World's 50 Best Excludes Russian Restaurants

Excluded from The World's 50 Best Ranking 2022: The White Rabbit restaurant in Moscow.

© The World's 50 Best

White-Rabbit-restaurant

Excluded from The World's 50 Best Ranking 2022: The White Rabbit restaurant in Moscow.

© The World's 50 Best

The sanctions against Russia as a result of its invasion of Ukraine have reached the restaurant scene. This year's World's 50 Best Restaurants Awards – the venue has already been moved from Moscow to London – will not include any Russian establishments. The organisation made the announcement on Instagram. 

Support for the Ukraine

"We can confirm that there are no Russian establishments listed in 'The World's 50 Best Restaurants 2022' and 'The World's 50 Best Bars 2022'," the post reads. They do not want to hold restaurants or bars individually responsible for the actions of their government, the organisers stress. They express their appreciation to all those living in Russia who courageously oppose the actions of their government. The short text concludes: "Our thoughts continue to be with the people of Ukraine at this time".

Affected by the "exclusion" from the 2022 ranking are top restaurants such as the White Rabbit (currently 25th place) and the Twins Garden (currently 30th place), both in Moscow.


Food should unite

The World's 50 Best statement has triggered heated discussions in the industry. Top chef Gaggan Anand – who has already been on the list several times with his Gaggan in Bangkok - appeals in his commentary: "Food should unite, not divide". Sven Elverfeld, whose restaurant Aqua in Wolfsburg has just been awarded three stars by the Michelin Guide, posts: "Chefs are NOT soldiers".

Charity borscht

Ievgen Klopotenko, probably the best-known Ukrainian chef due to his TV appearances and social media reach – his YouTube channel has almost 220,000 subscribers and over 700,000 people follow him on Instagram – contributes his perspective. Food should definitely unite, but it is difficult for everyone to understand how it feels when one's own restaurant is under bombardment and one has to exchange one's chef's jacket for a military uniform.

In his commentary, he also calls for chefs around the globe to cook borscht and donate the proceeds from its sale to the suffering victims of the war. Klopotenko trained at Paris' world-famous Le Cordon Bleu and has been providing Ukrainians with recipes since the war began. He is "worried that people forget to eat and cook. That's how the idea came about to post recipes every day," he is quoted as saying in an interview with German newspaper Die Zeit.

No stars over Russia

The famed Michelin Guide has also announced that it will withdraw its ratings from Russia. It was only at the end of 2021 that stars were awarded in Moscow for the first time, and the selection includes 69 restaurants. A few days ago, those responsible announced that all activities of the renowned restaurant guide in Russia would be discontinued or suspended.

This includes not only the ratings but also the expansion plans and online and social media activities. The intention is "not to promote Moscow as a travel destination", Michelin says in an official statement. With its decision, however, the Michelin team does not want to question the achievements and talent of the top chefs and restaurateurs concerned.

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