The battle for title of world’s best chef begins anew in 2016, with Michelin firing off the first salvo in a survey that asked chefs in Michelin-starred restaurants to rate each other. In first place, as the world’s most influential and respected chef is France’s Michel Bras. His peers have clearly selected him as the person who represents the best in high gastronomy.
Bras, whose triple Michelin-starred restaurant Le Suquet, in Laguiole in southern France is considered one of the most prestigious dining destinations in the world, earned the ultimate R-E-S-P-E-C-T of his colleagues in The 100 Chefs list organized by the French magazine “Le Chef.”
Gourmets, food critics and others will note the absence from the top 10 of non-French chefs and the exclusion of some big names from La Liste and 50 Best both, in particular Noma-headliner René Redzepi; number one at La Liste Benoît Violier of Restaurant de l’Hôtel de Ville is ranked 10th here.
For the Michelin survey, about 530 chefs across five continents – all holders of either two or three Michelin stars – were asked to name the five chefs who represent, for them, the best of the profession; create the most influential cuisine; and should definitely be visited at their restaurant.
The most popular and recurring names among the answers were Bras, followed by Pierre Gagnaire (France), Seiji Yamamoto (Japan), Alain Ducasse (Monaco) and Pascal Barbot (France).
Overall, French chefs emerged the most popular and influential, with 38 of the 100 spots occupied by Gallic chefs. Japan was the second most-represented country with 11 spots, followed by the US with nine.
The first American chef to crack the list at No. 13 is Thomas Keller for his New York restaurant Per Se. Keller ranks second on La Liste.
Unlike other rankings and listings, The 100 Chefs index tries to distinguish itself by being based solely on the opinions of the world’s highest-ranked chefs rather than critics, journalists or galloping gourmets.
This year’s list marks a major leap for Bras, who placed sixth on the list last year.
At Le Suquet, no two dining days are alike, with a seasonal menu that changes every day to reflect the whim and fancy of the chef who may be inspired by the memory of his travels on one day, or the local Aubrac countryside the next.
A sample dish could include anything from lobster tail cooked in butter, deglazed with fruit vinegar and aniseed, or pickled porcini mushrooms soaked in beef consommé with hazelnut oil, wrapped in lentil pastry.
Bras is also known for having been one of the earliest adopters of the molten chocolate lava cake as we know it today, having patented his version of ‘chocolat coulant’ (or runny chocolate) in 1981.
Here are the top 10 chefs and restaurants in Le Chef magazine’s The 100 Chefs list for 2016:
- Michel BRAS, Le Suquet – Laguiole, France
- Pierre GAGNAIRE, Restaurant Pierre Gagnaire – Paris, France
- Seiji YAMAMOTO, Nihonryori Ryugin – Tokyo, Japan
- Alain DUCASSE, Louis XV Alain Ducasse – Monaco
- Pascal BARBOT, L’Astrance – Paris, France
- Eric FRECHON, Epicure – Paris, France
- Emmanuel RENAUT, Flocons de Sel, Megève, France
- Martin BERASATEGUI, Restaurant Martin Berasategui – Lasarte Oria, Spain
- Benoît VIOLIER, Hôtel de Ville – Crissier, Switzerland
- Joan ROCA, El Celler de Can Roca – Girona, Spain