Tuesday, May 1, 2012

The Continuing Rise of Alex Atala

Alex Atala
Three years ago, when the prestigious World's Best 50 Restaurants awards were announced in London, Chef Alex Atala's flagship São Paulo restaurant, D.O.M., was honored as the twentieth-best restaurant in the world. Two years ago, Sr. Atala's restaurant had climbed to 17th position, and in 2011, his rise in the ranks of the world's best restaurateurs continued as he moved into 7th place.

In the 2012 edition of the award, announced just this past weekend, D.O.M. was crowned the fourth-best restaurant in the world. For the third year running, Copenhagen's Noma restaurant was named the best in the world, and the second and third place restaurants were both Spanish - El Celler de Can Roca, located in Girona, and Mugaritz, located in San Sebastián.

D.O.M.'s ranking just behind this prestigious trio puts Chef Atala firmly in the top rank of the world's contemporary gastronomy scene. D.O.M. is now ranked higher than any restaurant in the USA, France, Italy or England. The top American restaurant, Per Se in New York is in sixth position, and the best restaurant in France, L'Atelier Saint-Germain de Joel Robuchon in Paris is ranked no higher than 12th.

There are three other Latin American restaurants listed in the top 50 - Astrid y Gaston of Lima, Peru in 35th place, and Mexico City's Pujol (36th) and Biko (38th).

Alex Atala's rapid climb has put São Paulo's star high in the gastronomic heavens, and this award being treated in Brazilian media, deservedly, as not only a personal honor for the chef, but a recognition that contemporary gastronomy is Brazil is as exciting as anyplace in the world. Brazilian chefs everywhere are celebrating D.O.M.'s new ranking and hope that next year Atala will continue his winning ways.

Flavors of Brazil joins a happy, enthusiastic and patriotic crowd of Brazilian gastronomes in saying, "Parabéns, Chef Atala!"