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BCWP Talks 2021

19 May 2021


Leading international chefs, including former winners and finalists of the Basque Culinary World Prize (BCWP), will come together in an exciting virtual event to discuss the future of gastronomy and how the prize has aided in their efforts to use gastronomy as a tool for social change. Journalists are invited to join this online event organized by the BWCP on Wednesday May 26th at 14:00hrs (BST) / 15:00hrs (CEST).  

The chefs and other leading figures from the gastronomic world will discuss:

●      The future of gastronomy in a post-COVID world

●      How gastronomy can be used as an instrument for social change

●      How the prize has impacted their work, five years after the prize was founded


On Wednesday, May 26, leading chefs will come together with the Basque Culinary World Prize to give examples of how to influence changing consumption patterns, models of collective catering, social innovation, social cohesion, cultural diversity, and culinary creativity.

The virtual event will bring together gastronomic experts such as:

●      Josh Niland (Australia): The chef of Saint Peter Restaurant; he advocates the #nowaste philosophy and is member of the 50 Next list.

●      Mauro Colagreco (Argentina/Italy): Three Michelin star Italian-Argentine chef, member of the BCWP prize, and first place winner of the World’s 50 Best Restaurants in 2019 for his French restaurant Mirazur

●      Leonor Espinosa (Colombia): 2017 Basque Culinary World Prize winner and founder of FUNLEO foundation, whose Colombian (Leo Cocina y Cava) restaurant was ranked among the World’s 50 Best Restaurants in 2020

●      Matt Jozwiak (USA): A chef that launched Rethink Food, an organisation that collects excess food from restaurants, grocery stores and corporate kitchens to make nutritious meals for those facing food poverty

●      Juan Llorca (Spain): Spanish chef, YouTuber, and founder of “Por una Escuela bien Nutrida”, which seeks to spark a conversation about school meals

●      Karin Abensur (Peru): Founder of Karin Ecofish, a social enterprise that trains female fishermen and promotes sustainable fishing

●      Dieuveil Malonga (Democratic Republic of Congo): Former Top Chef contestant and founder of Chefs in Africa

●      Nicole Pisani (Malta/United Kingdom): Campaigner and co-founder of Chefs in Schools, which seeks to ensure that all children have access to nutritious meals


After shining a light on the role that gastronomy can play in helping to combat the devastating effects of the Coronavirus pandemic last year, in 2021 the Basque Culinary World Prize continues to bet on the transformative power of gastronomy by sharing inspiring stories of chefs who are spearheading social change from the kitchen.

Gastronomy is a transformative force even in the most challenging contexts. For this reason, the Basque Culinary World Prize seeks to celebrate the way that chefs are using gastronomy as a tool to promote advances in areas ranging from social innovation to food education.

This pioneering award - created in 2016 by the Basque Government and the Basque Culinary Center - honours chefs who are utilising their knowledge, talent, creativity and strength to create positive change.

To promote the nomination process for this year’s prize, the Basque Culinary World Prize has organised an exciting virtual event to share inspiring stories from chefs making a difference in communities around the world.

The objective of the Basque Culinary World Prize, to recognize chefs who transform society through gastronomy, is now more relevant than ever. Most of the chefs participating in the event have had some relationship with the award (jury/winners/finalists) or have been selected for the first 50 Next list, the list of young people who represent the future of gastronomy created by The World's 50 Best Restaurants, and will offer their vision of how gastronomy can generate a positive impact on society.

Date:   Wednesday 26th May 2021

Time:  14:00hrs - 16:30hrs (UK)/15:00hrs - 17:30hrs (Spain). Zoom details available on request 

Schedule: Chefs will discuss their views on the future of gastronomy at the times detailed below

Nominations for the 2021 Basque Culinary World Prize are open until Monday 31 May.




15:00: Introductory Remarks by Joxe Mari Aizega, Director of Basque Culinary Center and Ms. Arantxa Tapia, Basque Government Minister of Economic Development, Sustainability and Environment.


15:15: Josh Niland (St Peter – 50 Next)

How can culinary creativity contribute to the sustainable cause with new paradigms?

Nilan is an example of how the “no waste” discourse simply doesn’t go far enough once we understand how stimulating it can be to approach ingredients as a whole and take advantage of all their parts creatively, as he has been demonstrating for some time with the world of fish, within which he has generated extraordinary specialist knowledge, opening up unexpected doors in connection with the needs of today’s consumers.


15:35: Mauro Colagreco: (MIRAZUR - Member of the International Council of the Basque Culinary Center and member of the Basque Culinary World Prize jury) How can culinary creativity contribute to the sustainable cause through new paradigms? Can a restaurant really have a concrete impact on society?

Italian-Argentine chef Mauro Colagreco’s French restaurant Mirazur was elected the best restaurant in the world by the World's 50 Best Restaurants in 2019. A long-time champion of sustainable cooking, Mauro will discuss the role that chefs can play in creating positive change. He will also discuss how the gastronomy sector can rebound from coronavirus, and why he believes that restaurants should prioritise making an impact in the community during the recovery efforts.


15:55: Leonor Espinosa: (FUNLEO - Winner, 2017 Basque Culinary World Prize) What is social innovation and how can chefs create positive change?

Leonor Espinosa will share how, in countries like Colombia, gastronomy can reach places that governments cannot, and can serve to stimulate processes that contribute to the economic development of small communities, including those served by her foundation Funleo.

Recognized for promoting the value of Colombian biodiversity, at her restaurant Leo (Bogota) she showcases little-known ingredients while championing local communities and gastronomic traditions. Through the Funleo foundation founded by Leonora and her daughter, Espinosa has worked to revive the ancestral knowledge of Colombian communities. She supports rural development based on food sovereignty, and promotes routes to market for small producers as well as spaces for education, nutrition, enterprise and tourism. With the support of the BCWP, in 2018 she inaugurated the Zotea Culinary Center in Chocó (Pacific coast), made up of a restaurant, a greenhouse, and a production center that will contribute to the creation of value chains for local communities.


16:15: Juan Llorca: (POR UNA ESCUELA BIEN NUTRIDA - 2020 Basque Culinary World Prize Special Mention) How do we speak to new audiences about healthy eating?

Juan Llorca has been using social media to highlight the importance of children’s nutrition for a number of years. He works to provide concrete tools aimed both at children and parents that encourage debate and debunk common myths about food. Juan shifted his focus from haute cuisine to an unusual challenge for a chef: transforming the school canteen. Juan has managed to transform schools into a place where students enjoy and form connections to healthy food as well as study. His initiative “Por una Escuela bien Nutrida” has started a conversation about the food offered in Spanish schools, where one third of the students receive their main meal of the day. With the closure of schools during the pandemic, Juan provided food content such as healthy and easy recipe ideas via YouTube to help parents provide their kids with easy, nutritious meals throughout the pandemic.


16:35: Karin Abensur: (KARIN ECOFISH) How do we increase the number of women in gastronomy?

Karin Abensur is the founder of Karin EcoFish, which promotes responsible and sustainable fishing. Her business provides training programs for women to use innovative cutting techniques in order to transform fish that have a lower market price into marketable products, such as sushi, fish nuggets, or grill-friendly cuts for family gatherings. At a time when women in Peru are 10% more likely to be unemployed due to the Coronavirus pandemic, Karin’s training programmes have empowered women in a traditionally male-dominated industry, providing them with financial independence during uncertain times.


16:55: Dieuveil Malonga: (CHEFS IN AFRICA - 2016 Basque Culinary World Prize finalist and 50 Nexter) The future of “New African Cuisine”.

Born in the war-torn DRC, before moving to Germany as a teenager, speaker BCWP finalist 2018 Dieuveil Malonga has yielded the benefits of experience in Michelin-starred restaurants, such as Schote, Life, and Aqua, and participation in ‘Top Chef: France’, to showcase and support African gastronomic talent. Malonga’s ‘Chefs in Africa’ platform, which was founded in 2016, provides an invaluable base for young chefs and apprentices – particularly from minority backgrounds – and helps direct them to companies, academies, hotels and restaurants that are recruiting or looking to invest in starter projects. For Malonga, the ‘Chefs in Africa’ project is a vehicle that is tearing down the barriers that African chefs currently face – such as lack of training, employment and discrimination. More than 4,000 chefs from African countries or in the diaspora have joined the network since its inception, and institutions such as the World Tourism Organisation and UNESCO are supporters of its work.

17:15: Nicole Pisani: (CHEFS IN SCHOOLS - 2020 Basque Culinary World Prize Special Mention) Why should professional cooks work in schools? Do chefs have a responsibility to educate the next generation about food?

Collective catering has never been viewed as glamorous. Yet it plays a vital role in constructing food-conscious societies. Therefore, chefs can play a pivotal role in ensuring that the next generation is knowledgeable about food and how to maintain a healthy diet. Nicole's work exemplifies the great contribution that kitchen professionals can make when they work in schools to improve children's diets and the way they relate to food.

Born in Malta, Nicole was head chef at NOPI restaurant in London before shifting her focus towards school meals and co-founding her charity “Chefs in Schools”. Until the pandemic hit, she had focused on changing the perception of school meals through “intervention” programmes in canteens and education programmes supported by cooks across the country. However, the pandemic caused her to focus her efforts on using the resources she had to ensure children could still access and enjoy nutritious food. Chefs in Schools works hand-in-hand with surplus-food charities and initiatives including Olio, The Felix Project, and Magic Breakfast as part of a huge network of organisations tackling food waste across London.


17:35 Matt Jozwiak: (RETHINK FOOD - 50 Next) How can we involve the next generation in utilising gastronomy as a force for positive change?

In 2016, Matt decided to leave his post at celebrated New York restaurant Eleven Madison Park to focus his attention and skills on feeding people in need. In partnership with his old boss Daniel Humm, Matt launched Rethink Food, an organisation that collects excess food from restaurants, grocery stores and corporate kitchens and repurposes it to make nutritious meals for those facing food poverty. During the pandemic his charity has provided hundreds of thousands of meals to those in need, and they are currently putting together a workable franchise model that can connect local restaurants with their neighbourhoods in order to help the 42 million Americans facing food insecurity each year.


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