Finalists of the Basque Culinary World Prize announced

The Staff Canteen

The Top 20 finalists of the Basque Culinary World Prize, an award for chefs around the world whose projects have improved society through gastronomy, were announced today.

The winner, who will be chosen by a jury of the world’s most respected chefs and experts in different aspects of food culture, will be announced on 11 July of this year.

Prize committee

Elena Arzak, chair of the prize committee, said: “It has been exciting to see that there are chefs who are using the essence of our profession to promote change or be part valuable projects that contribute to society in so many different ways.  That’s something we couldn’t have even imagined a few years ago. I’m so proud of my peers.”

The Top 20 Finalists are:

  • Alberto Crisci, UK
  • Alicia Gironella, Mexico
  • Angel León, Spain
  • Ann Cooper, USA
  • Carlos Zamora, Spain
  • Daniel Boulud, France/USA
  • David Hertz, Brazil
  • Gabriel Garza, Mexico
  • Jessamyn Rodriguez, Canada/USA
  • José Andrés, Spain
  • Joshna Maharaj, India/Canada
  • Kamilla Seidler, Denmark, and Michelangelo Cestari, Venezuela
  • Leonor Espinosa, Colombia
  • Manoela (Manu) Buffara, Brazil
  • Margot Janse, Holland/South Africa
  • Maria Fernanda Di Giacobbe, Venezuela
  • Massimiliano Alajmo, Italy
  • Nani Moré, Spain
  • Rodolfo Guzman, Chile
  • Teresa Corçao, Brazil

The 20 finalists were chosen by a Prize Committee chaired by celebrated Basque chef Elena Arzak and included an international group of academics with expertise in various aspects of food culture and gastronomy.

Entries came from over 30 countries worldwide, and a total of 110 chefs were nominated. Chefs had to be nominated by another professional currently working in the world of gastronomy - for instance, another chef, food writer or food supplier, or an institution.   

Joxe Mari Aizega, Head of the Basque Culinary Centre, said: “We are thrilled by the diversity and caliber of our Top 20 finalists, who show the powerful, positive change chefs can make when they take on the responsibility of a public voice. Their stories will surely serve as an inspiration to their colleagues all over the world, which is the ultimate mission of the prize. It will be a difficult but exciting challenge for the Jury to choose one winner this summer.”

>>> Read: Elena Arzak on the Basque Culinary World Prize

The overall winner will be chosen from the top twenty by a Prize Jury when they meet to make their final deliberations at the annual meeting of the International Committee of the Basque Culinary Centre on 11 July this year. The Prize Jury will include the chefs on the International Council of the Basque Culinary Center including Joan Roca (Spain): Gastón Acurio (Peru), Ferran Adrià (Spain), Alex Atala (Brazil), Dan Barber (US), Heston Blumenthal (UK), Massimo Bottura (Italy), Michel Bras (France), Dominique Crenn (France), Yukio Hattori (Japan), Enrique Olvera (Mexico), Yoshihiro Narisawa (Japan) and René Redzepi (Denmark)

To judge the prize, the Council will be joined by leading experts in related disciplines, including US food scientist and writer Harold McGee; Massimo Montanari, a professor of Medieval History at Bologna University and one of the leading world experts in Food Studies; renowned novelist Laura Esquivel; and Hilal Elver, Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food for the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).

The winner will receive €100,000 to devote to an institution or project of their choice that demonstrates the wider role of gastronomy in society.

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The Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 26th May 2016

Finalists of the Basque Culinary World Prize announced