Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants to switch from on-site gathering to online awards ceremony

The organiser of Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants and Saga Prefecture have together taken the reluctant decision to cancel this year’s on-site event programme in Japan. After consultation with The Governor of Saga Prefecture, 50 Best feels it has no alternative but to reformat the awards ceremony and related events on this occasion.

picture from Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants Facebook

This decision has been taken in light of the ongoing spread of the coronavirus (Covid-19), which has led to severely restricted travel policies across large parts of Asia, and in response to the Japanese government’s advice to limit large-scale events.

The programme of events was scheduled to be hosted in the Saga Prefecture of Japan, in the southern island of Kyushu, from March 22nd-24th, and included #50BestTalks, as well as a series of gastronomic gatherings in the region, culminating in the annual awards evening. Instead, a live ‘virtual’ awards ceremony will be held on March 24th, full details of which will be communicated shortly.

50 Best and Saga Prefecture are no longer confident that they can hold a successful event gathering guests coming from across Asia and the world where guidelines restrict travel in the region. The health and safety of all those due to attend also remains of the utmost importance.

Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants 2019 Event

Charles Reed, CEO of William Reed, the company behind 50 Best, says: “This is an extremely difficult decision for us, as we very much wanted to support the restaurant industry across Asia, which has suffered from the side-effects of the coronavirus situation in recent weeks. However, it has become clear in the last day or two that, despite our best endeavours, it would not be responsible to stage our events as planned. However, we remain committed to announcing the new list of Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants on March 24th. We will continue working to support and promote great restaurants and great chefs in Asia, as we have done since the launch of Asia’s 50 Best in 2013.

“We are also extremely grateful to our host destination partners in Saga for their efforts in preparing to welcome the gastronomic community to their unique and beautiful region. We aim to facilitate further opportunities for chefs, partners and media to experience the wonderful food, culture and landscape of Saga in the future.”

Regional distribution of award-winning restaurants, listed systematically by TastyTrip

Yoshinori Yamaguchi, Governor of Saga Prefecture, says: “We have been in close communication with the team at 50 Best and have come to this reluctant decision together in order to safeguard all parties concerned. Given the current situation, and the fact that no one can be sure of how things will develop with regard to the spread of the virus, the decision to cancel the events in Saga became unavoidable. We very much hope to host guests for Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants in Saga at the next opportunity.”

The 50 Best team is in the process of planning a premium-level streamed awards ceremony, which all interested parties – chefs and restaurateurs, media, partners and other food-lovers – will be able to experience simultaneously online. Full details will be communicated soon. Special awards will continue to be announced in the weeks between now and the official unveiling of the annual ranking.

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