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Nominations Open for the 5th Edition of the Basque Culinary World Prize, celebrating chefs who ‘transform society through gastronomy’

20 February 2020

Nominations open today for the Basque Culinary World Prize, an annual award for a trailblazing chef creating an impact “beyond the kitchen” in areas such as technology, innovation, education, environment, health, food production or social and economic development.

This unique and pioneer global award supported by some of the best chefs all over the world was created by Basque Culinary Center and the Basque Government. Now in its fifth year, 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, selects the winner together with academics and international experts.  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 they will devote to an initiative of their choice that expresses the transformative power of gastronomy.

Nominations Open:

Gastronomic professionals and institutions have until May 4th – less than 90 days– to nominate chefs that demonstrate how gastronomy can become an engine of change. Nominations must be made through the Basque Culinary World Prize website:

The Basque Culinary World Prize appeals to the collective knowledge of the gastronomic community to discover culinary professionals throughout the world who are transforming society. The award is open to anyone with a professional background in cooking– regardless of their culinary culture, nationality, fame or notoriety.

Nomination Process

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.

The Basque Culinary World Prize winner will be selected from the ten finalists by the Prize Jury at the tenth annual meeting of the Basque Culinary Center International Council. Two-Michelin star chef and Prize Jury member, Yoshihiro Narisawa, will host this year’s winner announcement in Tokyo, Japan in September. This year’s jury will be chaired by Joan Roca and will include celebrated chefs such as Andoni Luis Aduriz (Basque Country), Eneko Atxa (Basque Country), Massimo Bottura (Italy), Manu Buffara (Brazil), Dominique Crenn (USA), Trine Hahnemann (Denmark), Yoshihiro Narisawa (Japan), and Enrique Olvera (Mexico).

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 the most respected award among chefs, who, currently, take on gastronomy in a very different way. We now understand the great responsibility of our profession and the impact that food has on sustainability, from an environmental, economic and social perspective. In this 5th edition, we invite members of the gastronomic community worldwide to participate in the nominations. This way, this inspiring award will keep on discovering transformative and inspiring stories that may not have the public recognition they deserve, giving them a voice.” 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.

 The history of the prize:

In 2019, American chef Anthony Myint was awarded for using cooking to tackle one of the most pressing challenges in today’s global society: climate change. Based in San Francisco, he leads initiatives such as Zero Foodprint which draw attention to the environmental impact of restaurants and provide tools for chefs to reduce or eliminate their business’ carbon footprint, regardless of location. Through the Perennial Farming Initiative, Myint has joined forces with the State of California to support sustainable agricultural practices.

In Myint’s own words, “I’m immensely honored to have won the Basque Culinary World Prize because I believe food and agriculture offer our best hope against climate change.  A revolution is built one individual at a time and we’re trying to start a global movement.”

In previous years the prize has been awarded to Jock Zonfrillo (Australia, 2018) for bringing Australian indigenous cuisine to the mainstream and preserving this culinary heritage through documenting more than 1,200 native ingredients to navigate new ways in which they can be used; Leonor Espinosa (Colombia, 2017) for her Funleo foundation, which established an urban-to-rural food chain to empower Afro-Colombian communities in Colombia; and María Fernanda Di Giacobbe (Venezuela, 2016) whose Cacao de Origen initiative leveraged the cocoa industry to provide education, entrepreneurship, research and development opportunities to financially-vulnerable women in her homeland.

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