Latin America’s restaurant scene and its chefs are enjoying their moment in the spotlight. From Mexican chef Enrique Olvera’s New York outpost, Cosme, to Brazilian chef Alex Atala’s 150,000+ Instagram followers, these chefs are joining the ranks of culinary rock stars. Nothing confirms the region’s place in the global foodie scene like hosting a spinoff of the World’s 50 Best Restaurants awards, held annually in London.
Like its bigger, global sibling, Latin America’s 50 Best Restaurants is published by William Reed Business Media and sponsored by Acqua Panna and San Pellegrino. The annual ranking of the best restaurants in Latin America and the Caribbean is determined by the votes of a 252-member academy of chefs, restaurateurs and members of the food media.
More than just a celebration of famous chefs and their mouthwatering creations, these events are platforms to promote strategic interests. The recognition will help the region and specific restaurants secure a place in the food tourism market, highlight traditional cooks as gastro-entrepreneurs, and promote locally sourced ingredients over genetically modified organisms (GMOs).
So, it’s no surprise that last November, Mexican Secretary of Tourism Claudia Ruiz Massieu heralded her country’s selection as the 2015 and 2016 host of the awards, arguing that the event will position Mexico as a world-class culinary destination.
These days, a chef’s work often goes beyond the kitchen. Many actively promote the use of local ingredients and sustainable production, and groups like the Conservatory of Mexican Gastronomic Culture see this as a huge opportunity to create new allies.