It’s a bold statement from one of the world’s most notable chefs: Service is more important than the food, says Heston Blumenthal. The food coming out of the kitchen can be impeccable, he explains, but one inappropriate comment or misstep from the front of the house can ruin irreparably a diner’s Michelin-starred experience said Blumenthal.
About a week before the The World’s 50 Best Restaurant Awards are to be announced in London, past recipients including chefs Blumenthal, Alain Roux, Ruth Rogers and Angela Hartnett shared their thoughts on what makes a restaurant world-class.
For guests of Blumenthal’s restaurant The Fat Duck, which is currently ranked No. 5 on the list, service begins from the time guests get a confirmation of their reservation. Recently, the British chef added another layer to guests’ dining experience by creating a virtual “candy shop”. Prospective diners are sent an evite to take a virtual tour of a fantastical sweet shop that features elements of their upcoming meal — a strategy meant to foster childlike excitement about an event that’s normally two months away.
Restaurant critic and UK chair of the awards Richard Vines also pointed out that to be deemed one of the best restaurants in the world, an eatery must be more than the sum of its food. “A restaurant can have great food but that’s not enough. It’s got to have great service and really draw you into the experience,” he said.