Spain's El Celler de Can Roca restaurant is on S. Pellegrino World's 50 Best Restaurants list. — AFP pixLONDON, Dec 15 — As the editor-in-chief of Restaurant Magazine, William Drew knows what makes a dining establishment unique enough to be nominated for the World’s 50 Best Restaurants Awards, the annual competition organised by the magazine. In an interview, Drew offered his expert opinions on what “luxury” means in the restaurant industry today.
Relaxnews: Looking over 2013, have you seen any changes or any new trends in what customers expect from high end restaurants?
William Drew: Overall, they are less concerned with old-fashioned notions of ‘correct’ service, smartness and formality, and more concerned with an individual dining experience. They are more likely than ever to engage and interact with the service staff, the chefs and the dishes themselves in one way or another — and this will hopefully increase their enjoyment.
R: What makes a restaurant high-end or “luxurious” nowadays? Do you see any trends or innovations emerging for the coming years?
WD: The notion of luxury is changing... It is evolving to be less about overt signs of wealth ... and more about the luxury of individuality, the time taken to source, research and prepare unique food — and the time taken to indulge in it.
William Drew is the editor-in-chief at Restaurant Magazine, organiser of the World's 50 Best Restaurants Awards.
Time is arguably the biggest luxury in the modern world, so a restaurant that earns a customer’s extended time and money might be considered luxurious in its own way. Innovation is not a necessity for a restaurant to be ‘high-end’, but innovation is usually found in those restaurants that are voted into The World’s 50 Best Restaurants list. Of course the quality of food is extremely important, as is the quality of service, but the style of either can be very different from one establishment to another.
WD: Here are some of the best on various continents: Eleven Madison Park in New York, DOM in Sao Paulo, Narisawa in Tokyo, El Celler de Can Roca in Girona, Spain — all undoubtedly offer unique and brilliant experiences.
R: Are there restaurants or chefs that might influence the way we think about high-end dining over the coming years?