Star of The World's 50 Best Restaurants Awards night: Noma dishwasher, Ali

It was a gesture that spoke a thousand words. Instead of taking to the podium like he’s done twice before, chef Rene Redzepi, owner of the best restaurant in the world, relinquished the spotlight and passed the mic over to his dishwasher who spoke on Noma’s behalf.

All eyes were on Ali Sonko at The World’s 50 Best Restaurants awards in London Monday night, after Noma was named the best restaurant in the world for the third year in a row. As Sonko thanked the academy, the celebrity chef -- a young Danish man who has been called a game-changer in the industry -- stood back with the rest of his team, shouting out words of encouragement to the restaurant’s nervous head dishwasher.

“I’m so happy, I say thank you for all of us,” said Sonko in broken but earnest English over the din of excited hooting and hollering from the rest of staff.

There is a back story to all of this. In 2010, when Noma topped the list for the first time, staff members donned T-shirts emblazoned with Sonko’s face in his honor after he had been barred from entering the UK for visa issues and was unable to attend.

The gestures -- both then and Monday night -- speak volumes about the kind of restaurant Redzepi runs and the sense of teamwork that prevails over the kitchen brigade.

In a post-ceremony interview with William Drew, editor of Restaurant magazine which hosts the event, Redzepi spoke in ‘We’s’ and very few ‘I’s,’ saying that while the team doesn’t work for accolades, the attention heaped on the restaurant has helped shine the spotlight on what used to be an overlooked part of the world.

“It’s magical for our region, the momentum that we have,” he said. “This helps create confidence to a generation of cooks, to see that the big world is actually looking at this small country, this small corner of Copenhagen.”

Redzepi is widely cited for birthing New Nordic cuisine, popularizing the foraging movement and using hyper-local ingredients like wild plants and herbs from the Danish countryside. Dishes at Noma have also revived the traditions of Scandinavian cooking and ingredients like Icelandic skyr curd, halibut, Greenland musk ox and berries.

Meanwhile, like the results of the 50 Best Restaurants  -- Noma, El Celler de Can Roca, and Mugaritz, both of Spain were also the top three restaurants last year -- the ceremony itself was likewise largely uneventful.

Perhaps the only comic relief was when French chef Iñaki Aizpitarte  of Le Chateaubriand in Paris donned Jamie Oliver masks when his name was called out. Le Chateaubriand fell from the ninth spot last year to 15th spot this year.

In all, 47 of the 50 restaurants were represented at the awards this year. Conspicuously absent in London was a contingent of French chefs or representatives from Michelin-starred restaurants like Bras, which landed the No. 47 spot, Pierre Gagnaire, which landed the 17th position, and L'Atelier Saint-Germain de Joel Robuchon, in the 12th spot.

For the full results, visit

  • Look, don't touch: Flickr photo of the day 1 hour 44 minutes ago
    Look, don't touch: Flickr photo of the day

    If there's one car that's particularly sought-after among today's well-heeled car collectors, a Ferrari 250 would be it. Usually it's the GTO variant, like the 1963 that sold for a record $52 million last year. A 250 of any sorts demands unfathomable cash, however, which is why we can but gawk at this 250 Testa Rossa. It's as close as any mere mortal will ever come to owning one.

  • Peeling out at Octane Academy, the free driving school for Ford ST owners 2 hours 40 minutes ago
    Peeling out at Octane Academy, the free driving school for Ford ST owners

    Buyers of Ferraris or Jaguars are used to perks from manufacturers – including racetrack lessons to help master their exotic machines. But for enthusiasts on a tighter budget, the Ford ST Octane Academy might be the sweetest deal in motoring: Buy a Ford Fiesta ST or Focus ST hatchback, and the reward is a free day of training at one of America’s longest, most-lavish road courses.

  • Why you can't buy America's greenest car 5 hours ago
    Why you can't buy America's greenest car

    Ask me or any auto expert what's the fastest car you can buy for any given amount, and we could easily cough up several options. Same for most luxurious, or off-roadable, or any other measurement. Yet there's one type of question that's far harder to answer: What's the greenest, most environmentally friendly car you can buy today?

  • Pirates kidnap three on Singapore tanker off Malaysia
    Pirates kidnap three on Singapore tanker off Malaysia

    Armed pirates boarded a Singapore-managed oil tanker in the Strait of Malacca, kidnapping three Indonesian crew and stealing some of the vessel's shipment of diesel fuel, the International Maritime Bureau said Wednesday. The attack occurred early Tuesday off Malaysia's west coast, said Noel Choong, head of IMB's Kuala Lumpur-based piracy reporting centre. The diesel oil tanker was believed to be en route to Myanmar. "IMB is aware of the attack on the Singapore-managed ship in the Malacca Straits.

  • McDonald's Hello Kitty sale site temporarily suspended due to fresh wave of Kitty mania
    McDonald's Hello Kitty sale site temporarily suspended due to fresh wave of Kitty mania

    It may not be safe to enter a McDonald’s restaurant in Singapore on Mondays starting 28 April. To celebrate the iconic Japanese character Hello Kitty’s 40th anniversary, the fast food chain announced last Friday that it would be releasing a new collection of Hello Kitty toys in McDonald’s restaurants island wide next Monday.

  • First sign of S.Korea ferry disaster was call from a frightened boy
    First sign of S.Korea ferry disaster was call from a frightened boy

    He called the emergency 119 number which put him through to the fire service, which in turn forwarded him to the coastguard two minutes later. That was followed by about 20 other calls from children on board the ship to the emergency number, a fire service officer told Reuters.