Long considered the Oscars of the food industry, the World’s 50 Best Restaurants 2020 awards have been postponed. It was originally slated to be held on 2 June in Antwerp, Flanders, and has been delayed to 2021. The votes, which have been tallied, will not be announced online either. With the world struggling in the F&B sector because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the move is not unexpected. The organisation will instead shift its focus to “rebuilding and recovery”.
In a statement, the organisation declares that core factors of its decision included “the horrific toll that the pandemic is taking on the restaurant and hospitality sectors worldwide, not to mention the suffering of millions of individuals at the hands of the virus”.
William Drew, Director of Content for The World’s 50 Best Restaurants, declares that the group “stands united with the restaurant sector at this unprecedented time”. While its initiatives for the year have yet to be announced, it plans to bring together leading chefs, restauranteurs, food media, brands and respected figures in the world of gastronomy in a virtual community.
This announcement tails after the cancellation of Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants 2020 ceremony scheduled to occur in Saga, Japan in late February. The results were announced last week, drawing both celebration and criticism. Some lauded it for raising the spirits of struggling restaurants; others deemed it unnecessary in a pandemic.
No matter your opinion, The World’s 50 Best Restaurants urges the community to join its initiatives in place of the awards. Concluding its statement, the organisation offers its gratitude to the restaurant sector. “From offering meals and delivery services, to those liaising with government officials to protect restaurants and their future, we stand with you all.”