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Last Updated: Tuesday, 11 April 2006, 09:04 GMT 10:04 UK
UK restaurant loses world crown
Fat Duck
The Fat Duck was one of six UK restaurants in the top 50
A British restaurant named as the world's best last year has slipped to second place, losing the top spot to Spanish rival El Bulli.

Self-taught chef Heston Blumenthal's The Fat Duck in Bray, Berkshire, came second in The World's 50 Best Restaurants 2006 awards.

Gordon Ramsay's restaurant in Royal Hospital Road, Chelsea, London, dropped from fifth to 14th place.

The number of British top 50 entries fell from 14 in 2005 to six this year.

Molecular gastronomy

Located in a cove at Caja Montjoi on a stretch of coastline north of Barcelona, El Bulli is open just six months of the year and is fully booked for 2006.

Like Mr Blumenthal, Barcelona-born chef Ferran Adria's food is considered part of the molecular gastronomy movement - an experimental, science-based approach to cuisine.

El Bulli's food is served up as a tasting menu made up of some 20 small courses.

Last year the menu included omelette surprise, melon caviar with passion fruit and mint and parmesan marshmallow.

TOP 10 WORLD RESTAURANTS
1 El Bulli, Spain
2 The Fat Duck, UK
3 Pierre Gagnaire, France
4 French Laundry, US
5 Tetsuya, Australia
6 Gerard Bras, France
7 Restaurant Le Louis XV, Monaco
8 Per Se, US
9 Restaurante Arzak, Spain
10 Mugaritz, Spain

The Waterside Inn, also in Bray, which was 19th in last year's list, fell out of the top 50 altogether.

However, founder Michel Roux and his brother Albert were jointly awarded a lifetime achievement award.

London-based Japanese restaurant Nobu rose from number 20 in 2005 to number 12 this year.

The Fat Duck's self-taught British chef Heston Blumenthal said he was delighted with his restaurant's position.

"I am as excited about it as I was last year. If you have to come runner-up to any restaurant then this is absolutely fantastic," he said.

"I really wouldn't say I've lost anything from last year because the actual competition has become so big."

'More international'

Joe Warwick, editor of Restaurant magazine - which organises the awards - attributed the disappearance of eight British restaurants from the top 50 to a change in the voting system which had been criticised for its "London-centric" bias.

This year, 20 regional judging panels each represented a different part of the world.

Five votes were allocated to each panel, of which a maximum of two could be for restaurants in their region.

Mr Warwick said the changes had "obviously made the list a lot more international".




SEE ALSO:
Snail porridge restaurant's award
18 Apr 05 |  Berkshire
TV chef Oliver returns to school
21 Apr 04 |  Entertainment
Village hogs top restaurants
16 Jan 04 |  Berkshire
Gordon Ramsay: Chef terrible
20 Jul 01 |  UK News


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