Ηis voice shaking, Massimo Bottura, chef at Italy’s Osteria Francescana, last year’s number two, whose dishes include “oops i dropped the lemon tart” – a smashed pastry – and “an eel swimming up the River Po”, spoke to the 800 guests at the World’s 50 Best Restaurants Awards on Monday night. “In the end,” he said, “it’s all about hard work.

Osteria Francescana is the first Italian restaurant (based in Modena) to hold the position in the 14-year history of the contentious awards. – and Bottura underlined the point by brandishing an Italian flag as he accepted his award.

At the press conference after the awards, 53-year-old Bottura admitted, “my heart is exploding.” Fifteen years ago, he nearly gave up the restaurant, only to be persuaded to carry on by his wife Lara. Then a Michelin inspector came by chance, stranded by a road accident. They won their first Michelin star and never looked back.

It’s been so hard, our job is all about hard work,” Bottura said during his acceptance speech. “The most important ingredient for the future is culture.

And do note this: The other four in the top five in today’s announcement are El Celler de Can Roca, Girona, Spain; 11 Madison Park, New York City; Central, Lima, Peru; Noma, Copenhagen, Denmark.