World’s best chefs: My favorite food experience was …

CNN  — 

Shopping local markets, the perfume of durian, Andean mountain cooking, oyster omelets with Sriracha sauce and warm milk straight from the cow – these are some of the world’s best chefs’ favorite food experiences.

On the eve of the 2016 World’s Best Restaurant awards, we asked chefs from the world’s current top 100 eateries to nominate an all-time favorite culinary experience that they’d recommend to traveling foodies.

We heard from almost 100 chefs, and here’s what they proposed, in their words.

(Some replies edited for length and clarity, title number refers to current ranking on 2015 World’s Best Restaurants list.)

1. Joan Roca, El Celler de Can Roca (Girona, Spain)

Joan Roca, center, stands with his brothers Jordi and Josep.

Breakfast at Krabi market in Thailand.

It opens very early in the morning and closes at lunchtime, so it’s best to reach the place at 7 a.m., a magic hour, with the remaining freshness of the night, the still atmosphere, and the rising sun that starts waking up your senses. Exuberant local products, the smell of the fruits, the durian perfume, fantasy textures.

For a cook, 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. Full spoons of pleasure.

2. Massimo Bottura, Osteria Francescana (Modena, Italy)

2. Massimo Bottura, Osteria Francescana (Modena, Italy)

Whenever I travel, the first place I want to see is the local market. This gives me a sense of how people relate to food and how important it is to them.

I love shopping in the covered Albineli Market in the center of Modena. It is a gathering place, bustling with great energy and even better products. There are many stalls, from dairy products with the best Italian cheeses to Manzini, gastronomy with condiments, anchovies and spices, as well as fresh fruit, vegetables, meat, fish and cold cuts.

I encourage all our guests to stop by the turn of the century market just to soak up the busy atmosphere and see Italians doing what they do best – shop for their kitchens!

3. Rene Redzepi, Noma (Copenhagen, Denmark)

3. Rene Redzepi, Noma (Copenhagen, Denmark)

The greatest market I’ve ever been to is the Mercado de Abastos in Oaxaca, Mexico. There’s a mind-blowing diversity of ingredients available. You can spend hours trying to wrap your head around it. There’s hundreds of food stalls serving seasonal drinks, tacos, and the crunchiest chicharrones (fried pork rind).

4. Virgilio Martinez Veliz, Central (Lima, Peru)

4. Virgilio Martinez Veliz, Central (Lima, Peru)

There is nothing like being up in the Andean mountains of Janac Chuquibamba in Lamay near Cusco, having freshly harvested native potatoes that are cooked under the ground with hot stones, and surrounding aromatics like muna (medicinal plant) and huacatay (black mint-like herb).

It’s an amazing experience to see the native Andean communities doing this type of cooking. Ask a local hotel chef in Cusco to recommend the best place to go and take a taxi to Lamay or ask a tour guide to take you.

5. Daniel Humm, Eleven Madison Park (New York)

5. Daniel Humm, Eleven Madison Park (New York)

There is this goat farm and restaurant in Provence called Ferme Auberge Le Castelas at Le Castelas, Sivergues, France, that is the most amazing place to visit. (84400 Sivergues; +33 4 90 74 30 81)

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. While you dine the goats from the farm roam the grounds following the food. The property provides you with stunning views overlooking the valley. It’s a remarkable spot and one of the most memorable dining experiences I’ve ever had.

6. Andoni Luis Aduriz, Mugaritz (Renteria, Spain)

6. Andoni Luis Aduriz, Mugartiz (Spain)

Gastronomic experiences are not bound to eating in fine dining restaurants. There are even times where they are not even related to eating or cooking. Just simply being close to iconic produce is enough to give me goose bumps.

A cold morning before dawn in the damp surroundings of Tsukiji market in Tokyo is one of my dearest memories. The nonexistent fish smell I had expected to find at the market and the collection of fish that resembled pricey rocks displayed like jewelery shocked me to the bone. I could only find comfort after eating a steaming bowl of ramen in one of the nearby shops.

Another experience I remember fondly is cooking mandioca flour at Belen de Para in Brazil. I didn’t do it at a restaurant, but at a family’s house surrounded by their warmth and teachings.

7. Ashley Palmer-Watts, Dinner by Heston Blumenthal (London)

7. Ashley Palmer-Watts, Dinner by Heston Blumenthal (London)

One of my favorite experiences would have to be at Asador Etxebarri in Spain. The drive to this area alone is twice spectacular with an amazing outlook.

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. The grilled red prawn was perfectly cooked over embers and a desert of reduced milk ice cream made by reducing the milk slowly in the oven, then transferring it to the grill, where he cooked it in a pile of small embers.

The great thing is that you can easily go for lunch from most of Europe as it is located just 45 minutes by car from Bilbao.

8. Yoshihiro Narisawa, Narisawa (Tokyo)

8. Yoshihiro Narisawa, Narisawa (Tokyo)

My favorite place is Okinawa, the far southern islands of Japan. My eternal interest is to create a cuisine that enables diners to live longer and more healthily. Japan has the longest life expectancy in the world and the Okinawans the longest life expectancy in Japan.

Known for stunning beaches and coral reefs, the sub-tropical climate and rich history of Okinawa has created a unique culinary tradition

There are many great restaurants that serve traditional Okinawan food, but try Cafe Garamanjyaku. You will be amazed by the flavor of the vegetables, herbs and pulses, probably like nothing you have ever experienced before – a meal that makes you feel you are being detoxicated while you’re eating; a meal that makes you feel healthy.

9. Alex Atala, D.O.M. (Sao Paulo, Brazil)

9. Alex Atala, D.O.M. (Sao Paulo, Brazil)

Definitely one of my favorite food experiences is Mugaritz. I’m a huge fan and friend of chef Andoni Aduriz. 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.

10. Gaggan Anand, Gaggan (Bangkok, Thailand)

10. Gaggan Anand, Gaggan (Bangkok, Thailand)

The street food on Kolkata in the Vardhan market area – the chats, kulfi, deep fried pakoras with chutney, milk shakes, sherbets, and puchkas – all this standing in the hustle and bustle of the busy streets and people pushing you. Into that madness I like to dive, into this magic moment, and I have flashbacks of memories of what I ate and grew up with during the years I lived there. I literally crave it every time I am back in my homeland.

11. Mauro Colagreco, Mirazur (Menton, France)

11. Mauro Colagreco, Mirazur (Menton, France)

During my honeymoon in Trancoso, in the state of Bahia in Brazil, I was walking on beautiful Coqueiros beach when I saw two guys bringing a bag from the sea.

I asked them what was inside and they showed me live rock lobster that they had just catch in the coral. I asked them where I could eat that and they indicated to me a very simple restaurant with very good produce called Barraca do Jonas, just in front of the beach. I ate there every day until I left Trancoso.

12. Alain Passard, L’Arpege (Paris)

12. Alain Passard, L'Arpege (Paris)

A food experience that is worth going back to each year would be lunch at the Chinese restaurant in the garden of the Summer Palace in Beijing, China, at the Aman, as it takes you back in time. The imperial food is delicate and surprising.

13. Victor Arguinzoniz, Asador Etxebarri (Bizkaia, Spain)

13. Victor Arguinzoniz, Asador Etxebarri

My most memorable food experience was dining at Nihonryori RyuGin in Tokyo on a trip to Japan. I loved the discipline, extremely high quality of product, and incredible technique the chef uses.

14. Gaston Acurio and Diego Munoz, Astrid y Gaston (Lima, Peru)

Gaston Acurio: A few hours eating in Lima, the city of cebiches. We hit the streets at noon to visit the ceviche vendors. One of them, Bam Bam, does black clam ceviche, conches negras ceviche.

After, we walk to Picanteria nearby, to experience northern Peru style ceviche. Around 12:30 p.m. we go to Chez Wong to enjoy pret-a-porter ceviche by Javier Wong. At 1:30 p.m. we go for a very cheap but good ceviche at Ronald, a family neighbourhood-style cebicheria. At 2:30 p.m. we finish in our La Mar Cebicheria, where you can have sea urchins, raw crayfish, and pejerrey ceviches with Peruvian cocktails.

Diego Munoz: I have a few favorite food experiences. First, I will travel to eat whatever my mom cooks since we live far apart.

Secondly, I would love to be able to eat again at El Bulli, Dos Palillos, Noma and Mugaritz. I also love to discover more huariques (small hidden restaurants) in Peru and around the world. All of them have something in common that make them special at any level, and that is that their cooks have decided to make the best food that they can.”

15. Heinz Reitbauer, Steirereck (Vienna, Austria)

15. Heinz Reitbauer, Steirereck (Vienna, Austria)

Something I look forward to every year is the Bio-Jungpflanzen Markt ran by the Noah’s Ark seed savers association in Schiltern, Lower Austria.

Hobby gardeners and small organic farmers from all over the country descend upon this small village with their rare plants, seeds and delicious homemade products, creating a real festival atmosphere. It is always a joy and an inspiration to walk the stalls and see, taste, and be inspired by the passion and creativity on display.

16. Enrico Olivera, Pujol (Mexico City)

16. Enrico Olivera, Pujol (Mexico City)

My favorite food experience is the Sunday market at Tlacolula, in Oaxaca. The quality and diversity of the ingredients, the smells, colors and people are almost too beautiful to be true. Walking through the butcher shops where you can buy some tasajo (thinly sliced beef) and cook it over some charcoal gives it a ceremonial charm.

17. Juan Mari Arzak, Arzak (Guipuzcoa, Spain)

17. Juan Mari Arzak, Arzak (Guipuzcoa, Spain)

I love the Anana salt roasted squid at Pedro Subijana’s restaurant Akelarre. The squid are served raw on a base of the salt and fresh seasonal tomato at the table, where they are covered by oven-heated salt. That way they are cooked perfectly, right in front of the diner. The flavor and texture are marvelous. It reminds me of the bottom of the sea. It’s pure iodine, aroma, multi-sensoriality, and integrity.

It is an experience that you can only have in a place that stands out for its magic, bio-sensoriality, and dependence on the light and the sea. Pedro Subijana is one of the best chefs in the world and his restaurant is without doubt a unique spot overlooking the sea.

18. Eric Ripert, Le Bernardin (New York)

18. Eric Ripert, Le Bernardin (New York)

Every spring, I try and visit the market in the old town in Nice. I love the smells, the colors and the taste of the produce – it is just so fresh and gorgeous and I really try to make an excuse to visit every year!

19. Eneko Atxa, Azurmendi (Bizkaia, Spain)

19. Eneko Atxa, Azurmendi (Bizkaia, Spain)

I was really impressed when I discovered the street food culture of Thailand, especially in Bangkok, but also on Phuket and north of the island where my restaurant Aziamendi is.

There, people eat everyday on the streets – at food stalls by the side of the road and simple family-owned restaurants. It is a different way to enjoy food, its smells, its flavors and textures. It makes me happy to see that there are societies where daily life revolves around food and people enjoy meals together each day, sitting outside around the same table with strangers.

20. Brett Graham, The Ledbury (London)

20. Brett Graham, The Ledbury (London)

A special place for me was on holidays with my wife and we visited this great little place called Restaurant Boccon di Vin, which is in Montalcino in Tuscany. The views are amazing of course, but the onion soup was superb, made by the father of the owner to the same recipe everyday.

22. David Thompson, Nahm (Bangkok)

22. David Thompson, Nahm (Bangkok)

One of my favorite street food restaurants does one of the best renditions of an oyster omelet I have ever had.

A crisp and rich base of eggs topped with an unctuous sauce of oysters and spring onions. Sprinkle it with some white pepper and splash over the Sriracha chilli sauce and you’ll understand why the place has been going for 40 years. They sell other dishes but I have never been able to forgo this pearl.

The name of this shop house is Nai Mong Hoi Nang Tort (539 Thanon Phlapplaachai, off Charoen Krung Road) but locals know it as “the oyster omelet house.” For nonlocals, look for the two mirrors on the wall and the dark smoky pan sticking out onto the street.

23. Vladimir Mukhin, White Rabbit (Moscow, Russia)

23. Vladimir Mukhin, White Rabbit

Food, seasonal products, new combinations of flavors – every day they give me the most thrilling experiences of my life, the most recent trying bread with birch lub.

Lub is a soft piece of wood between the bark and trunk. In Russia, since ancient times, birch and pine lub have been added to bread when wheat flour was expensive. It was exciting to restore the recipe. And it turned out that it is really a gastronomic product with an amazing aroma and unusual fine bitterness that comes after the crisp sweetness, and is immediately replaced by the light tenderness of a crumb.

24. Paul Pairet, Ultraviolet by Paul Pairet (Shanghai, China)

24. Paul Pairet, Ultraviolet by Paul Pairet

For me, there is no such a thing as one favorite food experience. There are moments, sublime encounters of the third type, conjunction of circumstances that build strong memories and cannot be duplicated.

The veal cutlet of my mother; the surprising Turkish burger and orange juice from over-touristy Taksim Square, Istanbul; the essential perfection of naked food wrapped with smoke from Bilbao at Etxebarri; the unbelievable chefs’ communion of Alain Ducasse’s 25 years at the Louis XV.

Humble, surprising, eccentric, choking, down to earth and moon-like moments. Yes, they are map-able, on the planet and in your head.

25. Magnus Nilsson, Faviken (Jarpen, Sweden)

25. Magnus Nilsson, Faviken (Jarpen, Sweden)

I think it is always worth traveling to eat food prepared by people who are passionate about what they do, regardless of where they do it and what it is that they produce. There are so many great food experiences out there, I would never single one out.

26. Grant Achatz, Alinea (Chicago)

26. Grant Achatz, Alinea (Chicago)

Dining in Kyoto at Kitch. 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.

27. Enrico Crippa, Piazza Duomo (Alba, Italy)

27. Enrico Crippa, Piazza Duomo

Everyday I take a sort of trip to my biodynamic garden, located on the way to Barolo village, not far from the restaurant.

All the produce I see there has been chosen by me and I decide when to pick something to give my diners the best taste possible. I love the vegetables and I love to share this passion with my diners through my cuisine. That is what makes my garden very special!

28. Luke Dale Roberts, The Test Kitchen (Cape Town, South Africa)

28. Luke Dale Roberts, The Test Kitchen

Being half Swiss, as a child I traveled most years to Switzerland with my family. You cannot beat a really good fondue in an alpine restaurant after a hard day’s skiing. The last fondue I had was at Le Namaste in Verbier whilst I was visiting my pop-up Pot Luck Club. That combination of healthy exhaustion, the smell of melting cheese and the cozy atmosphere is unique.

29. Seiji Yamamoto, Nihonryori RyuGin (Tokyo, Japan)

29. Seiji Yamamoto, Nihonryori RyuGin

The blow fish called “fugu” in Japanese – only the chefs who have a specific license are allowed to prepare this luxurious fish. For me, there is only one restaurant in all of Japan that serves the best fugu.

It’s Maru Yasu (7-6 Koushien Ichibancho Nishinomiya City, Hyogo, Japan). It might be a little bit far from Tokyo, but it’s definitely worth the visit.

30. Joachim Wissler, Restaurant Vendome (Cologne, Germany)

Especially when I travel, I always get inspired by the culture, by the people, and by the local food. I am convinced that my curiosity to always try to discover something new plays an extraordinary role in my work.

As a result, my dishes deal with different aspects of the produce or the philosophy, represented at the center of each plate. This center also can be a culinary throwback to memories from my childhood, like a Sunday meatloaf or the smell of little mushrooms on the lawn at springtime.

31. Bjorn Frantzen, Restaurant Frantzen (Stockholm, Sweden)

31. Björn Frantzén, Restaurant Frantzén (Stockholm, Sweden)

Every year I travel to the west coast of Sweden to Smogen. They have the best langoustines. You cook them with dill and beer, and it’s probably the best meal you will ever enjoy. Served best with a cold beer.

32. Ben Shewry, Attica (Melbourne, Australia)

32. Ben Shewry, Attica

For me, it’s a road trip from San Diego to Santa Cruz on the West Coast of the United States, stopping at the many taquerias that are a great feature of the Californian food scene. The generosity and humility of these taco stands, small restaurants and food trucks is a poignant reminder that sometimes the most delicious food can cost as little as $1.

33. Sven Elverfeld, Aqua (Wolfsburg, Germany)

33. Sven Elverfeld, Aqua

I worked in the small fishing village Agios Nikolaos on the island of Crete in Greece in the early ’90s and spent one of the best times of my life there so far.

When you take the track from this village to Lassithi Pleateau you find different small taverns, which are unknown to tourists. Eating the supposedly simple Cretan salad with tomatoes, feta cheese, cucumber, green bell pepper, onions, a great olive oil, red wine vinegar, wild mountain oregano, sea salt and the typical dry bread Dakos, will always remain in my memory.

Simplicity can be awesome if you have the perfect products.

34. Massimiliano Alajmo, Le Calandre (Padua, Italy)

I have two favorite food experiences. The first is lunch in Faith Willinger’s kitchen in Florence because she serves some of the most authentic Italian food made with the most high-quality and hard-to-come-by ingredients. The second is eating the spaghetti con le patelle, a coastal mollusk, served at Il San Pietro di Positano.

35. Jorge Vallejo, Quintonil (Mexico City)

35. Jorge Vallejo, Quintonil

My best dining experience was in a small restaurant in the city of Copenhagen called Noma. Since I also had the opportunity to be part of this restaurant for a small period as a cook, I experienced the entire philosophy and must say that the food is absolutely delicious, which at the end is what matters.

37. Mikel Alonso, Biko (Mexico City)

37. Mikel Alonso, Biko

In Oaxaca, Mexico, during the first rains of the year different varieties of insects are collected: chapulines, chinicules, hormigas. One of the delicacies there that most astonished me is called Chicatana’s Mole, made with giant winged flying ants. This exotic and delectable dish is served at the Restaurant Pitiona. You must try it with rib eye and hand-made tortillas, along with a good mezcal from the region.

38. Richard Ekkebus, Amber (Hong Kong)

38. Richard Ekkebus, Amber (Hong Kong)

Hong Kong has no doubt one of the most amazing dining scenes in the world, where every food culture is represented at its very best.

One of my all-time favorite experiences is eating at our favorite Cantonese restaurant, The Chairman. The steamed flowery crab with aged Shao Xing wine and chicken oil, and their braised spareribs with preserved plums and black vinegar are amazing. The restaurant is special because it does not do the traditional and predictable menus you see in most restaurants. It takes pride in bringing old family recipe recipes to life and in the ingredients used.

39. Mikel Ponce, Quique Dacosta (Alicante, Spain)

39. Mikel Ponce, Quique Dacosta

The best experiences I ever have lived have been in Spain – in Sevilla, small and homely but very good bars like Casablanca; pintxo bars in San Sebastian; and one very special market, Mercado Central in Valencia, a beautiful and interesting place to visit because of the products and especially the people.

If we talk about gastronomic experiences at restaurants, my favorites are El Celler de Can Roca and Mugaritz. They are representatives of the avant garde cuisine of the Spanish movement. I’m convinced that if you want to live a wonderful experience, you can live it in these places.

40. Chef Thomas Keller, Per Se (New York)

There’s so much I enjoy about visiting Australia, starting with the wonderfully generous people. But the food is a huge draw. I’m enthralled by Neil Perry’s cooking and the warmth of his personality. And I love Australian wines. If I had to single out just one food experience down under, it would be the date tart at Rockpool, with its sublime texture and alluring color palate. It’s the best tart I’ve eaten in my life.

41. Helena Rizzo, Mani (Sao Paulo, Brazil)

My favorite food experience was witnessing a small industry in Kyoto, Japan, where they make yuba (soy milk) in a wooden pool. Wonderful!

42. Rodolfo Guzman, Borago (Santiago, Chile)

42. Rodolfo Guzman, Boragó

El Rancho de la Senora Maria is a very humble place to eat and very cheap. You will find the Mapuche chickens running all over the place and the best empanadas and short ribs cooked on the earth oven.

The place is about 35 minutes from Santiago and has no address. From Santiago go to Kilometer 41, General San Martin Highway, in the direction of Los Andes on the way to the border with Argentina and you will see a big sign.

(Tie) 42. Albert Adria, Tickets (Barcelona, Spain)

42. Albert Adria, Tickets

Restaurant Umi (Sanminami Building, 1st Floor, Minami-Aoyama, Minato-ku; 03 3401 3368) in Tokyo. It’s special because of the perfection. The perfection starts by knowing that it doesn’t exist, but this restaurant gets very close. The chef is a true character and his knowledge of what he does is almost offensive.

Another experience very important to me is the fact that I live right next to la Boqueria market (Las Ramblas, Barcelona) which allows me to keep track of the new features and changes at the market.”

44. Mitsuharu Tsumura, Maido (Lima, Peru)

44. Mitsuharu Tsumura, Maido

My favorite food experience was in Arequipa, a beautiful city south of Lima in Peru, where talking about food is something very serious.

We had an amazing experience having typical preparations from the ladies who cook in picanteras, where you can try the traditional cuisine from Arequipa. Every preparation is full of taste and top quality products, such as river prawns, pork trotters, cuy (guinea pig meat) and rocoto relleno (stuffed peppers). Mind-blowing.

45. Christian F. Puglisi, Relae (Copenhagen, Denmark)

45. Christian f. Puglisi, Relae

On my first pizza research trip to Campania, Italy, I drove my way down to Paestum, south of Napoli, to Tenuta Vannulo. They make the most incredible organic buffalo mozzarella you can imagine.

As you drive up to the farm, you are surrounded by fields speckled with buffaloes chilling in the ponds. I could hear their mooing and booing in the background, as I tasted the freshest and tastiest cheese of my life. That’s when I truly understood what mozzarella was about.

46. Andre Chiang, Restaurant Andre (Singapore)

Andre Chiang, left.

I was born in Taiwan and grew up in France, until six years ago when I decided to settle down in Singapore and start my own restaurant.

Taiwan, this beautiful island, holds my happiest childhood memory. I was fascinated by the native nine tribes spread out all over Taiwan. Some still today live in the mountains and farm, fish and hunt. The tribes not only have their own language but also distinct cuisine.

I was lucky to travel to the deep mountain to visit the tribe in Hualian, north of Taiwan, to discover traditional native tribe cuisine, which is nearly extinct in this modern day. We foraged for wild ferns, wild succulents, most of them without names, and had them with game and wild boar, cured and cooked on the hot slate, and homemade rice wine. Ever since, I return to Taiwan once a year to discover the authentic Taiwanese tribal flavors, and most importantly, rediscover my roots.

47. Alain Ducasse, Alain Ducasse au Plaza Athenee (Paris)

I love visiting markets to feed my curiosity and my passion for produce, to meet local people, and eat delicious simple food. I have visited many of them around the world gaining inspiration, from Tunisia to Tokyo to San Sebastian.

A favorite of mine is the Cour Saleya market in Nice, where the popular street food socca – a thin crepe made of chickpea flour, water and olive oil – is made and eaten warm on the spot.

48. Andreas Caminada, Schloss Schauenstein (Furstenau, Switzerland)

48. Andreas Caminada, Schloss Schauenstein

One of my most favorite dishes reminds me of my childhood. When I was young we used to eat maluns (slow-fried, scrambled potatoes) on special occasions, which is traditionally served with apple puree and a piece of Alps cheese. It is this cheese, made of milk provided by cows fed on altitudes as high as 1,800 meters, which triggers the taste of pure and untouched nature.

My favorite place from which I get this cheese for my restaurant is Stizun Da Latg Andeer (Veia Granda 7440, Andeer, Switzerland).

49. Dan Barber, Blue Hill at Stone Barns (New York)

49. Dan Barber, Blue Hill at Stone Barns

At Aponiente, where chef Angel Leon hangs a picture of himself near the kitchen, his hulking frame emerging from the body of a squid, merman-like.

He’s not lording over the fish, like so many photos adorning the walls of fish restaurants; he’s emerging from its core, at one with the squid. It’s humble in the same way Angel’s cuisine is infused with humility. The picture tells you he’s going to speak for the fish. Which he does.

Angel breaks rules, not with wild juxtapositions or chemical manipulations, but by looking to the sea to define his cuisine. A single clam is poached so lightly in its own juices that it appears to be raw. Tomaso, a fish that’s usually ground up into meal, is salted and thinly sliced, acquiring a delicate, custard-like consistency.

50. Thomas Keller, French Laundry (Yountville, California)

50. Thomas Keller, French Laundry

Whenever I’m in London attending the World’s 50 Best Restaurants awards, it’s become a ritual to have a late dinner with my colleagues at St. John restaurant.

Chef Fergus Henderson’s generous spirit is always present and the food is so good; he refines simplicity to the highest level. Last year we broke tradition and dined at Bentley’s Oyster Bar and Grill where chef Richard Corrigan has exemplified what a true oyster bar should be. The freshness of the local catch and texture of the batter for the fish and chips cannot be beat; they are some of the best I have ever tasted. Along with the chips with tartar sauce, we ordered local oysters, mushy peas and toasted with a bottle of Sancerre.

51. Rasmus Kofoed, Geranium (Copenhagen, Denmark)

51. Rasmus Kofoed, Geranium

My favorite food experience in the world is a trip to San Sebastian in northern Spain. If you love food, here are all your heart’s desires, from extreme creativity at Mugaritz, amazing flavors at the rural restaurant Asador Etxebarri, to late-night dining at the busy pinxtos-bars of the old town.

Have a walk through town, which is beautifully placed around a lagoon, up to the old fortress where you can take in the breathtaking views. If you get hungry on your way, you can either snack on wild sea fennel growing on the old city wall or stop by the very simple, but excellent seafood restaurant at the harbor and order grilled octopus with lemon and parsley.

52. Tim Raue, Tim Raue (Berlin, Germany)

52. Tim Raue , Tim Raue

Since my cooking style is mostly Chinese, I travel to Hong Kong several times per year, to be in touch with Asian flavors and tastes. Every time, I go first to Tim Ho Wan (Shop 8, 2-20 Kwong Wa Street, Mong Kok, Kowloon), an outstanding dim sum restaurant, which allows me to immerse in the textures and tastes of Cantonese food. Afterward, I go to the dry market to buy ingredients that I would never get in Germany.

53. Gert De Mangeleer, Hertog Jan (Bruges, Belgium)

53. Gert De Mangeleer, Hertog Jan

During a research trip to Japan, I was overwhelmed by the sushi culture, the technique and the way how top level restaurants serve it at the counter. The search for freshness, the quality of the products and the respect for them is the same way I work myself.

The Japanese food culture inspires me to bring peace and even more simplicity to my own way of cooking. But the place where I enjoy this culture most is Zuma in London. I visit Zuma at least five times per year.

54. Peter Goossens, Hof Van Cleve (Kruishoutem, Belgium)