Spanish star chef Dabiz Muñoz, owner of the three Michelin star DiverXo restaurant in Madrid, has been named best chef in the world at the fifth edition of The Best Chef Awards 2021 this week, during a live awards gala in Amsterdam – under the slogan ‘back to live, back to reality’.
‘Getting the number one in the Best Chef Awards is the biggest joy, an incredible pride and responsibility,’ said Muñoz. ‘An award like this is a dream come true, which recognises many years of creativity, dedication, passion and hard work. The last years in the Xo world have been very intense and brutal [due to the Covid pandemic], but my team and I are clear that this is only the beginning, and the best is yet to come. There are no limits in sight.’
The Best Chef Awards started in 2017, with a top 100 ranking list focused on chefs. The awards were initially held in Warsaw in 2017, in Milan in 2018, Barcelona in 2019 and in 2020 virtually over three days due to the global pandemic. Whilst other culinary awards tend to focus on the restaurant or the location, the Best Chef Awards puts the focus on the chef, his or her approach to food and what makes them stand out from the crowd.
Each year there is a shortlist of 200 nominees. These include 100 ‘fresh faces’ as well the Top 100 from the previous edition that automatically are nominated again. The 100 fresh faces are shortlisted through a group of 100 anonymous professionals who scour the world and discover talents.
The professionals include food journalists, critics, bloggers, photographers and other notable people with a broad knowledge of fine dining. They are all experts within the industry, and their choices for each of the fresh faces comes with an explanation as to why they recommend them.
This year the Swedish chef Björn Frantzen came in 2nd place on the top 100 list, and also won The Best Chef Voted by Chefs Award. Basque chef Andoni Luis Aduriz, from Mugaritz restaurant, came in third place, with Joan Roca, from Catalonia, taking home the Science Award.
Roca said his team ‘is strongly committed to science and sustainability’ and said that such awards ‘benefit the country more than the chef’, as the prize-winners represent ‘a structure, products, producers’, helping to also strengthen the tourism industry and the work of local producers.