"We must draw a line under this and make sure we clear a path for the next generation. I for one can't wait until we achieve equality and the debate moves on."
Other significant prizes included the Lifetime Achievement Award, which went to Peruvian chef Gastón Acurio of Astrid y Gastón. France's Cédric Grolet won Best Pastry Chef and Spain's Azurmendi took a prize for sustainability.
According to organizers, the results were compiled from an "independent" voting panel of 1,000 judges that were subject to adjudication.
The prize ceremony began with tributes to culinary legends who have passed in the preceding year. Among them Gualtiero Marchesi, the first Italian chef ever to receive three Michelin stars, and French "pope of gastronomes" Paul Bocuse.
Anthony Bourdain, the CNN presenter, writer and chef who often railed against the kind of fine dining establishments celebrated by the awards, was also remembered.
"His honesty, his determination and his stubborn truth telling changed our industry for the better," said William Drew, group editor of the World's 50 Best Restaurants.