The Myth of the Great French Chef is not Dead! Of the 10 best chefs in the world, 6 of them are French, according to a magazine poll
With molecular cuisine champion Pierre Gagnaire at the top of the pile (picture above 2nd from left at the San Sebastian Gastronomika Congress in Oct 2012), it has been a good turnout for French chefs in the list of 100 chefs in the world “to whose place you should have gone”. The Top 100 chart was published in the latest edition of Le Chef magazine. The survey was carried out involving 512 international chefs, all of either 2-star or 3-star in the Michelin classification. The idea of the Top 100 is to counter-balance the weight of the more well-known “50 Best” classification that many find a bit problematic.
“This one gives a bit more emphasis on the small countries where there are few restaurants with Michelin stars,” explains Francis Luzin, publications director with “Le Chef”. He explains that Denmark has as many votes as France or Japan, even though it’s a country that doesn’t have as many Michelin-starred chefs. And in the “50 Best” listing, there is no French national in the top 10, but in the survey carried out by the chefs themselves, the results are completely different, with a strong domination of the French:
Following Mr Gagnaire (whose signature restaurant is in Rue Balzac in Paris), there is the “Pope of French cuisine” Paul Bocuse in second place, Spaniard Joan Roaca in thrid, Thomas Keller of the US in fourth, then the other four French chefs Alain Ducasse, Michel Bras, Eric Frechon and Yannick Alleno, followed by Japanese chef Seiji Yamamoto in 9th place and American Daniel Humm in 10th.
There are 26 more French chefs in the top 100 rankings, including Emmanuel Renault in 11th place and Joël Robuchon in 14th. In addition, Anne-Sophie Pic (in 47th place) is one of only five female chefs in the classification of chefs by their peers.
Created in 1986, Le Chef magazine asked 512 chefs around the world – all either 2 or 3 Michelin star artists – to “mention the 5 chefs and their restaurants that they wish to see in the list of 100 chefs that best embody the values of the profession, offer an unmissable cuisine and at whose premises you really should have been.” The magazine estimates that these chefs are “the most qualified to judge the quality of a chef or his/her restaurant.”