best Restaurants and the Art of Hospitality Award in both Asia and the world. ``The face'' finally retrieved the last thing he had forgotten.

By welcoming new powers
The future of restaurants is expanding


It's easy to get distracted by the glorious results, but the speech of Zaisuke Hasegawa, the No. 1 winner of Den, revealed a larger essence. Hasegawa began to talk about the culinary industry rather than his own joy, even though he could feel his embarrassment after he shed his tears.


“At this moment, I was reminded of the faces of everyone on the team. Ever since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, or even before it, these are the friends we have repeatedly talked to while facing various challenges every day.This is not just Den, I'm sure the chefs at other restaurants feel the same way. I know we are living in difficult times, but when we get together, we always talk about the future of restaurants. It's great for the Japanese food and beverage industry that 4 restaurants have made it into the ranking.I think this trend will eventually lead to more customers from all over the world visiting Japan. I'm sure everyone who works at a restaurant thinks so."


The three newly ranked chefs also shared their thoughts on stage. Chef Natsuko Shoji stands out in a tight dress. This person's performance was unprecedented in the world. This is because Shoji won the ``Asia's Best Pastry Chef Award'' two years ago, and following that, she also won the ``Asia's Female Chef Award'' this time. As far as Nakamura can remember, there is no case where someone has won awards as both a pastry chef and a chef. Furthermore, with the triple award of being ranked within the top 3, he is now attracting hot attention from both domestic and foreign media.



Ete Chef Shoji Ete Chef Shoji

“été” Chef Shoji

“I have always disliked the word dream. For me, it was not a dream, but a goal. However, the moment I learned that I had won the award, I couldn’t help but scream. …I want to win the Female Chef Award. It was an award. été is a small shop with only a limited number of customers. Japan is behind other developed countries in improving the status of women, but we appreciate people like me. I believe that if we understand this, there will be more young women who aspire to join this world. That is the reason for my existence today."

Villa Aida Chef Kobayashi Villa Aida Chef Kobayashi

"Villa Aida" Chef Kobayashi

Local gastronomy
In the future, it will become common knowledge around the world.


Chef Sakamoto of Cenci and Chef Kobayashi of Villa Aida have something in common. Sakamoto runs a store in Kyoto, and Kobayashi runs a store in Wakayama. The regular group was overwhelmingly dominated by Tokyo restaurants, but two unique local restaurants also made it into the ranking, following "La Maison de la Naturegaux (Fukuoka)" and "Rassim (Osaka)". It seems a strange synchronicity that both of them have moved up nearly 2 places from last year's results. Kobayashi, who this year marks 50 years since he built a restaurant on his parents' farm in Iwade City, Wakayama Prefecture, told us a story full of freshness despite his position as a career chef.


``I cook while farming.The restaurant is my home, and I really live there.I've been asked more about sustainability recently, but I don't really pay attention to it myself.On the contrary, In the past, I had tried to do everything myself, but as a result I lost contact with local producers, and I decided to stop doing so for the past 24 years. There were countless times when I thought about quitting, but my friends here stopped me.'' At this point, Kobayashi was on the verge of tears again, but now Villa Aida is one of the most difficult restaurants to book. He proves that local stores are not at a disadvantage.

"Cenci" Chef Sakamoto "Cenci" Chef Sakamoto

"Cenci" Chef Sakamoto

Sakamoto then points out what lies at the heart of Asia's 50 Best Restaurants.


``I've been paying attention to it for a long time, but I had the impression that it was a rather closed competition that was loved by foodies around the world.However, I started to see so many popular restaurants being ranked. I think it's a great move to expand the target audience from foodies to general people who like delicious food.I also like the fact that the award is given to restaurants rather than to chefs. I want restaurants to think seriously about how and what they can contribute to society and how they can bring happiness to people, and that's what I want the 50 Best Restaurants to be."


Takanori Nakamura Takanori Nakamura

Takanori Nakamura is the chairman of the Japan Council for Asia's 50 Best Restaurants. Nakamura, who has been watching the world of food for a long time, says that the trials he has been forced to face in the food and beverage industry over the past two years have been painful for him as well.

Gastronomy that Japan is proud of
change it to the world


Nakamura doesn't try to hide his joy after witnessing the Japanese team's achievements. This is because this is the list that the staff behind the ``Asia's 50 Best Restaurants'' and gastronomy fans believed in, and it will restore their confidence. However, this time, other countries are also showing remarkable moves.



``Raan Jay Fai (Bangkok), which ranked 46th, is a street food restaurant run by a popular female chef who wears a protective mask to prepare extremely spicy stir-fries.The Icon award was won by a Korean nun named Jeong. Mr. Kwan is a master of vegetarian cuisine and a person who preaches the philosophy of cooking.Furthermore, two chefs from Malaysia's Eat and Cook, which won the One to Watch Award, lost their jobs due to the coronavirus pandemic. This is a story that is unique to today, where a person who created a local cuisine restaurant as a project was recognized. Originally, this competition had that aspect, but I don't think there was a ranking that gave the word diversity as much as this year. Isn't there?'' Nakamura recalled.



Diversity, an attitude of continuing to take on challenges, and never ceasing to ask questions about society. Up until now, restaurants have been supposed to express their own superiority, but looking at this year's list of ``Asia's 50 Best Restaurants'', in the end, it is the desire of everyone involved to change the world through food. That's painfully obvious. The world situation remains unstable, and new tragedies occur one after another. However, I think this time I realized that there are so many people who are trying to solve these problems through the wonderful means of food.



(Titles omitted)

Takanori Nakamura

"World's 50 Best Restaurants" Japan Council Chairman/Columnist
Born in Hayama, Kanagawa Prefecture. She is active in magazines, newspapers, and TV, focusing on fashion, culture, gourmet food, travel, hotels, and other luxury lifestyle themes. In 2007, he was awarded the title of Chevalier of the French Order of Champagne. In 2010, he was also awarded the title of Knight of Cava by Spain. Since 2013, he has served as the Japan Council Chairman for the World's 50 Best Restaurants. He is a XNUMXth dan kendo teacher. He is a tea ceremony professor at the Dainippon Tea Ceremony Society. His books include ``THE CIGAR LIFE,'' co-authored with Mamoru Hiromi and Takanori Nakamura (Ota Publications), and ``Pilgrimage Training of Famous Restaurant Recipes - The Secret of the Taste I Learned by Making It'' (Sekai Bunkasha).

Text by Mayuko Yamaguchi
Photography by © The World's 50 Best Restaurants

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