Restaurants and bars the world over are still reeling from the wrath of Covid-19, which is exactly what inspired the World’s Best 50 Restaurants to cook up a master plan designed to help venues along the bumpy road to recovery. The UK-based outfit is running what’s set to become the largest online gastronomic auction, with all proceeds going directly to businesses in need.
Kicking off July 3, the Bid for Recovery sale is packed with more than 150 bespoke dining experiences that cater to any food lover’s wildest fantasies. The initiative was spearheaded by William Drew, director of content at 50 Best. With the food world in crisis and the publication forgoing its annual ranking on account of the pandemic, Drew and his team decided to use its networks and resources hospitality industry. Rather than focusing on the restaurants that typically top the 50 Best list, the auction will provide direct and tangible financial relief for hard-hit venues that need it most. The money raised will be distributed to restaurants via a grant system (up to $5,000 per establishment) and various non-profits.
“We knew we needed to support as many restaurants as possible, including those suffering the most, and not those in a relatively privileged and high-profile position that regularly appear on our lists,” Drew told Robb Report.
For the mammoth undertaking, the organization tapped into its global hospitality network, and Drew says the response from the restaurants has been phenomenal. In fact, all of the lots in the auction were donated by the restaurants and chefs featured on the recent 50 Best lists or partner brands.
“They are in the hospitality business and they want to help,” Drew adds. “50 Best can link chefs and restaurateurs up with a global audience of food-lovers and together it means we can provide some positive stories and raise money to aid the recovery of the sector as a whole.”
So, what’s worth raising a paddle for? Well, there’s a dinner for two and day-time hang with Mauro and Julia Colagreco, who together helm the world’s best restaurant, Mirazur in France (pictured above). The lucky winners will get an opportunity to select produce, meet local suppliers and sample dishes at the restaurant’s “creation kitchen” before savoring the Mirazur’s new tasting menu. Or, if you’d prefer to stay Stateside, you can spend the day with Dominique Crenn, who heads up the Michelin 3-star Atelier Crenn. You’ll head to Bleu Belle Farm and partake in fermentation, beekeeping and olive oil production, as well as a wine tasting session and dinner at Crenn’s acclaimed joint.
Other highlights include a three-day Peruvian food safari led by world-renowned husband and wife team Virgilio Martínez and Pía León, as well as a fishing and feasting day with Florilège in Tokyo, Japan. For spirits enthusiasts, there is a range of rare expressions of whiskey, rum and sherry being released for the first time, along with cocktail masterclasses, tastings and more.
As for Drew’s personal pick: “That’s a tough one, but I guess the most exciting are the ones that money would not ever usually be able to buy. For example, you can bid to spend 48 hours with chef Gaggan Anand in Bangkok.” Anand is the chef behind the four-time No.1 restaurant in Asia and guests will get to stay with Anand at his home, eat and drink around the city with him as your guide, then experience a full tasting menu at his revered restaurant.
The auction is part of the broader 50 Best for Recovery program, which launched last month. In addition to an online hub that provides info, advice and inspiration to struggling chefs, restaurateurs, bar owners, 50 Best released a fund-raising cookbook, Home Comforts: Simple Lockdown Recipes from the World’s Best Chefs and Bartenders, which launches July 1. It will be available to download for a minimum $10 donation.
As to whether these fundraisers will help the industry recover, Drew is hopeful. “Restaurants—and the people behind them—are agile, fast-thinking, creative and determined. Those attributes give me confidence, personally, that the sector will bounce back fast, albeit in different shape and form, no doubt. We will continue to support and promote the sector.”
The Bid for Recovery auction will kick off July 3 and conclude July 12. You can peruse the full drool-worthy catalog here. Hope you’re hungry.