If there is anything that world famous chefs know best, it is food.
CNN recently asked 96 of the world’s best chefs about their favorite food experiences, and the results were amazing. The poll comes on the eve of the 2016 World’s Best Restaurant Awards, and features almost 100 winners from the ceremony’s 2015 rankings.
While some of the chefs’ experiences are one-of-a-kind, we’ve sorted through the list and picked out all of the ones that you could feasibly try for yourself! Try not to get too distracted by wanderlust and jealousy as you read through the amazing testimonials below, and then check out CNN for the full archive.
1. Krabi Market, Thailand
Recommended by Joan Roca, chef at El Celler de Can Roca in Girona, Spain, the Krabi Market sounds like a foodie dream. Roca recommends grabbing breakfast at 7 a.m. and then staying long enough to experience the “exuberant local products, the smell of the fruits, [and] the durian perfume.” In his own words, “it's like arriving in paradise when reaching the food area of the market, with lots of people cooking and eating, the fragrance of fermented shrimp paste, the rich variety of curries, coconut and coriander, and then discovering a very interesting sweet kitchen -- don't miss the steamed pumpkins, filled with a curdled eggs, milk and sugar shake.”
2. Ferme Auberge Le Castelas at Le Castelas, Sivergues, France
Daniel Humm, of New York’s storied Eleven Madison Park, claims that one of his most memorable food experiences occurred at the Ferme Auberge Le Castelas, in Sivergues France. The restaurant is on a goat farm, and “the food is delicious, simply prepared, with dishes like roasted vegetables and local ham, roasted pork and potatoes, beautiful cheeses made on the property, and plenty of wine. Everything is served communally and the tables are all made of large rocks.” Plan a full day for the trip, as Humm claims the views and surrounding countryside are almost as stunning as the food.
3. Asador Etxebarri, Spain
London based chef Ashely Palmer-Watts recommends the tasting menu at Asador Etxebarri. He says, “Chef Victor Arguinzoniz cooked a brilliant tasting menu, simple dishes sometimes only showcasing a single ingredient. His cooking technique is amazing, preserving ancient cooking techniques using carefully selected firewood.” As the head chef at Dinner by Heston Bluementhal, we bet Palmer-Watts knows what he’s talking about!
4. Mugaritz, Spain
Alex Atala, head chef at Sao Paulo’s D.O.M. recommends Mugaritiz restaurant in Spain. Atala claims, “the simplicity and elegance with which Andoni interprets ingredients fascinates me. I take inspiration from this and use it in my work with the unusual Amazonian ingredients of my own culture.”
5. Nihonryori RyuGin, Tokyo, Japan
Take a cue from Ashely Palmer-Watt’s recommended chef Victor Arguinzoniz of Asador Etxebarri, and visit Nihonryori RyuGin in Tokyo, Japan. He loves “the discipline, extremely high quality of product, and incredible technique the chef uses.”
6. Akelarre, San Sebastián, Spain
Juan Mari Azrak, of the eponymous Spanish restaurant Azrak, recommends Akelarre restaurant, in San Sebastián, Spain. While we’re sure that everything on the menu is fabulous, Azrak is particularly partial to the eatery’s Anana salt roasted squid, which he describes as “pure iodine, aroma, multi-sensoriality, and integrity.”
7. Restaurant Boccon di Vin, Montalcino, Italy
The Ledbury’s Brett Graham has a special place in his heart for Restaurant Boccon di Vin, a family owned eatery in Montalcino, Italy. In his own words, “the views are amazing of course, but the onion soup was superb, made by the father of the owner to the same recipe everyday.”
8. Kitch, Kyoto, Japan
Grant Achatz, of Chicago’s beloved Alinea, recommends Kitch restaurant, in Kyoto, Japan. We suggest that you book your plane tickets now, as Achatz suggests that “the blend of service, technique, ambiance and food makes it like no other place in the world and makes it worth a trip to Japan.”
9. Le Namaste, Verbier, Switzerland
We’re of the strong opinion that there’s nothing as romantic as fondue, especially when eaten in the Swiss Alps. Chef Luke Dale Roberts, of the South African restaurant The Test Kitchen, adores Le Namaste’s version of the cheesy perfection. He claims that it’s the perfect place to relax after skiing, stating that the “combination of healthy exhaustion, the smell of melting cheese and the cozy atmosphere is unique.”
10. Noma, Copenhagen, Denmark
Last but not least, Quintonil’s Jorge Vallego recommends Noma, a Danish restaurant where he used to work. According to Vallego, “since [he] also had the opportunity to be part of this restaurant for a small period as a cook, [he] experienced the entire philosophy and must say that the food is absolutely delicious, which at the end is what matters.”