THE new voting process for the Asia's 50 Best Restaurants list was designed to "reflect the views of experts within Asia specifically," says William Drew, group editor of The World's 50 Best Restaurants.
"After two years, we realised that Asia's 50 Best Restaurants was a strong and successful entity in its own right, rather than a spin-off or 'sub-set' of the World list and the voting structure should reflect this."
Under the new system, the best restaurants are voted on by some 300 industry people in the region, unlike previously when international voters were included.
"We have 53 voters in each of the six Asian regions voting for Asia's 50 Best and 36 in each for The World's 50 Best. Many or all of those 36 on the World voting panel can also be on the Asian voting panel. Both sets of panels have the same broad structure, but the Asia-only voting panel may comprise more people that travel within Asia but perhaps don't travel so extensively outside the continent," explained Mr Drew.
Despite the rumblings that the new voting system caused a volatile shift of positions for restaurants (for example, last year's number one Nahm dropped to seventh place while Tippling Club which was in the list last year, slipped to 36th place from 23rd).
"I think there were many more happy chefs last night than sad ones," said Mr Drew. "Inevitably some restaurants move up and down the list, but the important thing is to celebrate being one of Asia's 50 Best Restaurants. David Thompson was extremely gracious about the results, in his own humorous way! A restaurant such as Tippling Club may have gained more votes last year because it is well-known internationally (with a strong profile in the UK and Australia in particular), but it remains a very very good restaurant, in my opinion."
How will this affect the standing of the Asian restaurant winners in the World's 50 Best awards?
"They are entirely separate votes, at different times, creating separate lists, so Gaggan will not necessarily be the number one in Asia in June. Who knows how Asian restaurants will fare? You'll have to wait until June 1 to find out, of course!"
This article was first published on March 14, 2015.
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