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This year, the ‘Ekselence 30 Best Latvian Restaurants’ list will be put together for the third time in a row, and for the first time the restaurants will be judged by a 100% international jury comprising Michelin-level head chefs from the Baltics, Scandinavia and the rest of Europe. The jury will be evaluating the restaurants until the end of the year, and the ‘2015 Ekselence 30 Best Latvian Restaurants’ list will be announced early in 2016.

‘I am really happy that, thanks to our primary sponsor, Ekselence, and our other sponsors, Live Riga, airBaltic and Aldaris, we have been able to find out the best restaurants in Latvia for the third time in a row, and to invite Michelin-level chefs from various countries to Latvia as part of this project,’ the project manager Normunds Norenbergs told.

‘There is visible progress only when we set challenging objectives for ourselves, when we set high standards. In our opinion, this contest will be advantageous both for Latvia’s restaurants and, most importantly, their guests, as the restaurants will be judged by a team of experienced and award-winning head chefs from neighbouring and far-away countries. This is also an opportunity for Latvia to distinguish itself with the gastronomy it has to offer. We can already be proud of Riga’s being the gastronomic centre of the Baltics, and now this will be an opportunity for us to make a statement and prove ourselves in a broader region,’ the chair of the board of AS Rīgas piena kombināts (Food Union) Normunds Staņevičs added.

‘For several years now, LIVE RĪGA has stressed in its marketing campaigns Riga’s top-quality restaurants and talented head chefs as one of the key reasons to visit the city. Inviting an international jury is a significant step that will attract more attention and confidence on the international scale,’ the chair of the board of the Riga Tourism Development Bureau, Vita Jermoloviča commented.

The best restaurants will be determined in two stages: first, restaurant industry experts, gourmets, journalists and bloggers will vote for the best restaurants; then, taking into account the results obtained, the restaurants will be evaluated by the international jury, which, unlike that of the last year, will only include foreign head chefs. The chefs will arrive in Riga via the flights operated by airBaltic in order to join the evaluation of the restaurants and help put together the ‘2015 ‘Ekselence 30 Best Latvian Restaurants’ list. The foreign head chefs will visit the restaurants individually, and the actual line-up of the jury will be kept secret until the award ceremony, to take place in the ‘Aldara alus darbnīca’ beer museum.

‘We think that a good restaurant cannot be imagined without good beer. In Latvia, the tradition of drinking beer outside your home is in its very beginning, so we hope that more and more of Latvia’s best restaurants offer this wonderful beverage to their guests and use it in their recipes, thus further promoting our beer and food culture,’ the Aldaris member of the board Laura Krastiņa said.

The purpose of the list of best restaurants is to attract the society’s attention towards Latvia’s restaurant culture, showcase the quality of the restaurants and boost the number of their visitors.

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