Prestigious annual restaurant ranking and global gastronomic gathering continues to play critical role in supporting recovery of the restaurant sector

27 April, 2021 – The World’s 50 Best Restaurants 2021 awards, sponsored by S.Pellegrino & Acqua Panna, will be hosted in the city of Antwerp in Flanders – the Flemish-speaking northern region of Belgium – on Tuesday, 5th October.

Returning after a year’s hiatus in 2020 due to the global pandemic – during which 50 Best devoted its resources to its fund-raising 50 Best for Recovery project – an extensive event programme hosted in Flanders will culminate in the awards ceremony in Antwerp, representing a key milestone in the ongoing revival of the restaurant sector.

The new 2021 ranking, unveiled as part of the gala ceremony, will take into account recent and ongoing travel limitations and dining restrictions by combining the votes cast in both early 2020 and 2021 (see Voting Changes, below). All live events will be prepared with the safety and health security of attendees as the foremost priority and will be subject to international travel protocols and government guidelines. Visitors will, however, have the opportunity to experience the premium produce, superb restaurants and cutting-edge ethos of Flanders, one of Europe’s culinary and cultural hotspots.

William Drew, Director of Content for The World’s 50 Best Restaurants, says: “We are very excited about hosting this important gastronomic event in Flanders in early October and remain optimistic that the ongoing vaccine rollout will enable as many people as possible to join us safely in Antwerp. The event programme will allow the global gastronomic community to reconnect in person, share experiences, celebrate resilience and brilliance, and ultimately help boost the restaurant sector when it needs our support most.”

The 50 Best organisation’s role in promoting restaurants and showcasing culinary talent is more important than ever – and it believes that it can best support the recovery of the hospitality sector by inspiring diners to seek out exciting gastronomic experiences once again, whether near or far.

Stefano Bolognese, Sanpellegrino International Business Unit Director, says: “It is now evident that the pandemic's effects on the restaurant industry are impacting not only the present business, but its future, triggering deep changes in the sector that will bring long-lasting consequences. But crises also herald unexpected opportunities. The future of gastronomy depends on collective intelligence, sharing of experiences and boldness. So, we are particularly excited to collaborate with this important gastronomic event that will allow the global gastronomic community to reconnect in person and have the opportunity to promote restaurants and showcase culinary talents to help shape the future of the sector."

Key events in Antwerp, Flanders will also be broadcast to a global audience, including chefs, restaurateurs, media and food lovers who are not able to attend in person. This ‘hybrid’ format will ensure that no one misses out on the return of occasions such as thought-leadership forum #50BestTalks, interview opportunities and, of course, the awards ceremony and countdown itself.

The live event programme will be centred around the cultural city of Antwerp, famous for its art and architecture, as well as fashion, design and jewellery. Koen Kennis, Antwerp's Vice Mayor for Tourism, says: “In our city, an enormous number of master chefs work in a small area. We are proud of chefs like Sergio Herman, Seppe Nobels or Nick Bril who, just like Antwerp, are atypical in their work. There is also plenty of emerging talent. We will immerse the visiting 50 Best chefs and international media in a historic setting with gastronomy at a global level – and we will undoubtedly see some of them afterwards, because Antwerp always whets one's appetite for more.”

Zuhal Demir, Flemish Minister of Tourism, says: “The hunger to enjoy the best of what our Flemish ga