Professionals and institutions within the gastronomic sector are invited to nominate chefs who have had a transformative impact in areas ranging from innovation and technology to education and the environment, from health to social and economic development.
The jury will be made up of the most influential chefs in the world together with academics and international experts.
The winner will receive 100,000 euros, which he/she will devote to a project of their choice, which demonstrates the transformative power of gastronomy.
The global prize – now in its fourth year– is awarded by the Basque Government, within the framework of the Euskadi-Basque Country Strategy, and the Basque Culinary Center.
Nominations open today for the Basque Culinary World Prize, an annual award for a trailblazing chef who has made an impact “beyond the kitchen” in areas such as technology, education, environment, health, food production, or in social or economic development.
This unique global award, now in its fourth year, was created by the Basque Government and the Basque Culinary Center. It celebrates the impact gastronomy can have when chefs use their creativity, knowledge, leadership and entrepreneurialism to generate change within society.
An interdisciplinary jury, made up of some of the most influential chefs in the world, together with academics and international experts, select each year’s winner. Every year they choose a chef whose work embodies the ethos of the prize: to transform society through gastronomy. The winner will receive 100,000 euros, which he or she will devote to a project of his choice that expresses the transformative power of gastronomy.
Opening of nominations:
Gastronomic professionals and institutions will be able to nominate chefs that demonstrate how gastronomy can become an engine of change from today until May 15th. Nominations must be made through the website of the Basque Culinary World Prize:
The Basque Culinary World Prize appeals to the collective knowledge of the gastronomic community to discover professionals working throughout the world, who are working in areas such as innovation, technology, education, the environment, health, the food industry, and social and economic development. The award is open to anyone with a professional background in cooking – regardless of their culinary culture or nationality.
Bittor Oroz, the Deputy Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food Policy in the Basque Government, remarked:
“This unique and global award celebrates the scope and potential of gastronomy when chefs around the world make the best use of the knowledge, leadership, entrepreneurial spirit and creativity that sets them apart to generate transformative changes in society”.
“Another aim of this prize, awarded within the framework of the Global Strategy for the Basque Country, is that shared values in Basque society– such as the culture of effort, commitment, self-improvement, dedication to innovation and competition, and equal opportunities for women and men– are associated with the image of the Basque Country and become our calling card at an international level”.
Joxe Mari Aizega, Director of the Basque Culinary Center, stressed the importance of this award:
“The knowledge of cooks can be used to provide solutions to the many problems where food plays a fundamental role. Through their expertise, creativity, commitment to excellence – and often boldness- chefs are showing that it is possible to make a huge difference to realities on the ground. This edition of the Basque Culinary World Prize will continue to prove this”.
At the closing of the nominations period, the candidates will be evaluated and ten finalists will be chosen by a technical committee, made up of leading academic and culinary experts. In 2018 the technical committee was formed by Dr. Iñaki Martínez de Albéniz, professor of Sociology at the University of the Basque Country; Jorge Ruiz Carrascal, professor of the Department of Food Science at the University of Copenhagen; Xavier Medina, social anthropologist and director of the UNESCO Chair on Food, Culture and Development; Pia Sörensen, director of the Science and Cooking program of Harvard University; and Carlos Zamora, chef at the helm of De Luz and seven other restaurants in Spain.
The Basque Culinary World Prize winner will be selected from the ten finalists by the Prize Jury made up of the most influential chefs in the world, together with academics and international experts and announced at an event hosted by chef Dominique Crenn in San Francisco on July 15th 2019. This year’s jury will be chaired by the chef Joan Roca (Spain), and include Gastón Acurio (Peru), Ferran Adrià (Spain), Massimo Bottura (Italy), Michel Bras (France), Yoshihiro Narisawa, (Japan), and Enrique Olvera (Mexico), among others.
The Basque Culinary World Prize has the support of some of the most influential chefs in the world, who highlight the importance of the initiative:
“The Basque Culinary World Prize is an extremely important prize, not only for our sector but for the world, because it provides a well-deserved recognition to the work that chefs are doing connecting their kitchens with other realities, and because it gives voice to people with inspiring and necessary testimonies”. Dominique Crenn, member of the jury of the Basque Culinary World Prize, chef of Atelier Crenn, San Francisco (United States).
“The Basque Culinary World Prize is an innovative initiative, already consolidated in its fourth edition. I think it’s the most important gastronomic prize awarded worldwide, making it a great honor to be the president of this jury”. Joan Roca, president of the jury of the Basque Culinary World Prize and International Council of the Basque Culinary Center, chef of El Celler de Can Roca in Girona, Spain
“I was so extraordinarily proud to have been chosen as the winner of the 2018 Basque Culinary World Prize. To have a jury of peers who I respect so much made this acknowledgment even more meaningful. The world of gastronomy is an enabler for change and the Basque Culinary World Prize is an instrumental part of that wave of change”. Jock Zonfrillo, winner of the Basque Culinary World Prize 2018
The history of the prize:
In 2018 Scottish chef Jock Zonfrillo was awarded The Basque Culinary World Prize for championing the culture of the native peoples of Australia and safeguarding indigenous culinary traditions. Through the Orana Foundation, Jock has brought indigenous cuisine to the mainstream, establishing routes to market for indigenous peoples’ food products and documenting more than 1200 native ingredients to navigate new ways in which they can be used.
The 2018 finalists were: Anthony Myint (USA);Caleb Zigas (USA); Dieuveil Malonga (Congo/Germany); Ebru Baybara Demir (Turkey); Heidi Bjerkan (Norway); Jock Zonfrillo (Australia/Scotland); Karissa Becerra (Peru); Marc Puig-Pey (Spain); Matt Orlando (Denmark, USA); and Virgilio Martínez (Peru).
In 2017, the Basque Culinary World Prize went to Colombian chef Leonor Espinosa. Her FunLeo foundation promotes “Gastronomy for development”. Through her restaurants Leo and Misia in Bogotá, Leonor Espinosa harnesses the ancestral knowledge of the indigenous and Afro-Colombian members of the Colombian population. In addition, she integrates the different actors of the food chain in ways that connect the knowledge and needs of rural areas with the opportunities and demands from the city
In 2016 the Prize was awarded to Venezuelan chef María Fernanda Di Giacobbe. Through her Cacao de Origen initiative, Giacobbe has created a network involving education, entrepreneurship, research and development around cocoa as a source of culture and economic wealth in Venezuela. Giacobbe has brought opportunities to financially vulnerable women, building capacities and empowering them. Now, these women have turned into micro-entrepreneurs in the chocolate industry.