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09 December 2021
Tabakalera's Prism in Donostia-San Sebastián will host the Basque Culinary World Prize 2021 ceremony for Xanty Elías who, through gastronomy, is educating the next generation on healthy eating.
The Basque Culinary World Prize is a unique and global award given by the Basque Government, within the framework of the comprehensive Euskadi-Basque Country strategy, and by the Basque Culinary Center, a world leading academic institution in gastronomy. It is an award for chefs improving society through gastronomy in areas ranging from innovation to education, health, research, sustainability, social entrepreneurship and economic development.
In the presence of government officials and prominent personalities from the Basque food sector, the Basque Government's Minister for Economic Development and Infrastructures, Arantxa Tapia, gave the award to Xanty Elías.
Started in 2018, his “Los Niños se Comen El Futuro” initiative collaborates with companies and institutions throughout Andalusia to provide healthy eating in Spanish primary schools. Via a multi-disciplinary curriculum called “Uniting Gastronomic Culture”, his programme promotes nutrition and sensible dietary choices by teaching students how food culture intersects with traditional subjects such as history, geography, and mathematics. The innovative programme, which has already received national and international awards, empowers the next generation to become sensible consumers, bettering their future and improving the outlook for society.
Under the motto, “There is nothing healthier than educating”, Xanty’s programme has been active in over 80 schools in Andalusia and Madrid with the participation of close to 10,500 primary school pupils – a figure that will double starting in January 2022.
In addition, as the chairman of the Prenauta Foundation, he is committed to tourism, innovation and entrepreneurship in the restaurant sector. He is particularly dedicated to promoting food education among school-aged children, convinced of the power that this has to offer better health conditions, sensible consumption and the culture around cuisine.
The 100,000 euros awarded through the Basque Culinary World Prize will be used to expand the “Los Niños se Comen El Futuro” venture globally, help to promote this subject in schools, and to create new content.
In the words of the winner, Xanty Elías:
"Being the first chef with an award-winning Spanish project is truly a dream come true, giving us visibility and reinforcing our goal. And that goal is what we’re going to invest the prize in, to increase the number of children educated in supportive and sensible gastronomy. We couldn’t be happier. We hope society can understand that gastronomy is born in each one of us from a young age, generating a multiplying value in society”.
Xanty Elías has been chosen the winner by a jury comprising of some of the world's most influential chefs and experts. Chaired by chef Joan Roca (El Celler de Can Roca), it also included other renowned chefs and gastronomic experts such as Elena Arzak (Arzak Restaurant), Gastón Acurio (Acurio Restaurantes), Dan Barber (Blue Hill), Massimo Bottura (Osteria Francescana), Manu Buffara (Manu), Dominique Crenn (Atelier Crenn), Trine Hahnemann (Hahnemanns Køkken), Yoshihiro Narisawa (Narisawa) and Enrique Olvera (Pujol).
A Transforming Initiative
The Basque Culinary World Prize was launched in 2016 as a testimony to the way gastronomy could be an engine for positive change by highlighting the work of entrepreneurial, creative, tenacious and innovative men and women who, above all, committed to improving society through gastronomy.
Since then, the award has received over 900 candidacies from 42 countries, with close to 600 nominee chefs. In order to be considered for the prize, the chefs first had to be nominated by another professional currently working in the world of gastronomy.
Like in previous editions, in 2021, for three months, gastronomic professionals and institutions nominated chefs from around the world whose work showcased that gastronomy can be a transformative force for positive change.
On 15 July, the Basque Culinary World Prize announced Xanty Elías as the winner of the Basque Culinary World Prize 2021. It also revealed two special mentions, reaffirming its commitment to highlighting current global challenges and identifying profiles of entrepreneurial chefs with a passion for excellence, as well as innovative, creative, and tenacious chefs, who are committed to their community.
For that reason, in addition to Xanty Elías, the jury recognised the work of two additional chefs. A special mention was given to Kia Damon (USA), for combating discrimination in gastronomy though diversifying and including underrepresented groups, and to Ana Estrela (BRAZIL/ITALY) for generating common spaces where people from different cultures can come together through food
In each edition of the prize, through the winner and special mentions, the BCWP takes the opportunity to send a message for the international community to examine the different areas in which a chef can add value to their community. In this edition, they have done it by highlighting food education, in addition to areas of social integration linked to immigration and the diversification of talent.