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The organisers of Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants announce that Saga Prefecture in Japan will host the next edition of the annual event program and awards ceremony, which will take place on 24th March, 2020. The region’s most respected chefs and influential restaurateurs, together with leading industry figures and international media, will gather in the city of Takeo for the announcement of the Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants 2020 list, sponsored by S.Pellegrino & Acqua Panna, as well as a series of special awards.

The awards ceremony and a comprehensive event program will showcase Saga Prefecture’s rich culinary culture, exceptional craftsmanship and local agriculture. Located on Japan’s Kyushu island, the area’s proximity to neighbouring Asian countries have made it a key trading destination and a hub for cultural exchanges for centuries. Continuing this tradition, Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants will welcome celebrated chefs and gastronomic talents from around the continent to experience Japanese culture, explore culinary trends, discover native ingredients and foster a spirit of open communication.

The move to Japan marks a contrast to the bright lights of Macao, Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants’ home for the past two years. Both destinations provide memorable examples of the continent’s gastronomy, but offer different approaches to restaurants and cuisine. Saga’s access to fine seafood, artisanal preparation techniques and a bucolic landscape ripe with produce make it the perfect foil to showcase two sides of Asia’s wide-ranging food scene.

Steeped in tradition and nature, this area of Japan is home to rich culinary heritage and agricultural provenance.

William Drew, Director of Content for Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants, says: “We are thrilled that Saga Prefecture will host the 2020 edition of Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants, sponsored by S.Pellegrino & Acqua Panna. Steeped in tradition and nature, this area of Japan is home to rich culinary heritage and agricultural provenance. Attendees at this year’s awards ceremony will have an opportunity to visit idyllic rural destinations and experience a taste of Japan in its most authentic form.”

The 2019 list of Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants spanned 12 countries and featured 10 new restaurants, including a first-time entry from Malaysia. At the awards ceremony, Odette in Singapore took top honours, ousting four-time winner Gaggan from the No.1 spot and becoming the first Singapore restaurant to claim the coveted title of The Best Restaurant in Asia, sponsored by S. Pellegrino & Acqua Panna.

Building on the success of previous years, the 2020 program will include a new edition of #50BestTalks, as well as a series of immersive food and culture expeditions. Scheduled for Monday, 23rd March 2020, the one-day #50BestTalks forum will bring together Asia’s most influential chefs and culinary leaders to exchange topical ideas and discuss emerging food trends in the region. The thought-leadership event will be followed by the series of curated expeditions, which will allow visiting chefs, media and food lovers to experience first-hand some of the region’s famed food production, its tradition of artisanal crafts, Saga’s breathtaking landscape and, of course, authentic Japanese culinary culture. Full details of the proposed program will be finalised in the weeks ahead.

Yoshinori Yamaguchi, Governor of Saga Prefecture, says: "It is our greatest pleasure to have the opportunity to introduce attendees at Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants 2020 to Saga’s splendid nature. Guests will also be able to try our famous nori (dried seaweed), our beef that is in the top class in Japan, our local sake that was crowned “Champion Sake”, and our beautiful ceramic ware. These wares have over a 400-year history and are handmade to this day in unique and creative forms.”

“The revolutionary and inventive chefs from across Asia will deepen their relationship with Saga’s food producers, who will come in contact with one another’s work and way of thinking. We look forward to the creation of new dishes and reaching an even higher stage of cooperation, which will come about thanks to this interaction.”

The eighth edition of Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants will also honour individual award winners, including Asia’s Best Female Chef and Asia’s Best Pastry Chef, sponsored by Valrhona, as well as the recipients of the American Express Icon Award, Miele One To Watch Award and the peer-voted Chefs’ Choice Award, sponsored by Estrella Damm.  

The list is created from the votes of the Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants Academy, an influential group of over 300 leaders in the restaurant industry across Asia, each selected for their expert opinion of Asia’s restaurant scene. The panel in each region is made up of food writers and critics, chefs, restaurateurs and highly regarded ‘gastronomes’, with a 50/50 gender balance in the Academy. Members list their choices in order of preference, based on their best restaurant experiences of the previous 18 months. There is no pre-determined check-list of criteria, but there are strict voting rules.

For the 2020 edition, Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants is again working with professional services consultancy Deloitte as its official independent adjudication partner. The adjudication by Deloitte ensures that the integrity and authenticity of the voting process and the resulting list of Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants are protected.

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