About the Academy

The Academy is the mechanism used to create the Middle East & North Africa’s 50 Best Restaurants list. None of the employees of any of the sponsors associated with the awards, including the main sponsor, votes or has any influence over the results.

The Academy is comprised of 250 members, each selected for their expert opinion of the Middle East and North Africa restaurant scenes. To create the Academy, and provide a fair representation of the continent, we divide the area into six separate voting regions.

Each region is headed up by a chairperson, called the Academy Chair, appointed for their knowledge of and network within their part of the restaurant world. The Chairs each select a voting panel, ensuring a balanced selection of chefs, restaurateurs, food/restaurant journalists and well-travelled gourmets.

Learn more about the how the voting works

The Academy Chairs

  • Aljohara Almogbel

    Aljohara Almogbel is a practising lawyer but is equally a dedicated food enthusiast and avid traveller. She held the role of regional editor for Destination Riyadh for a number of years, and currently documents her family’s culinary adventures on Two Boots and a Farwa, a blog she runs with her sister, Sara. Aljohara and Sara also co-host a weekly podcast called The Story Behind, which showcases leading restaurateurs in the region.

  • Claudia de Brito
  • Leen Al Zaben
  • Mohamed El Baroudi
  • Roy Yerushalmi
  • Sherif Tamim